What is Low Voltage Lighting?
Landscaping your garden or making improvements to an outdoor area of your home are popular pursuits of many homeowners. Landscape lighting is the term generally used to describe all outdoor lighting for the garden space; this term can also cover garden lighting (for plants, trees, shrubs, lawns etc..), pond lighting, water feature lighting etc.. There is also the addition of lighting for the exterior of the house or property, think wall lights etc., this type of lighting can also come under the same contract or brief from a customer.
The voltage for such illumination can change between mains voltage (220V), or low voltage such as 12VDC or 24VDC. It is Kunini’s recommendation to opt for the latter, especially for garden lighting. For pond lighting and water features low voltage lighting is mandatory. However, if its for exterior wall lighting or high level feature lighting 220V lighting can also be considered.
Installing a low voltage system can be a bit more costly as there are more component parts to consider, cabling routes also need to carefully planned so that the system works as planned. The main issue for low voltage lighting is volt-drop, when you get a drop in the voltage the last lights on the line can be dimmed. For main voltage lighting there is the risk of electrocution if the gardener was to chop thru a cable, or a child was to start playing with the fixture. All mains voltage lighting must be RCD protected. Low-voltage systems are more safer, efficient; especially when using LED lamps, and the product range is vast.
What Can Low-Voltage Lighting be Used For
There are many features you can employ that will improve your outdoor space and elevate your garden or yard to something quite spectacular.
The most popular features are rockeries, fountains, ponds, relaxation areas, gazebos, BBQ’s, paths, and sculptures. Every one of these features can be enhanced by clever lighting design that will make them even more spectacular.
What Are the Key Components
There is a plethora of choice when it comes to low-voltage lighting, fixtures and fittings that are different styles, sizes and colours. LED lamps, RGBW lamps (multi coloured), no matter what lighting system you choose there will be some core component parts.
For every low-voltage system there needs transformers to provide the power. Sometimes one major transformer is all that is needed, but it all depends on the design and size of the system.
Basically a transformer will lower the house current down to 12 or 24 volts, either AC or DC, depending in which country you live in it will be slightly different. All transformers are rated according to their maximum wattage output and models can range from 20 watts to 2000 watts.
Most external cable is specifically made for burial under the surface, the low-voltage cable will run from the transformer then connect individually to each low-voltage unit. When designing a low-voltage lighting system it usually best to split the area up into zones then get one transformer to power each zone, this reduces voltage drops and allows for a more manageable system. The type and size (conductor size), of cable used generally depends on the size of the system, the number of lights, the number of zones and the transformer rating..
These low-voltage lights are designed specifically for use on drives, paths and walkways. Generally they are the most attractively designed lights as they are highly visible. If however, you want to illuminate a feature and hide the fitting then these lights housings can be made from dark painted materials.
These types of fixtures are the wizards of lighting, hidden from view they illuminate key features you wish to highlight in a swathe of colour. They include fitting such as spotlights, floodlights, wall-wash units and up-lights.
So all your shrubs, trees, flowers, walls, fences, ponds etc can all be separately illuminated with the light coming from an unknown source.
If you are considering a low-voltage lighting system for your garden then contact Kunini who are the professionals of electrical design and installation and are sure to help you improve your own outdoor space.