Outdoor Lighting

I am up in the air about lighting the outsifde of a new home we purchased. Our landscaper things low voltage is the way to go and recommends a company called Cast Lighting. Our electrician tells us to use line voltage fixtures. I know the low voltage systems are easy to install and in general less money. Cast are more high end with fixtures costing in the 150 - 200 range. Also no matter what low voltage system you but the "guts" in side the unit are basically the same and tend to wear out quickly. As I see it here are the pro and cons for each low voltage - cheap install line voltage high install since deeper trenches have to be dug. Low voltage - one bulb burns out and the rest pick up more power and burn out more quickly. Line voltage fixtures a bit more durable. Line voltage - no need for transformers - simple inside switches can be used. Low voltage - bulbs expensive - line voltage - cheap bulbs.
What does the group think????????? Which way should I go?????
Thanks
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I suppose that would depend upon what you are trying to light up. Shrubs, trees, walkway, pond, tennis court, security etc. etc. Halogen, incandescent, high pressure sodium, would all be suitable depending upon it's application. You will have to be more specific as to your lighting needs. Just my two cents, I'm sure the good folks here will offer more useful advice.
Rich ===================================Garage Door Parts, LLC 973-472-4818 http://www.garagedoorsupply.com ===================================

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"Dr. Edmund M. Hayes" wrote:

Overpriced. Quality line voltage units are less than that unless you're looking at the commercial ones.

False. The low voltage units have a light bulb in a socket, the same as the line voltage units. Do not confuse with the (garbage) solar lights.

Low voltage is basically just for lazy DIY installation and is easy to keep moving and changing until you actually get the correct head in the correct locations. Line voltage is for proper permanent installations with proper upfront landscape design. Line voltage also generally allows you brighter units for area floods and spots, not much difference for basic decorative lights though.

Absolutely false. Whether low voltage or line voltage the supply to the lights is constant, 120V for the line or 12V for the low. Bulbs burning out elsewhere on the circuit do not have any effect on the other bulbs because they are all wired in parallel.

Mostly false. Line voltage fixtures are typically all metal construction as are the better low voltage fixtures. The durability for metal fixtures would be the same reguardless of their containing a 120V or 12V bulb. The ultra cheap plastic fixtures are not very durable and are generally only found in low voltage units.

Partially true. Line voltage units do not require additional transformers (past the utility one on the pole) while low voltage units do require a transformer, however this has absolutely nothing to do with switches. You can quite readily put a transformer and low voltage lighting on a "simple inside switch", just as you can put a line voltage unit on a timer or photocell control.

Not really true. Low voltage bulbs are expensive in two packs at a big box store, but not in bulk packs from a distributor. Low voltage bulbs tend to last longer as well. One advantage to line voltage units is the ability to use CF bulbs which will save power over incandescent.

My preference is for line voltage units due to the better spots and floods available. If all you want is decorative path lights then either line or low in a quality all metal unit would do just fine. The important this is to design the lighting plan properly upfront and to not skimp on fixtures and end up with "black holes" in your lighting. The specs for quality fixtures should give lighting coverage information so you can draw up a print of your landscape and plot out the fixture placement.
Pete C.

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Lighting for security or for decoration? Security lights are best if mounted away from the house and shining on it to reduce shadows. These, of course, are best line voltage with timers or motion detectors. For accent lights, I'd go with low voltage.
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If you are in the northeast part of the country I suggest line voltage lighting. The low voltage fixtures and wiring don't hold up well year after year when buried in snow and winter conditions. If you are in California or in the southwest the low voltage will not get too beat up from the weather.
I'm an electrician and I prefer the line voltage. I have been on too many service calls for low voltage lighting. I have found that soldering the wires together is a better way to make splices with low voltage instead of only using the plastic pinch connectors or the underground wire connectors. Voltage drop is also a consideration.
I suggest function before form in terms of lighting design.
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