Selecting a Low Voltage Lighting System

by Lee Wyatt
(last updated March 2, 2015)

A low voltage lighting system us a great method that you can use to not only add some accent lighting, but also provide a little bit of added security. While there are all kinds of systems that you could always use, there are a few things that you really need to keep in mind when deciding on what you will be using. Selecting a low voltage lighting system is a bit more involved than simply picking out a few parts. However, by keeping a few simple guidelines in mind you will be able to get a good system that will fulfill your needs.

Keep in mind that when selecting a low voltage lighting system, you will be selecting a system that uses around 12 volts. This means that you will be using a lower powered system than what most homes generally receive. Make sure that you follow all codes when installing your system, and if you are hesitant at all about working with electricity then do not hesitate at all to talk to a professional electrician.

  • What are you lighting? Before you can actually select the system that you will be using, you need to consider what you will be lighting up. This means that you need to think about the general mood that you will be striving for, and where you want to place the lights. Are you looking for security (one type of system) or are you looking for accent lighting (still another type of system) or even one that does both (yet another one).
  • Types of fixtures. Not all fixtures will work effectively with a low voltage lighting system. Make sure that you choose a fixture that can handle not only a low voltage system but also work well with your landscape design. A decent rule of thumb would be to use several fixtures at lower wattage, rather than a single or a couple fixtures, that provide a lot of light.
  • Choose the right transformer. Considering that homes generally receive about 120 volts, you will need to select a transformer that will reduce the volts down to the 12 volts the system will be operating off of. The easiest way to choose the right transformer is to add up the wattages of all the lamps you will be using. The transformer that you will be using will need to match as closely as possible to this number. If you have the total wattage of your lights too high, then you need to either purchase a more powerful transformer, or utilize two different transformers.
  • Reduce voltage drop. Voltage drop is what your system will experience the further you place your fixtures from the transformer. There are ways that you can combat this, band they are actually fairly easy to do this. These methods can include things like using a heavier gauge cable, multiple transformers, shorter cable lengths, and reducing the total number of fixtures on a single line to name only a few.

Author Bio

Lee Wyatt

Contributor of numerous Tips.Net articles, Lee Wyatt is quickly becoming a regular "Jack of all trades." He is currently an independent contractor specializing in writing and editing. Contact him today for all of your writing and editing needs! Click here to contact. ...

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