Lighting FAQ

Low voltage lighting; how does it work?

low voltage deck lightinglow voltage deck lightingThe heart of every low-voltage lighting system starts with a voltage transformer. This is a box that plugs into an existing 110 volt wall outlet that reduces the voltage down to around 12 volts. Transformers usually have either a Stainless steel or black plastic housing, with a switch to turn the lights on/off; as well as a timer that can be set to automatically turn the lights on and off once or twice each day. Some transformers are equipped with a photocell that will turn the lights on at dusk and off at dawn. The photocell can work in conjunction with a timer. Transformers are usually mounted next to an existing power outlet on the exterior of the house. Low-voltage cable is then connected to the transformer and then to each light. Some low-voltage lights have connectors that simply push sharp points through the low-voltage cable, so you don't even need to strip the wires. Installing a low-voltage lighting system is a very easy process that does not require any special expertise. There are a few areas in the country that require a licensed electrician for low-voltage work, but most do not.

To see our selection of low-voltage lights click here.

Deckbuilderdeals.com has post lights, step lights, post cap lights, hanging lights, wall sconces and path lights. Our lights are very high quality lights that will last for years and years.


Where do I put lights, and how many lights do I need?

deck lightingThe most popular types of deck lights are recessed step lights, post lights, and post cap lights. We also have some nice path lights, wall sconces and hanging lights. Many people install a combination of light styles. Some decks have a light on every post and every step, while others use lighting more sparsely.

One common configuration is to use a post light or post cap light on all of the corner posts and all of the posts by steps; along with recessed step lights in every other step riser. Path lights and wall sconces in matching finishes can also be added. Low-voltage and LED lights are accent lights not area lights, so you can add many lights to your deck without worrying about making your deck too bright.


How big should my transformer be?

Transformers are rated by output, expressed in watts. You can calculate the size of the transformer that is required by simply adding up the wattage of the light fixtures that you plan to use. Light fixtures should always list the type and size of bulb that is required. Let's say you are looking at the HP570P light fixture. It uses an 11 watt bulb. Multiply the number of fixtures you will use X 11, and that will be your power draw. Just buy a transformer that is rated higher than the total combined wattage of your lights. You may also want to allow for future expansion room by buying a larger transformer than you require right now.

To see our selection of transformers click here.

If you need help calculating your transformer needs, click here or call us at 1-877-898-8368.


What about LED lighting? Should I consider LED instead of low-voltage lighting; and can I mix the two types of lighting?

deck lightingLED lighting is the latest improvement in deck lighting. LED lights use much less energy than low-voltage lights. How much less? Your typical low-voltage light uses 10-20 watts of energy. An LED light that produces light equivalent to a 20 watt low-voltage light would usually only consume 1 watt of energy or less. With such low energy consumption, your next question might be "how bright is the light?" While LED bulbs are smaller, their intensity makes up for their small size, and the light produced is generally equal to that produced by low-voltage lights.

LED bulbs will far outlast regular bulbs, typically lasting 10,000 hours; with some rated up to 100,000 hours! Some lights are now available in both formats: LED and low-voltage. Each type of light requires a different transformer though, so don't mix light types unless you are willing to buy a transformer for each type of light and operate two separate light systems. The drawback of LED lights is still the initial cost, although they are usually cheaper to own over the life of the light due to the significantly reduced operating costs.

 

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