Part of the decision making game, when planning any deck lighting design, is whether to go for solar deck lighting or low voltage deck lighting options. Each has there merits and supporters. Each has there advantages and disadvantages over the other. Now I am not here to definitely tell you to choose one over the other. That would be insulting your intelligence. Instead let’s have a look at some of the basic principles and let you make your own choice based on the facts.
Safety Of Deck Lighting
The safety of your deck area should be your number one consideration. For a start there is the welfare of you, your family and visitors to consider. Secondly you have to think about meeting the various building code requirements. Finally there is your liability and your insurance coverage to satisfy.
Now many home owners out there worry about this and especially the chance of any outdoor solar deck lighting failing. By failing that usually means the fear of the solar powered deck lighting running out of their charge that has been built up in the daylight hours. Now this would be rare, providing the panel was exposed enough, but it could happen. Low voltage deck lighting does not have this worry, except in the event of a power cut.
Let’s consider a new installation. If you go for a low voltage deck lighting installation, then things are a lot more costly and complicated. There is the issue of voltage drop to calculate and account for. Then there is planning all the wiring and where it will go safely. Finally you have to think of what type of low voltage transformer you will choose and where you will site it. All of these tasks are a job for any experienced and certified electrical contractor, who will cost money. All of the equipment will also cost you extra cash from your budget.
With solar deck lights there is none of these issues and costs. Installation is very simple and the chances of being denied approval or insurance are a lot lower. After all if you have no wiring there is no chance of electrical shock, short outs or fire.
The Costs of Running Low Voltage And Solar Deck Lighting Fixtures
This is a complete no brainer. The calculation is very simple. Deck solar lighting is free to run. That’s an easy fact, powered as it is by the sun. Not even the Federal or my State government has found a way to charge me for using the sun yet. On the other hand, although lower voltage and power drain than your main house electricity, low voltage outdoor deck lighting still costs money. When you add up all your fittings over the course of one, two or five years, it is still money you might prefer to have rather than spend on lighting.
A Solution To The Power Problem In Deck Lighting
My solution is simple and really marries the two power options together. For critical areas of safety or for security, install a limited low voltage deck lighting arrangement. This could consist of outdoor wall lights and maybe some of the step lights that you will need on your deck build by law. By reducing the amount, then you simplify the amount and costs of wiring, transformers and avoid voltage drop problems. You also get the peace of mind you need over important areas. If you keep things small in this portion of the deck lighting low voltage fittings are not such an issue to you or your insurers
Then for the rest of the deck lighting solar powered options can be easy used without the worry. This will give you more flexibility overall and allow easier extension at a later date.
Of course this is just my take on the whole argument, but I think it s a sensible and practical approach to what is a much debated problem when building a lighting design for a deck in your back yard or garden.
For a more detailed look at some of the advantages and disadvantages of the various options when installing deck lighting you should look at some of my earlier posts such as: