I am up in the air about lighting the outsifde of a new home we
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
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
Low voltage - bulbs expensive - line voltage - cheap bulbs.
What does the group think?????????
Which way should I go?????
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
Just my two cents, I'm sure the good folks here will offer more useful
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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
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.
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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