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How to Install Path Lights + few simple hacks
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Most of the time, path lights are installed with the sole objective of avoiding accidents caused by darkness and serving as protection against thieves. However, with good light management, you will be able to illuminate your exteriors not only to serve as protection elements but also to impact the environment, with a fine decorative effect.
If you are considering installing path lights in your house, hotel, restaurant, etc., you should first follow a series of recommendations. Not only must you have the accessories, but you must also have a basic knowledge of electrical installation. Therefore, we have prepared this guide for you, which you can follow step by step to install your path lights like a professional.
Low-Voltage Path Lights Installation – For Beginners
1. The first step is to extend the cables over the path where you want to place the lights but start with the power source for all the lights, i.e. the GFCI outlet. For that, you will need a cable that reaches it. For security, do not plug any of the lights yet, you can do it later. Decide where you will place the lights and also decide which lights are from the same circuit. It is possible that several transformers are necessary so that different parts of your garden can be covered. You can plan and have these details written down so you know how much cable and lights you may need in advance.
2. Now, with the cables extended, and with the help of a garden shovel or trowel, it is time to make a ditch. If you have grass, try to preserve it while mowing in a straight line. The trench does not need to be very deep, for example, it can be maybe 2-3 inches deep. Here we will hide the cables so that it is more organized and aesthetic and they are not visible. Also, keep in mind where you want to include the post lights considering that between each accessory there must be 10 feet of space for it to work properly.
3. The next step would be to place the accent lights and in-ground well lights which can use the same cable that we will use in the path lights so that in this way, all the lights together can be turned on or off using the same switch. Now it’s time to put the lights on the trenches but be careful not to cut any wires with your garden trowel.
4. To find out the allowed depth of the posts, check your user manual and once they are configured, plug them in and if they turn on, it is time to bury the cables using the cuts previously made.
To make your path lighting much better, there are several features you can use.
- Take advantage of timers: If you want the lights to turn on and off at the same time and automatically, you can use timers. It also allows you to program the operation of your lights even if you are traveling.
- Take advantage of the sensors: For better security, you can install motion sensors on the lights, allowing them to turn on when they detect nearby movement.
- Protection with covers: If the outdoor power outlet is not protected, you can use a cover. In this way, you will avoid damaging the outlet of water or humidity, thus being able to preserve its operation for a longer time.
- Choose the best cables: choosing the type of cable is very important depending on the accessory you want to install. On the other hand, the size of the wiring is closely related to the type of transformer you are going to use and the size of the circuit you plan to carry out.
- Installation time: Installing path lights does not take long, in fact, if you already know where to install them, in one afternoon you can do it. Still, in case you plan to install more complex lights, it may take longer. Feel free to contact an electrician to help you with the task.
Types of Path Lights you May Need
You will find different types of path lights such as those that are placed to illuminate your path and sidewalks. Next, we will name the most common.
The path lights have been designed for outdoor use, i. e., they are prepared to withstand humid environments. That is why in order for them to withstand different climates and provide security, these types of lights need wet ratings.
These types of lights do not disturb the user’s vision and therefore, you can give different styles to your garden to illuminate the ground. For this, you can choose post lights with hoods, which only light your way. They look great on the edges of hallways, entrances, and gardens, and you can choose them in different styles. You can find them with LED technology and also other more complex ones.
On the other hand, in case you want to light up your plants, you can choose textured glass or patterned diffusers to add a touch of decoration.
You can go further than just using path lights outside. That is, in case you are looking to highlight a particular part of your garden, accent lights are what you need. However, these types of lights do not usually have protection against rain and snow, that is why you must choose one that is rated for the wet environment since they are usually located close to the ground. In this way, you can complement them with your path lights since they can be connected to the same circuit.
Using LED lights for your path brings many benefits, for example, they do not overheat like other types of bulbs and provide very powerful light. Also, insects usually avoid them since they hardly emit ultraviolet light, which is what they are looking for.
These types of lights have the ability to cover a wide space compared to other lights. So if you are looking to get enough light to help you find your keys inside your bag to open the front door, this is what you need. You will also find them in different styles that give personality to your entryway.
These lights turn on automatically when they sense movement. Apart from working as security, it also provides you with very broad lighting on the outside of your home. In case you need lighting for your path, these lights will turn on immediately after you have appeared on the scene. To do this, ensuring that the movement sensor is properly installed, a feature that also helps save energy.
Path Lights Installation Tips
- Be sure to plan carefully where you can place the path lights.
- Consider the location of any underground utilities to avoid accidents.
- You must bear in mind that the outdoor lights come in two different voltages, such as the line voltage, which are more complicated to set so call a professional. On the other hand, you have low voltage fixtures where you will need a transformer in your home’s GFCI outlet which is an easy task to do.
Path lighting is usually a task that we leave for the last moment or directly, we leave it aside. However, the use of path lights is one of the key steps since apart from giving a touch of beauty, it also helps us to illuminate our path and provide security. Best of all, you can set your path lights yourself after a few hours. Follow our step-by-step guide for placement and keep in mind our tips. Still, if you have any doubts, don’t hesitate to contact your trusted electrician.