Home Low-Voltage Lighting and Wiring

    low-voltage outdoor lighting
    Photo credit: Easy Outdoor Decor

    Low-voltage lighting systems have become popular in recent years for compelling reasons. First, low-voltage home systems use less electricity and are ideal for houses powered by solar and wind power. Second, low-voltage wiring and lighting are easy and safe for the do-it-yourselfer to install. Third, low-voltage lights come in a wide variety of styles and colors.

    How Low-Voltage Lighting Works

    Indoor and outdoor low-voltage lighting systems require transformers to reduce normal household electricity from 110/120 volts to 12 volts. Whether for indoor or outdoor use, a home low-voltage wiring system requires a 110/120 volt power outlet to which a transformer is connected. A professional electrician can install one if your home doesn’t have one available.

    Home and Garden Low-Voltage Transformers

    When choosing the transformer, you need to take voltage drop into account. Voltage drop occurs when power is lost between the source and the fixture. To determine the right home low-voltage transformer, add the wattage of all fixtures to be added to the circuit. If that total is close to the value of the transformer’s capacity, purchase a low-voltage transformer one size larger. By buying a larger capacity transformer for your low voltage wiring, you ensure that you can add more lights later if you want.

    Garden Low-Voltage Transformers

    Ideal for landscaping and outdoor uses, some transformers for low-voltage wiring systems also include photocell sensors that turn the lights on as night approaches. Other low-voltage wiring system transformers feature timers to turn the lights off and on at designated times.

    Low Voltage Light Fixtures

    Low voltage light fixtures are available in a wide variety of styles. Indoor examples include:

    • Monorail and Track Low-Voltage Fixtures
    • Low-Voltage Chandeliers or Suspension Lights
    • Low-Voltage Pendants
    • Flush Mount and Recessed Sconces
    • Ceiling Lights

    For landscape and garden low-voltage lighting, there are also many choices available. Low-voltage exterior light fixtures come in styles like these:

    • Lanterns
    • Low-Voltage Step Lights
    • Low-Voltage Path Lights
    • Spotlights

    Adding low-voltage lights to the inside and outside of your home is inexpensive and easy. Whether lighting a path or shedding light in a dark corner of a room, low-voltage lights are an inexpensive solution. Hire a professional to install the main power outlet and do the rest yourself.

    Updated August 8, 2018.

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