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How To Install Low Voltage Outdoor Lighting In No Time

Outdoor lighting gives you the opportunity to totally transform the look of your house after daylight as well as increase its safety. Much more aesthetically pleasing than those harsh and obtrusive floodlights, this guide will show you how to install low voltage outdoor lighting quickly and easily.

low voltage lighting

The Transformer: Step 1

low voltage transformer First, select your transformer. Low voltage lighting is easier and safer to work with than interior lighting because the transformer lowers the standard 120-volt wattage to a harmless 12 volts. Choose a transformer that allows you to connect several cables. Mount it either on a stake or on the outside of your home, making sure that it is no less than one foot above the ground and no more than one foot away from your ground-fault circuit-interrupter outlet. Some contain photocells that require exposure to direct sunlight. Make sure it is turned off while you install it. You may also want to add a waterproof covering to the outlet for additional weather-proofing.

Lighting Ideas: How To Install Low Voltage Lighting Step 2

low voltage light fixtures Next, plan the design of your lighting. Do you want to optimally light landscaping and foliage? Do you just want to light a walkway for safety purposes? Do you have ponds or a pool that could benefit from some nighttime lighting? Create a comprehensive lighting plan that includes all lights for paths and their surrounding greenery, offset lighting for footpaths, tree-mounted spotlights for mimicking moonlight, and/or waterproof fixtures for aquatic purposes that you may need. Look into low voltage outdoor lighting kits for hassle-free pre-selected packages and supplies.

For some ideas on what low voltage outdoor lights to use have a look at our related posts:

Wiring Up Your Low Voltage Outdoor Lighting Parts

The fixtures you buy will have instructions included that will tell you the proper gauge of cable to use. Layout your light fixtures beginning with the farthest away from the transformer and work your way towards it. Once you have placed all your fixtures, leaving about eight to ten inches between each source, and laid out the wiring you can connect the wires to the transformer. Remove about three quarters of an inch of insulation from the cables and insert the exposed wires underneath the terminal screws located at the bottom of your transformer.

Burying The Wires and Connecting To The Light Fixtures

Now you can bury the cables in a shallow trench (it only needs to be about three to six inches deep). Be sure to leave some slack and a small amount of cable sticking up out of the dirt at each juncture so that you can easily link the fixtures. Attach all lights and cables according to manufacturer specifications. Turn on the transformer to ensure everything is in working order. It is best to check the functioning at night to determine if everything is to your liking. Then, push all those visible cable connectors about two inches into the soil.

So there you have it, a basic guide on installing low voltage landscape lighting.

image credits: Landscape Design Advisor,  Tyler


Kitchen Guide: How To Install Under Cabinet Lighting In 6 Simple Steps

How To Install Under Cabinet Lighting

If you wish to add some attractive and subtle supplemental lighting to your kitchen, here is a basic guide for how to install under cabinet lighting yourself in just a few fairly easy steps. It does not take an extensive amount of know-how, but you will need some general knowledge regarding electrical circuitry for the hardwiring process. Fluorescent lighting is most commonly used for under cabinet lighting because they are energy efficient and provide ample light without producing very much heat.

Step 1: Make sure that the appropriate power source is turned off at the circuit breaker and that anyone else in the house knows you are doing electrical work before you begin. Locate the nearest electrical junction box that you can tap into to power your new lighting. Check the amperage of the corresponding circuit breaker to be sure it can handle the addition (the load should never exceed 80 percent of the breaker rating).

Step 2: Before installing the switch, first use your stud finder to choose an area between studs where you can place your switch. Then, measure from your countertop up to the center of any existing outlet or switch above the counter. Align the switch box with your measured mark and trace around it with the pencil. Cut the opening using your drywall saw.

Step 3: Drill a hole into the backing of the cabinetry through which you can feed the wiring. Fish the appropriate electrical cables from the power source to the switch opening you just cut and another through the hole you made in the back of the cabinetry and to the switch opening. Pull the wiring through the switch box, secure them with a wire connector, and secure the box to the wall.

Step 4: Use the cable ripper to clean off the wires and the wire stripper to remove about three quarters of an inch of the insulation from the ends of the wires. If you do not know how to hardwire under cabinet lighting, you may opt to either find an instructional guide or have it installed professionally to avoid any serious damage.

Step 5: Take apart the fluorescent lighting fixtures and attach the back plates to the bottom of the cabinetry with wood screws. Pull the cables through the fixture’s knockout and secure. Again, prep the cables for connection and, if you are not comfortable with your electrical knowledge, consult a guide or an electrician.

Step 6: Once all your fixtures have been installed and properly wired and secured, connect the wiring back to the source junction box using a cable connector. Ground the new cable with the other ground wires. Connect all like-colored wires (white-to-white, black-to-black, etc.) and cap and electrical tape each connection. Replace the junction box’s cover plate and you are ready to turn the power back on and test your new kitchen under cabinet lighting.

image credit: litlnemo

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