Low Voltage Exterior Lighting

Written by Beth Hrusch
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Low voltage exterior lighting is a good idea for anyone who wants to create a well-lit outdoor space without the use of dangerous standard-voltage fixtures. The voltage of an outdoor fixture is important because these fixtures are often in contact with pets, children and guests and the potential for injury is therefore always present. Low voltage fixtures are a safer alternative in outdoor lighting.

What Is Low Voltage Exterior Lighting?

The low voltage fixture is actually part of a low voltage system, consisting of a transformer, lamp, cable and the fixture itself. This system reduces the 120 voltage coming from a standard household outlet (or electrical system for hard-wired fixtures) to 12 volts. The result is a light fixture that puts out just as much light as a standard voltage fixture without the danger of electrical shock.

The transformer supplies the electricity, transmitted through a low voltage cable. This cable is designed for exterior use. It is weather-resistant and insulated to protect the copper wire inside. The gauge of the copper is determined by the amount of watts needed to operate the system. Several low voltage exterior lighting fixtures may be connected to one cable, but the number may not exceed the maximum allowable wattage of the transformer. Because of this, several cables and transformers may be needed to adequately light a large area.

Low voltage exterior lighting is a good option in areas where there will be a lot of traffic. Contemporary fixtures add an element of style without being obtrusive, and there are many choices in the style and placement of the fixtures. This versatility and style is what makes today's low voltage lighting practical for any outdoor space.

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