Line voltage for outdoor lighting will be used mostly in security and highlighting an object. When choosing line voltage you will have to run regular electric outside to your location. This style of lighting offers some of the brightest lighting available.
What is line voltage
Line voltage is regular 110 voltage from your house. This does not go through a transformer as low voltage lighting does. Most people will hire an electrician to install the wiring on line voltage lighting. If you are going to do this yourself please see the local codes and follow some of the simple steps below.
To get to your fixture you will have to run a at least a 14-2 with ground wire from a ground fault circuit for safety. Unless the fixture is mounted close to the house the wire will have to be run underground in weatherproof conduit. As always when running regular house current, check with local regulations for the proper codes.
When running conduit for your underground wire, make sure you do not exceed 360 degrees of turns for each line pull. This would be equal to four 90 degree turns. This will make it easier to pull your wire. If you find you have to make more bends in your run, include a pull point on one of the 90 degree corners.
Outdoor lighting for security will come in many forms. A single or set of spotlights can light up an area like the Wal-Mart parking lot.
If you are looking to light up an area just to let you and your guest find a illuminated walk to your front door from your parking area, a post light will fit with most exterior decors. Many colors and designs are available.
Spot or flood lights that can be either mounted on a tree or other object can highlight an object from above.
Lights that are mounted on the ground can shine up on an object. My flag pole light is the one shown in the picture below.
Knowing what kind of lighting you are looking for will help on choosing an up light or a down light. This is the direction that the light shines on an object to highlight it.
Many of the security lights will have the option of how they come on and how long they stay on. A simple off and on light switch can operate the light from the inside of your house.
Dusk to dawn will come on at dark and go off at daylight. A sensor that is placed in the power circuit before the fixture will be necessary. These type of sensors can adjusted to the amount of darkness turns them on so that on a cloudy day they do not light all day. This a simple dusk to dawn sensor on the flagpole light to the right.
A motion sensor will come on when it senses some movement. These types of sensors will be placed in the circuit the same way that the dusk to dawn sensor. A good motion sensors will have several adjustments to let you change the range that the motion is picked up and how long the light stays on.
Line voltage for outdoor lighting is an alternative to low voltage and solar lighting. You will find these lights can cove a greater area per fixture. Running the power to your fixture will require a little more thought and work than low voltage lighting. You will have to follow local codes.
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Great site! A very informative post, thanks.
I’ve often wondered hoe reliable solar security lights are? Would you recommend them?
Check out the review of the solar security light on this site. I did one and it was very reliable if mounted where it did not get wet all of the time.
Outdoor lighting is something I love. I am lucky enough to live on the beautiful island or Rhodes in Greece and to have my garden and balcony lit of a night time is so beautiful.
I was considering these lighting systems you mention as at the moment all my lights are with solar power… but not as good as a thought they would be.
Thanks for enlightening me!
The line voltage lights are still the best for getting the most illumination for your money. Solar powered lights are getting better, as the solar panels are much better today.
Hi John, very informative and helpful piece. I was going to put a security light, the sensor type, above the back door, but based on what you have said I think I will now get an electrician in to do the work.
The electrician is needed when the job goes beyond your skills. It is also a good rule if you are not aware of the local codes for wiring a line voltage system.
Hi John. My husband installed sensor lights down our driveway last fall and I love it. They come on when the sun goes down and turn off early in the morning. We have had no problems at all with the lights and I definitely recommend them to anyone thinking about it. Outdoor lighting can really add value to a home.
You will get security and a sense of safety with outdoor lighting added to your home. The value that it gives is also a added feature.
Yes very informative, Formatted and well grammared post mate well done.
This type of lighting is still the best for illumination and longevity.