Guide to Outdoor Lighting Installation
Lighting for the outdoors comes with a plethora of advantages in terms of both safety and style Whether you want to install outdoor lighting to create a social atmosphere for patio dining or simply to serve a practical purpose such as lighting a clear path or making your garden less of an easy target for burglars, there are many options available. Outdoor lighting is an excellent solution for gardens and other outdoor spaces.
While you can certainly hire a professional electrician to install your outdoor lighting (and we recommend doing so if you're not very experienced), ), you can install outdoor lighting yourself if you take the necessary safety precautions.
Precautions to Take When Installing Outdoor Lighting
We've created a simple checklist for you to refer to if you're thinking about installing outdoor lighting to make following these safety precautions even easier.
- Make sure the power is turned off.
- Turn off the breaker and, if possible, secure it.
- As you work, place a note on any units you're working on to remind yourself and others that work is being done.
- Before you begin, test each circuit to ensure it is safe to work with (a voltage tester will be required for lighting circuits).
- All completed work should be socket tested (or voltage tested) before use.
- Install all outdoor lighting in accordance with local building codes.
- Install all exterior lighting in accordance with the most recent IEE Wiring Regulations.
Once you've determined that you're qualified and safe to install outdoor lighting, review our instructions on how to install various types of outdoor lighting.
Installing Outdoor Wall Lighting
Outdoor lighting can be installed on your home's exterior walls to effectively illuminate areas such as paths, patios, and doorways. These wall lights for the outdoors can be linked through existing lighting spurs or power circuits
To accomplish this, it is best to use an RCD (residual current device) so that in the event of a fault, the power is immediately turned off. Many modern lighting units already have an RCD, and RCD protection is required for most electrical devices, but it's always worth double-checking that your lighting has an RCD in case you need to wire one in separately.
- Drill a hole in the wall where you want your light fitting to be visible - tilt the drill hole slightly upwards, with the higher end facing the inside of the wall and the lower end facing the outside. Insert a plastic conduit into the drill hole and pull your cable through.
- Check that the cable cores are connected to the correct terminals on the unit, or use strip connectors to connect the cable cores to the unit's flex cores. Wrap these tightly in PVC tape to prevent damp damage.
- Fix the light to your exterior wall and use a silicone sealant to keep moisture out of the fixture.
- Return the light supply cable to a convenient location for cutting into a main lighting circuit cable inside the house. A four-terminal junction box should be used on the circuit cable.
- Install a switch indoors and run a 1mm-long two-core-and-earth cable back to the junction box location.
- Using a voltage tester to ensure that the power is turned off, isolate the circuit and then cut through the main circuit cable to make the necessary connections in the junction box.
Installing Mains-Powered Outdoor Lighting
Using a 5 amp fused connection unit, outdoor lighting can be powered from a ring circuit spur. Outdoor lighting should be powered by a single circuit. For your safety, use 5mm2 three-core steel-wire-armoured cable (SWA) and outdoor lights that are weatherproof and RCD protected.
Installing Outdoor Lighting Using SWA Cable
- An SWA cable has three cores: brown, black, and grey. At each connection point, make sure the black core is wrapped in green or yellow sleeving to indicate that this is the earth cable.
- To prevent accidental cutting, SWA should be buried between 450mm and 750mm underground. If you want to be extra cautious, place an electrical route marker table about 150mm above the cable.
- Secure an SWA to your home's wall with cable clips, which can be attached to any masonry with plugs and screws.
- Use a junior hacksaw to cut through the SWA, and pliers to strip back the armouring as needed.
- Connect the SWA cores to a 1. 5mm2 two-core-and-earth cable that should be in a weatherproof adaptable box that is currently attached to your house's wall The SWA should enter the box through a weatherproof gland protected by a plastic gland shroud; this is critical in preventing corrosion of the cable armouring.
- Connect the cable to the lights, paying special attention to any earth connections and waterproof seals to ensure proper weatherproofing.
Installing Low-Voltage Outdoor Lighting
If any of the above options appear to be overly complicated, you may want to consider low-voltage outdoor lighting. Low-voltage outdoor lights are the simplest and safest to install. These outdoor lights are typically found on spikes which can be pushed into the ground Instead of complicated and potentially dangerous wires, low-voltage outdoor lighting draws power from a transformer via a two-core cable.
- Connect your 12-volt transformer to a weather-protected indoor socket (garages or sheds are fine as long as they are weatherproof).
- The cable size may vary depending on the circuit length and load - drill an appropriately sized hole in the wall (or door, or window frame), line with a conduit, and then pass the cable through.
- To keep moisture out, seal the hole with silicone sealant.
- Because of the low voltage, you can lay the cable on or just below the surface; just make sure it isn't a trip hazard.
Solar Powered Outdoor Lighting Installation
Of course, an even easier option is to simply install outdoor lighting powered by the sun Solar-powered outdoor lights are a popular choice of decorative outdoor lighting that does not require a power source and can run at no cost to you.
Discover a wide range of exterior lighting options right here at Dusk Lighting, and remember, if you're unsure whether you can install an outdoor light fitting yourself, consult a qualified electrician first.
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