Choosing Outdoor Lights
Select from line-voltage lights and low-voltage lights.
There is a wide variety of light fixtures to choose from. For starters, choose line-voltage lights (120v) if you want to deter intruders, accent an architectural feature, or illuminate a work area such as an outdoor grill. To light up a walkway or add accent lights to the landscaping, however, low-voltage lights (12v or 24v) are usually a more economical choice and are generally easier to install. There are also lo-vo solar units (no wiring needed) that charge during the day and glow softly all night.
|PRO TIP: Put security lights high on a porch or under the eaves. Lights that can be reached without a ladder can be easily unscrewed.|
In general, don’t install more light than you need to serve the function for a given area. Outdoor lights that are too bright waste energy and will be too glaring for intimate dining or entertaining at night. Your neighbors will also thank you for not spot-lighting their house when they’re trying to relax or sleep.
In addition to overhead lights, side-mounted lights, step-riser lights, in-ground fixtures, post-mounted lights, and stake-mounted lights, there are many switching options. You can control lights with smartphones, standard on–off switches, timers, motion detectors, and photocells that turn lights on when the sun goes down.
Excerpted from Wiring Complete, 3rd Edition (The Taunton Press, 2017) by Michael Litchfield and Michael McAlister