Outdoor Lighting Installation
Outdoor lighting is not only a beautiful addition for your backyard but functional. For enhancing landscaping, you can install lighting that is low voltage to provide illumination. Other benefits of outdoor lighting include safety, and overall ambience. Low voltage kits are sold at many hardware and home improvement stores and come with a built-in transformer that has a timer. This feature allows you to choose when to have the lights turn on and off, adding convenience.
The transformers are able to use a household 120-volt and make it safe to run 12 volts. To install low lighting for your outdoors, a GFCI receptacle will be required on the exterior of your home. If you do not presently have on, an electrician will need to install one. Most importantly, always contact your local gas and electric company before you start to dig to ensure there are no underground cables or pipes.
For installation, choose the type of lights you prefer and keep in mind the areas you want to illuminate. Generally, you will find lights in four or seven watt so if you plan to brighten a large area you may need more lights than expected. Make sure the transformer has adequate wattage where additional lights could be added in the future. Be sure you have a diagram from which to work, which will help you stay on track of where you want the lighting to be installed. In addition, make good notes so you are reminded of problem areas, or specifics as to what you want to be illuminated. For example, you may have numerous types of plants and flowers on the south side of the house but in particular, you want your prized roses to shine.
After you have purchased the correct number of lights, position them to coordinate with your diagram. Typically, lights will come with a stake that can be driven into soft dirt easily. For this reason, the evening before you do the installation, water the ground thoroughly and then the morning of, sprinkle it with water so the ground is soft. Lay the lights down where the will be installed and then starting at the GFCI receptacle, lay out the cable so it runs to where the lights have been laid out. The cable above ground will be buried so no need to worry about anything being unsightly. Make sure you leave enough excessive cable at the transformer for each of the lights, which will allow you to move your lights later on. Each light has two wires with a metal tip. By putting one tab on each side of the cable and snapping it together, the light is installed. When the tip is pierced into the cable, the electrical connection is created. If the light does not come on, make sure these tabs are secured together.
You will then separate the wires at the end of the electrical cable and strip 1½-inch of insulation. The two screws on the transformer will be loosened and the bare wires you just stripped slid under the correct terminal. Once complete, plug in the transformer, and turn it on. Look at each light to ensure it is working. Keep in mind that if the day is bright and sunny, it may be difficult to tell if they are on so you may need to shield the light from the sun or recheck when it starts to get dark. With a small shovel, you need to dig down 5 inches to bury the cable. Once the cable is buried, cover it with dirt and compact it down. Finally, set the timer to come on, go off at the desired time, and enjoy your new lights.