It doesn’t mater what the weather, if you have a deck, then you know how good it is to sit and enjoy it. Outdoor deck lighting makes that experience so much better. It extends the time you can relax and enjoy or have fun with friends and family into the evenings and night. In fact I think that autumn is almost as good a time to sit and enjoy my garden as summer is. The changes that come over the tree, plants and animals are fascinating to watch, especially late on in the day.
But I have already got my outdoor deck lighting all sorted out. But what about if you are still considering where you should go with yours? I know it took me a while to get things figured in my mind. The choices of power, style and placement were just too much information at the time. So my advice when you want to design your deck lighting ideas into reality is to take it one step at a time.
That’s what this article series is about. I’m just going to throw some simple outdoor deck lighting ideas out there for you. Chew them over and see what really runs up your flap pole.
There will be 3 articles about deck lighting choices. I will be in some interesting links to LED, 12v and solar deck lighting ideas I have seen on Amazon and 1StopLighting as well. These are my personal choices, but you might want to do your own research which is cool.
Low Voltage Outdoor Deck Lighting Fixtures
This is the traditional fail safe route followed by many. Outdoor low voltage deck lighting has been around a long time and probably will still be around in 20 years or more. It is generally reliable unless you have a power cut. It has also evolved itself to incorporate new LED technology so it doesn’t get left behind.
So what do low voltage lighting user like about this deck lighting method? Well there is the reliability. There is still a lack of trust in solar power. Will it run out of charge for instance, at a vital moment? No lighting on steps or your security lights could be a bit of a problem. Now to my mind if you have the panels set up in the right spaces and you are aware of solar deck lighting limitations then there should be no problems.
However there is something in the make up of humans that we like to be 200% sure about things we don’t understand, fear or don’t trust. It’s a bit like the problem the electric car has in the public eyes. My solution is to have the old 12v deck lighting in critical areas such as steps and outdoor grill areas and then cheap outdoor deck lighting in other spaces.
Advantages Of Outdoor Low Voltage Deck Lighting
Low voltage outdoor deck lighting has is it is very controllable. You can hook it up to the transformer and then set it on a timer, or even dim it as necessary to change the mood.
Low voltage outdoor deck lighting does lose out on its charge and fade away. It is only if you blow a fuse or get a power outage that you will have problems. From my experience I can only remember about once or twice when I have experience a full blown outage or power cut. So your decking area is going to be well lit and safe for your kids and visitors alike.
This is old school technology fitted and updated with modern twists. It is proven to work reliably in a lot of different conditions and circumstances. Flick a switch and it works, simple as that.
With the advent of LED outdoor deck lighting fittings, any issues with normal bulbs have disappeared as well
Disadvantages of Outdoor Low Voltage Lighting
Low voltage outdoor lighting for decks has to be well planned. Once it is in and the deck area finished it is hard and problematic to expand. Yes there are some peripheral items that can be added, but it all involves a lot of cutting and routing. Plus you have to wire the new ones in and connect them up. If you are a great DIY person then you will be rolling around in hog heaven. Otherwise it is the costs of a contractor.
2. Installation Costs
Even if you are going to do it yourself, you will still have to invest in the low voltage transformers, wiring, fittings, possibly tools, and crimps and so on. If not then you will have to assess some contractors for the job and hope they are value for money. I am no electrician so calculating voltage drops and safe wiring is beyond me.
Add to that the hassle of actually getting it certified as a safe installation. You might need those certs. For building inspectors, or more importantly your house insurance company.
3. Running Costs
Okay so low voltage lighting does not suck up electricity like an oven or an air con unit. But over the course of a year it does add up. Now you have to balance that up against how much power costs in your area of course. Another point is that is not very green. Not everyone’s scene I know, but it is important to some and you should be looking at ways you can avoid being destructive environmentally.
So Is Buying Outdoor Low Voltage Deck Lighting Worth It?
Well I would say yes and no. Now before I get my fanny full of splinters from this fence I’m sitting on, let me explain. I still think they are a valid and in some areas necessary part of your whole deck lighting design plans.
Mix them in with other types of outdoor deck lighting to balance off their down sides.
Pre-plan them in critical areas or for your core deck lighting needs.
Save some money in the long term by using solar outdoor deck lighting in less critical areas and if you expand the system you have on your deck.
So no, low voltage deck lighting fixtures are not dead by any stretch of the imagination. They have adapted well and offer a necessary addition to your outdoor deck lighting design and requirements.