Main vs Low Voltage Garden Lighting
This is a question that is often asked and one which should be considered before any garden lighting installation should be undertaken.
Philip Thomson is one of our most experienced lighting installers with over 100 installations completed. So we put this question to him to give you the inside view on the pros and cons of both systems.
‘In my experience the type and size of the space which is to be lit usually dictates which system to install. Knowing the right one to choose comes down to experience but there are some rules of thumb.’
‘An example of this will be a small urban garden with several large planted beds. For this type of garden where there will be a lot of digging up and maintenance of the beds, I would use a 12-volt garden lighting system. The main reasons would be safety and speed of installation. In terms of safety low voltage (12-volt) is fantastic as no harm can come to anyone who cuts through the cable by accident. The low voltage system is also very quick to install as no time is taken up with excessive amounts of junction boxes and burying of cable. This under part P regulations has to be done to strict regulations.’
‘In a large garden with mature trees, we would usually combine the two systems. The main reason for this is the distance of supply and the need for very strong lighting source for the trees. Therefore as a rule of thumb, any feature requiring over a 100watts of lighting power mains voltage system will be incorporated into the system. Low voltage will still be used but this will be in areas such as planted beds, walkways and pergolas.’
‘When combining the two systems it is worth planning carefully where all the lights are to be placed and try to keep a number of junction boxes to a minimum. This will ensure the minimum of entry points for water to enter the system.
‘This is the main advantage of low voltage over mains voltage garden Lighting is that low voltage lighting is far more reliable in wet conditions. As an example, a low voltage light fitting if filled with water would not affect the lighting scheme in any way whereas a mains voltage light in a similar situation would instantly trip the whole system.’
‘There are additional costs incurred by using low voltage as all the light fittings require a transformer whereas mains do not. However in my experience reliability is very important and makes any extra cost of transformers well worth the extra reliability.’
‘One point which should be made about low voltage is that when using a lot of transformers on one system, the fuse if a B type will often trip due to the surge from the transformers. The best way of overcoming this is to use a C type breaker. This problem has stumped many a good electrician but is a solution often overlooked.’
‘To sum up, I would always recommend a site visit by a qualified technician before taking on a garden lighting system but as a rule, I prefer the low voltage system as its advantages far outweigh any shortcomings and when it comes to safety and reliability there is no alternative.’
Call us on 07951 412 862 or click here to email us to discuss your requirements and begin your garden lighting transformation.