When you are trying to decide how to put in transformers for you landscape lighting, it is natural to have questions. Here I have tried to answer some of them.
Q. How do transformers work?
A. Transformers are plugged into your home’s 120 volt grid. They reduce the voltage running to your low-voltage landscape lighting. 12 volt lights are much safer and more economical than 120 volt lights.
Q. How many transformers will I need for my garden?
A. That will depend on how many lights you need for your landscaping. It will also depend on the size of your transformer(s). Transformers can carry as little as 45 watts of power, or as much as 1,500 watts. You will need to figure out how many watts you will need for your lighting. After you know that, you should add 10% more to that number, to ensure your transformer can produce enough wattage to light all the lights equally.
Q. Why can’t I just use the power from my home?
A. Since most outdoor landscape lights are 12 volt, it is very unsafe to try to run 120 volts of power to them. They will be overloaded and this causes a safety risk!
Q. Where should I place my transformer?
A. Your transformer can be placed inside your home, such as on a porch area, or on a wall outside your home. You can also get underground transformers that are buried just outside your home. You will need to place your transformer in a place where it has close access to your home’s power grid, so it can be plugged into that grid. You will probably want to place your transformer in a place where it can be hidden or camouflaged, for aesthetic reasons.
Q. What is a zone and how do they work?
A. A zone is a section or segment of lights being powered by a transformer. They are recommended for use because they make sure the power from the transformer is distributed equally among the lights in your garden. If you are putting in all this work on your yard and garden, you will want to get the best results from your transformer. Zones make this possible!
Q. How many zones can be powered by 1 transformer?
A. That depends on the wattage of the lights being illuminated. You can find this out by looking on the packaging of the lights. It should tell you how many watts are needed for each light to work properly. You can get transformers that light as few as 45 watts of light, or as many as 1,500 watts of light. You will need to decide how many watts you will be using before you buy your transformer(s). If you get a multi-tap transformer, you can run several zones from the same transformer.
Q. Do I need to hire an electrician to put in my transformer?
A. This is dependent on how comfortable you are with working with electricity. It also depends on how much you know about wiring a transformer into your home’s electric grid. As always, if you are uncomfortable with working with electricity, please consider using the services of a licensed electrician. It is better to spend a bit more money and be safe than to make a mistake and get shocked (or worse)!
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