Outdoor Lighting – Safest Voltage Options


When it comes to outdoor lighting, safety of the system is even more important than function and aesthetics. Today we will address safety and voltage. For outdoor lighting, there are three options for voltage: 220 volts, 110 volts and 12 volts. Let’s compare:

220 Volts

This not the norm in America, but it is the standard in many other countries. Some home appliances in America use 200 volts . These appliances usually have a big funky looking plug and outlet, and their own circuit and circuit breaker. Your dryer, stove/oven, air conditioner main unit, water heater and outdoor spa tub likely run on 200 volts. 220 volt outdoor lighting is generally reserved for commercial use only (parking lots, stadiums, etc.) where lots of light is needed. Outdoor lighting is rarely done at this level for residential use, and always requires a licensed electrician.

120 volts

This also called high, line or standard voltage lighting. This represents the standard voltage directly supplied into homes. Outdoor lighting installed at this voltage would require a licensed electrician nearly everywhere in the United States, which would drive the cost up considerably, however there are some applications for which this is the best choice: commercial, and certain residential settings.

12 volts

This also called low voltage lighting, and is the standard for landscape lighting. By utilizing a step down transformer, low voltage lighting converts your home’s 120V electrical supply to 12V. Without the transformer, there would be too much current flowing to your lights and they would burn up/blow up. Kinda not what we’re looking for, right?

The Standard:

Low voltage lighting has become the standard for outdoor lighting because it is the safest landscape lighting voltage option. The risk of injury from a 12V system is much lower than for 120V– there’s just less electricity flowing through the wires. Exposure to a 12V system is extremely unlikely to cause serious injury or death. And isn’t that what you want to hear if for some reason you have an exposed wire? Like if your dog digs it up, or you’re digging in your yard?

Additionally, low voltage lighting uses less electricity (especially with LED lamps), lasts longer (less generated heat) and has far more options to create the effect you desire, (including fixture styles, beam spreads and color temperatures). And because low voltage lighting does not need an electrician to make changes (i.e. adding or moving fixtures) it is much easier and far less expensive to make changes.

Altogether, for residential applications (and for many commercial applications as well) low voltage outdoor lighting is a much better choice. For safety and practicality. And that’s why it’s the standard– it’s just the best choice. Let us show you how we can give you the Safety, Security, and Serenity you desire.

Located in Summerfield, NC Southern Lights- Architectural and Landscape Lighting serves properties and property management  companies throughout the state of NC including Greensboro, High Point, Jamestown, Burlington, Reidsville, Oak Ridge, Brown Summit, Winston-Salem, Clemmons, Raleigh, Charlotte, Kannapolis, Salisbury, Gastonia, Matthews, etc.

Southern Lights has installed hundreds of outdoor landscape lighting systems and carries more certifications than anyone in the state. We specialize in lighting designs and service everything we install as well as lighting systems installed by others. With attention to detail and a solid knowledge of design, Southern Lights is the leading outdoor landscape lighting firm in the state of NC and beyond. See why our clients choose us. Contact us today by web (online form) or phone 336-451-4969.

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