How to Install Outdoor Lighting
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How to Install Outdoor Lighting
Adding or replacing outdoor lighting can improve the aesthetic of your home. Lighting control, such as timers and wireless fobs, can reduce your energy costs and keep the lights off when you aren't around.
Before you start any electrical work, make sure that the power to the fixture is turned off at the circuit breaker box. Then remove the existing light from the wall and disconnect the wires.
Choose the Fixture
Whether you're adding light fixtures for the garden or patio, or replacing wall mounter or bollard exterior lights beside the front door, choose models that complement the color and design of your home. Mixing and matching is OK, but it's important to have one trait in common between the fixtures – such as a glass type or metal finish.
For safety-based lighting, choose fixtures with motion sensors and controls that can be activated with movement or remotely controlled by a switch. Consider options that automatically turn on at dusk and off at dawn.
If the area where you want to add or replace a fixture has no ready electric supply, use electrical metallic tubing (EMT) to run wiring from the garage to the new location. This is an advanced project that's best for those who have experience working with electricity. This will require a bit more time, but the results will be well worth it.
Determine the Power Source
Whether installing a new light or replacing one, start by turning off power to the fixture at the circuit breaker. Use a multimeter or voltage detector tool to ensure that the line is completely dead before beginning any work.
Determine how far away each light is from the transformer and calculate the length of wire run for each. Longer runs will result in dimmer lights as the voltage drops over the cable length. The best way to minimize wire runs is to center the power supply as much as possible (using the layout you drew earlier) and use multiple independent wires to each light if the distance is too far to run a single wire.
If you’re using the existing light circuit, remove the old fixture and replace with the new. Then, connect the new supply wire to the existing wiring by pairing the outer sheath and inner cores – live brown to live, neutral blue to neutral.
Dig the Trench
A shallow trench is the best way to hide landscape lighting wires. Shoring may also be required to prevent anyone from accidentally falling into the trench as it is dug.
Use a shovel or mattock to loosen the soil and dig the trench. If the ground is particularly hard, consider digging with a trenching spade for quicker results.
Before digging, mark the path of the cable with chalk or spray paint and call a utility locator service to ensure there are no buried pipes in your planned path. Always follow local codes for digging.
When you've completed the trench, lay out the cables carefully. Each wire should run from a light fixture to the next and ultimately to the power source. Then cover the wires with the soil you dug up, packing it down firmly. If you're using a low-voltage system, be sure to connect it to the outdoor outlet fitted with a GFCI circuit breaker before covering it.
Install the Lights
Brighten up the landscape around your home with a few simple lighting fixtures. A well-lit exterior will deter trespassers, help guests find their way, and give your house a nighttime look that's both inviting and unique.
Before beginning the project, turn off power at the circuit breaker controlling the outdoor fixture you plan to install or replace. Then use a stud finder to locate wall supports in the area of the home where you're planning to place your new light. With the studs found, use a jigsaw to cut an opening in the wall at the desired location of the work box. Then fit the work box into the hole and cap off all of the exposed electrical wires with connectors or by twisting them together and wrapping them in electrician's tape.
Once the wires are capped off, use a hammer and nails to drive the stake into the ground where each light will be placed. Then smooth the soil back over the cable, keeping it above the grass for each fixture.
Need some help? Let SNAP Electric guide you on this process.
How to Install Outdoor Lighting Adding or replacing outdoor lighting can improve the aesthetic of your home. Lighting control, such as timers and wireless fobs, can reduce your energy costs and keep the lights off when you aren't around. Before you start any electrical work, make sure that the power to the fixture is turned…
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