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What’s the Difference Between Solar Powered or Low-Voltage Landscape Lighting?

April 6th, 2017

Landscape Lights at Dusk

If you want to install landscape lighting — and you really should if you want to make your yard a lot safer at night — two types of ground-based lights stand out. One is solar-powered, and the other is a low-voltage version of hardwired electrical landscape lighting. Some of the differences and advantages between the two are obvious, but there are a few pros and cons that homeowners in Canada need to keep in mind.

What Are Solar-Powered and Low-Voltage Lights?

Solar-powered landscape lighting, obviously, is powered by the sun; one light is a self-contained unit that has its own little solar panel. Low-voltage lighting is a hardwired system, complete with cables and connections, that uses 12 volts instead of your home’s 110- or 120-volt system.

What Benefits Do Solar Lights Offer?

Solar lighting doesn’t need to tap into your home’s supply, meaning you won’t increase your energy bills. Because the lights are standalone units and not connected, you can move them around as you see fit. However, do keep in mind that while the panels will still gather solar energy on cloudy days, they won’t gather as much as they would on sunny days. If you have a long stretch of cloudy weather, then, you could see the lights dim a bit because they don’t have as much power stored up as they would have during sunny weather. The lights will still work, though.

What Benefits Do Low-Voltage Lights Offer?

Low-voltage lights rely on your home’s power supply, so there’s no worry about dimming due to extended bad weather. The voltage is so low that you won’t really use that much power to keep the lights going. You do have to be careful about placement because the wiring will make it somewhat harder to move the lights around your yard on a whim.

Please note that there is the risk that hard freezes could affect the lights. Bulbs should be LEDs, if possible, and for low-voltage lights, the wires should be buried carefully and inspected after freezes to ensure frozen ground hasn’t caused the wires to shift or break.

You may want to consult with an electrical services company like Syles Mechanical Services for more details. Contact Syles with your questions so that you can find the best outdoor lighting for your home.

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