Installing LED Garden Lights
LED landscape lighting began not so long ago in the wave of low-voltage garden lighting systems that have since become wildly popular with many homeowners. And the reasons are not to hard to identify. Led garden lights are capable of delivering stunning illumination effects, while simultaneously being simple to install, relatively inexpensive to purchase, cost-effective to operate and maintain, and safe for children, animals and plants.
So what’s not to like?
LED garden lights have 3 main advantages over traditional garden lighting, (which typically incorporated the used of halogen spotlights and normal incandescent light bulbs):
(1) The light generated from incandescent bulbs and halogen lights can easily be “too much” for the purposes for which it is intended – the average sized home garden. In other words, the light is just too bright.
(2) Incandescent and halogen bulbs have a much more limited “lighting effects range” than those of low-voltage LED outdoor lights.
(3) Halogen and incandescent bulbs are extremely high temperature outdoor light bulbs (even those of the 12-volt variety) and, as such, are more dangerous. Today’s LED garden lighting, on the other hand, operates on low voltage and are low temperature.
(4) Incandescent and halogen outside light bulbs need to be replaced much more often than LED garden lights (which can last for 10 years or more) and cost much more to operate because they consume more than 10 times the amount of electricity than the bulbs used in LED garden lighting.
Installing LED Garden Lights
Led garden spot lights have been favored by many homeowners for quite some time for 2 main reasons:
(i) LED lighting is highly directional by nature and doesn’t require reflectors to be fitted to the lights in order to focus the beam emanating from the light;
(ii) The light generated by LED spot lights is much safer for plants, animals and people simply because they generate much less heat and consume 1/10 the amount of energy than comparable traditional halogen bulbs.
If you are wondering whether installing LED garden lights is any different than that of installing other forms of low-voltage outdoor lights, the answer is that it is much the same. The one thing you should take it account from the beginning is that plants in a garden grow, which means eventually the lights will find themselves concealed underneath this growth.
The majority of outdoor lighting kits now available for all types of garden lighting use a 12-volt transformer to power the lights. This transformer is situated inside of the house and, depending on the particular transformer that comes with your kit, is capable of accepting a maximum number of watts in loading.
From the transformer, a cable runs into the garden where it is then laid wherever lighting is desired. A three-way connector connects these light fixtures to the main cable. The three-way connector typically has generously long cables, which make it possible to arrange the light fixtures over a wide area and still be able to connect to the main cable.
Should you desire to install another type of lighting on the same cable (such as halogen spot lights), this is possible as long as the transformer’s total wattage load is within the bounds of its maximum load.
Skip the Transformer?
The amount of electricity the bulbs used in LED garden lighting is so small that you can skip the 12-volt transformer (with its accompanying low-voltage cables) altogether. You can simply choose to power them through the use of rechargeable batteries, which are recharged through solar panels. The solar panels themselves can either be permanently installed to the lights or separately connected.
Solar garden lighting has just as many choice options as low-voltage LED garden lighting. There are a few drawbacks to this kind of landscape lighting, though. First, the amount of light solar garden lights are able to generate is totally dependent on the amount of daylight they receive. Also, the light is not nearly as controllable. You can’t simply flick a switch to turn the entire outdoor lighting system on or off.
To rectify this, many of the newer solar LED garden lighting systems use a single solar panel, from which all of the individual outdoor LED lighting fixtures can be connected. Simply situate the main solar panel in a spot that receives plenty of sunlight. Where you place the individual light fixtures no longer depends on the amount of sunlight they receive because of the fixtures are powered by the one main solar panel. This also means that all of the lights can be switched on or off from one central location.
So, possibly the best of both worlds is mixing solar power with low voltage electricity. Not only will this offer you the freedom to situate your LED garden lights precisely where you want them in your garden, but also you won’t have to go through the contortions of wiring up your entire garden!