For a do-it-yourself home handyperson, installing low voltage exterior lighting is not a complicated process, but there are some very important steps to take. If you aren’t sure about how to complete the wiring and the actual installation, it is always recommended to hire a professional to complete the installation.
Following some simple steps to take before, during and after the installation will give you a guide to work through the project. As with any task around the home, making sure you have the right tools and know just what you want are doing to be two very important factors.
Consider the Layout
There are different types of low voltage exterior lighting including lights designed for flower garden accents, to draw attention to specific features of the landscape, or even to make walking through the area safer with walkway lights.
Before anything take the time to look at the various options for lights and consider all the possible options to create the look you want. While you can change out the fixtures later, it will be more difficult to change the location.
Different lighting options include path lights; typically pole mounted at different heights, cone lights for a softer circle of light, spotlights, floodlights and even pond lights that be installed under the water.
The next step, after determining where the lights will be positioned, is to determine how to run the cable. This is the most complicated aspect of the job as you need to manage the length of the cable and the number of lights.
Too many lights on one cable will result in a voltage drop where lights are dim or flicker, or you may even have too much power to the lights. This will result in poor light performance and the need to continually replace bulbs and even fixtures.
It will also be essential to limit any need to splice cable. As the cable will be buried under the surface, it is essential to either eliminate splicing or to use a waterproof direct burial splice to prevent damage to the cable and corrosion of the wires over time.
To ensure the lights on the run are all receiving the correct voltage, each light should be tested with a voltmeter. In pre-set packages of lighting, this is not a concern unless you are adding to or modifying the lighting in the system.
Finally, be sure to test all the lights before you bury the cable. Consider looking at the layout and design of the low voltage exterior lighting both in the daylight and at night with the system on before taking this final step.