Outdoor Lighting: 5 Tips For Illuminating Your Landscape
When most people think of electricians they think about outlets and receptacles, wiring and electrical panels, so specifically the interior of their homes. But electrical contractors can be just as helpful when you are planning any outdoor lighting or landscaping renovation.
5 simple tips and tricks to maximize the energy efficiency, safety, & appearance of your outdoor lights
Every time summer comes around, you’re probably considering installing or updating your exterior lighting. It’s not only a great beautification project, but it can also help increase the security of your home. A major study conducted by the University of Chicago’s Urban Labs showed that outdoor lighting can cut crime by 36%. While the study mainly refers to street lighting in New York City, it clearly shows a correlation between crime and situational environment.
- Professional Outdoor Lighting Installation – Light fixtures, especially those with a unique design or custom built, are becoming a popular landscaping feature. Whether they are in the ground, hanging or mounted on the exterior walls of your house, it is important to have them installed by a professional electrician. This will help ensure the feature is water tight, and that the right cords are being used. Many of the exterior lighting systems come with a transformer, which converts the 120 volts current from your home to 12 volts current needed by the landscape lighting. Some types of outdoor lights need to be hardwired though, which is why it is best to have an electrician do all the work.
- Use a Timing Switch – Forgetting to turn off the light when leaving a room is a cardinal sin of conservation. Now imagine having to worry about leaving the lawn lights on by accident during the day! Installing a timer is a great way to avoid careless mistakes. Some timing switches provide great outdoor control, as well as weatherproof features, so you don’t have to worry about rain or snow. They use smart photocell technology, which senses dusk or darkness and automatically turns on or off your lights.
- Add a Dimmer To Your Outdoor Lights – In ancient times, the moon was worshiped for the mysterious way it seemed to grow, then wane until it vanished. Today, that same quality is a burden to the exterior lighting of millions of people worldwide. Installing a dimmer switch allows you to adjust your lights, brighter on nights when the moon is absent, dimmer when the moon is full and you need less light. Most of the outdoor dimmer switches work with both incandescent and LED fixtures, allowing you to customize light output with a touch of a button. Today, you can even find outdoor dimmers that work with Alexa.
- Use LEDs – Not only do LED lights rated by Energy Star use up to 75% less energy than incandescent lights, but they offer a great deal more design and color variations. In addition, they have been known to outlast incandescent lights, working 25% longer. There are many benefits to choosing LED over incandescent, from energy saving and longer life mentioned above to brighter light, durability, instant on capabilities and much more.
- Take Care With Wires – While some exterior lighting options run on batteries, many still need to be plugged in so that they function. But even if you do use the right lights and right wires for outdoor lighting, they can still pose a challenge. Poorly concealed wires can cause tripping accidents, while wires that run too close to water can pose a risk for electrocution.
When in doubt, speak to an electrician. They will be able to talk you through options and plans even before you buy your outdoor lights. You can discuss safety choices and energy efficient options as well.