The processes that are used when adding landscape lighting to your home are vital to the functionality and longevity of the product. Quality installation means that your lighting will not falter either in the short term or the long term.
One important aspect of landscape lighting installation is the wiring method. Understanding the different wiring options available will give you greater insight into your outdoor lighting project.
The daisy chain configuration is one of the most common wiring methods, due to its simplicity. However, with greater ease comes diminished voltage. On a daisy chain, the first light receives more energy and is therefore brighter than the last light. This can lead to a home that has brighter lights on one side, say by the front door, than on the other side, in front of the garage. If you are running a daisy chain a short distance, the difference in brightness is not very noticeable, if at all. But the longer the wire runs the more pronounced the difference becomes. In addition, the daisy chain method uses more connections, which increases the number of “weak points” or spots on the wire where you can encounter a future burnout or problem. A daisy chain configuration can be useful for certain types of landscape lighting, but it is important to be aware of its drawbacks.
The T-wiring system gets its name because of its appearance, which looks like a “T.” It is formed this way because the main wire is run to the middle of the fixture it powers, in hopes of balancing the voltage drop. This allows for more consistent brightness than the daisy chain wiring method. However, the T-wiring system adds one connection for each main wire and more weak points, increasing the likelihood of maintenance issues down the road.
The hub system is widely accepted as the best combination of efficiency, longevity, and brightness. With the hub system, every fixture comes with fifteen to twenty inches of wire, and then the main wire is run to the center of the fixture. All the wires on the fixtures run to the main wire, similar to the spokes on a bicycle tire. For each “hub” there are two to four fixtures attached. This system reduces the number of connections and thus the number of problems you might encounter. The additional wires used in this method can be run through pipes or hidden below the ground.
Keep these three wiring methods in mind when you are planning a lighting project or choosing a professional landscape lighting company. Knowing which approach to use and how it will affect your lighting over time will insure a sound investment in your home’s appearance.