What Is Landscape Lighting Transformer?

Except when you are acquainted with landscape lights, you may not even be knowledgeable about landscape lighting transformers. A basic understanding of landscape lighting transformers will help you decide what landscape lighting system to choose if you’re a DIY-er. And, if you plan to hire a professional for your outdoor lighting design, it will help you follow the terms the expert is using.

Your Landscape Lighting Transformer

The transformer is the primary factor in the low-voltage lighting system. A landscape transformer is an appliance that is utilized to reduce high input electric current to low output electric current for landscape lighting usage. Transformers take a typical household current and decrease the voltage from 120 volts to below 15 volts in direct current. The efficiency of the conversion defines the wattage, the number of lights to make, and how much energy it uses.

It impacts the life expectancy of the lights as well. This suggests an outdoor lighting installer lets your landscape lights work perfectly for several years to come and will lessen problems with lights failing or having weak outputs after a while from the wire connections around the property. Furthermore, because the fraction of electricity utilized by these fixtures is lessened, as a gardener, you can be confident that you will save tons of money on electrical bills.

If you choose to embark on the road of DIY, then a low-voltage lighting transformer is the advisable option for you. In simple words, the low voltage lighting system is safe, affordable, and easy to install.

Reason To Have Your Lighting Systems On A Low Voltage Transformer

Now, let’s have a look at why outdoor transformers, particularly low-voltage transformers, are a must for your landscape lights:

Less Heat Produced – Since the lights produce less heat, they won’t overheat quickly. Therefore, they can resist severe weather conditions more effectively.

Longer Life Expectancy – The lights can prolong their life because they use less electrical energy. Moreover, since the lights generate less heat, they last longer.

Lower Voltage Lights – If you’ve ever attempted installing LED or HID lights in your garden, you might have witnessed that they need higher power than standard lights do. They require almost 15V DC while average household lights just require 6V DC. When you wish to have those kinds of bulbs, you’ll first have to reduce the voltage to something more expedient. Thus, the application of the transformer.

A low-voltage lighting system with 12-volt power guarantees that your family and guests will be safe from electrocution in the event that they accidentally touch something. If you choose a line voltage that has 120-volt power, the consequences of a mishap will be painful.

A garden illuminated with landscape lighting.

More Efficient Light Output – When converting the voltage, the output becomes brighter. Thus, the overall brightness of the area lit up improves.

Cost-Effective – You will need to purchase a transformer for a low-voltage setting, which isn’t needed for the line volt system. However, the wires you would need for line voltage lighting are pricier than those required for low volt lighting. What’s more, you must have LED light fixtures in the low volt system, which are more expensive than incandescent lights yet have a longer lifespan. LED light fixtures likewise use considerably less power, so you can save on the electricity bill also.

What Size Transformer Do I Need?

The size of the transformer that you need will be based on the total wattage needed on your apparatus and not on the measurements. The wattage is indicated by the overall number of light fixtures installed. The more lights there are, the more the wattage amount, therefore, a bigger transformer. Transformers always inform you of the total wattage they can sustain.

How Many Lights Can You Have On A Low Voltage Transformer?

Knowing the voltage amp compared to watt will indicate the true power draw on your system. This is why it’s recommended to apply this math to make sure you don’t buy outdoor transformers that aren’t sufficient to power your lighting design installation because it will just lead to problems for you over time, consuming your earnings and your peace of mind.

For instance, suppose you need to have 25 landscape lights to a low volt transformer and the lights are pulling 6VA/35 Watts of halogen power draw on the system, the result is 140 voltage amps.

Voltage amp draw sample computation: 25 lights X 6 VA = 150 voltage amps
But since a 150 W transformer will not provide you with an adequate buffer of the advised 20-25% below maximum watts rating, you should have a 300W transformer for your new landscape lighting system to remain suitably illuminated for years to come.

You must buy a transformer that provides at least the suggested wattage and not more than 35%. Choosing a transformer with slightly higher wattage will allow you to incorporate some more lights someday.

Wire Plays An Important Role In Your Lighting Design Factors For Power

A bench beside a pool illuminated by landscape lighting.

When weighing what specific wire gauges to apply for your landscape lighting design installation, it’s most useful to learn that various gauges have their own advantages and disadvantages.

Note: Larger wire sizes are more robust, while smaller wire sizes are usually more efficient. But, the smaller types will likewise lessen the reach of power being delivered to your fixtures in the ground and may need a conduit to remain riskless from undesirable professional cuts to your lighting connections.

Installation of Low Voltage TransformerInstallation of Low Voltage Transformer

After you have selected the correct low volt landscape transformer for your conditions, now comes the installation. Here is the basic guidance for this task:

Wrap Up

Because there are several aspects to think of when building a landscape lighting design project, it’s always most reasonable to ask a professional lighting design expert because they can recommend the best type of wire, as well as the appropriate transformer and landscape lighting systems to have based on its usage.

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