Are you wondering what is the best choice to light up your garden? Traditionally the choice has been low voltage lights with wires running underground from a central point – usually your home. Nowadays though you can pick from a number of options. One of which are solar lights.
In this article we will give you a rundown of what you need to know when making a decision between the two. Giving you impartial advice and letting you know each options strengths and weaknesses. To find out more just keep reading.
A Comparison Between Solar Lights and Low Voltage Lights
Can solar lights be as good as those of low voltage?
Outdoor lighting provides a sense of security, illuminates a home’s features, and increases its curb appeal, and all this makes it a worthwhile investment. Whether you choose to work with existing electrical outlets or solar power, if electricity is scarce, you will find that you have many available styles and options of the lights that you can use. Which is the option that is most suitable for your property? Before you make a final decision, you must take a few details into account. First, go though this article that gives you a comparison between solar and low voltage landscape lighting. There are differences that can help you in deciding what will best work for what you need.
COMPARISON BETWEEN SOLAR AND LOW VOLTAGE LANDSCAPE LIGHTING
Installation is easy and allows the lights to be placed anywhere
Gets power from the sun
All weather option, but lighting does get reduced when it is cloudy
Requires electricity to be installed and this limits placement
Solar lights function by drawing on the sun’s energy. The energy comes from solar panels that have solar cells made from layers of chemicals and crystalline silicon. Once the sunlight reaches these panels, its heat causes the negatively charged electrons to move to the positively charged cell layers. This activity is then converted to electricity which then is transferred by wires to batteries where it is stored.
Once it becomes dark, this stored electricity in the battery can be used to give power to the installed lights. LED bulbs are normally used as solar lights, and are bright, require little energy and will last for a long time.
It saves on the electricity bill as mains power electrical outlets are not needed
Can suit any budget because of the varied designs available
Will not function as well when the weather turns cloudy
Brightness does not match electrical options
Size and quality leads to cost variations
Some options are meant to be used temporarily and will last for some seasons, causing the bulbs to dim as the life of he battery does not allow it to hold sufficient charge. These are not very expensive and can be easily replaced by those that are available in local dollar stores.
You can buy lights of a higher quality which can withstand the weather and you can replace the batteries when they hold less of charge. These options can be expensive, but can lead to a one-time purchase and not require replacement.
Solar lighting does not require you to use an electrical outlet and this can be a money saver over time.
INSTALLATION AND MAINTENANCE
Installation of solar lights is very easy. As no wiring is required, you can place then anywhere, where you are able to get full sunlight for the major part of the day, so that the batteries get charged. Some of these lights come with cords, so that you can place the light where you require it, while the solar panels are kept in a place that is in full sunlight and avoids the shade.
Solar lights can be staked on the ground, put up on fences, rooflines or gutters and can even be mounted on a wall’s vertical surface.
For proper running, the solar panels need to be kept clear of debris and cleaned regularly. If the bulbs are dim it can mean that your panels are dirty or that the battery needs attention. You an find rechargeable solar batteries in both online and brick and mortar stores.
There are a lot of benefits that come with solar lighting. Your supply of energy is endless and the generation of electricity does not add to your utility bills. Lights can be placed anywhere. When power outlets are limited, lighting a large yard or the end of a driveway can cause you to spend on extension cords or other electrical installation, something that you do not need to do in the case of solar lights.
This lighting is also very durable. It can handle both heat and cold and withstand any severe weather. The stored power can last for a couple of days, so that cloudy or low light days will not be a problem when less solar power is generated.
Solar lights are by no means perfect. They can have their share of issues. The first of these is their dependence on solar energy, which requires them to be in bright sunlight for the greater part of a day for a full charge, so that the light in them can be at its brightest.
Solar lights will not be as bright as their low voltage counterpart, and the ambient light they cast can be bluish and this can hamper security, leaving you with the option of getting high lumen driveway lights, so that it meets your needs. They may also not function throughout the night, while they will have lower strength on cloudy days.
AN EXPLANATION OF LOW VOLTAGE LIGHTING
Lighting in your homes works on 120 volts, while low voltage lights will use just 12 volts. These lights are specifically designed to work in landscapes and get their power from a transformer that steps down the voltage from 120 volts to 12 volts. When equipped with a timer lights can come on and go off automatically as required. The cables to which all the lights are connected must be buried underground. You can have different sizes of cables and transformers to set up the system that you want. If you require more lights you will require a transformer of higher capacity.
Dependable and not affected by the weather
Bright lights that can also be used for spotlights
Ideal for security
They can cost you a lot to install
Placement is limited
The cost of this system can quickly escalate. Running cables and installing a transformer is quite easy, but if you are not comfortable doing this you can hire a professional. Every light fixture can cost a lot, though the lights come in many designs and styles, each with their own price range. This can greatly add to the cost.
INSTALLATION AND MAINTENANCE
These lights can take time to install, but the installation is not difficult. You will need to dig up a trench for the cables to be buried in and then hook them up to a transformer. You need to attach each lighting fixture to the cables for them to have access to power. This, in a way, makes the fixtures semi-permanent. You can always change positions at a later date, but this will require them to be again reconnected to the power supplying cables.
Once the installation is completed, it is well protected and does not require much of maintenance. Keep the bulbs used clean for the best lighting and take care of them when you are maintaining your landscape.
You can turn on these lights whenever you please, so a low light day will never be a problem. You can even have them turning on and off at different times by hooking the system to timers or self operated photocells.
These lights have been designed to work in all kinds of weather and this makes them dependable. Light provided is consistent and will never dim because of low power.
Because you need to connect these lights to a power source, their placement does have limitations. This type of lighting is placed at ground level and can illuminate driveways, walkways, and landscape features. They are not used on vertical surfaces, fences, rooflines or on trees.
Cables can be cut when you are doing yard maintenance or plan changes in your landscape. This will require the cable to be rewired.
Landscape lighting illuminates your garden and home and can help you to highlight the features of your landscape. You can also use it to provide any illumination that you may have the need for. You can choose the electrical source that you want, and will have may options to choose from, in the matter of style and design. The solar option allows you to place the lights wherever you want them and where they can recharge, and make for an option that is very dependable as long as the sun is shining. Low voltage lighting is more consistent on the whole but does limit your choice of placement. You can always mix and match both of them to give you more flexibility in their use.
Comments and questions are welcome, and it can also be great if you share this.