OUTDOOR LIGHTING INSTALLATION
Adding outdoor lighting to any home provides not just added security but it also enhances and complements the home itself. The great thing about outdoor lighting is that you have a huge choice of options, most of them very easy to install. In fact, with a little time and a few tools, the outside of your home will look magnificent.
Before you begin with the installation, you need to first make sure you know your local codes. Sometimes, permits are required so take time to find out your requirements. Then, anytime you need to wire underground, you want to go with UF cable. With this, a breaker or fuse would be required on the inside of the house, which would serve as the starting point of the wiring. Then, any materials that you plan to use should be UL (Underwriter's Laboratory) approved, which means they have met strict safety guidelines.
Next, to protect any cabling that might be above ground, you would need to use conduit. With this, your light fixtures will always be grounded so you do not have to worry about safety issues. Depending on where you live and the type of outdoor lighting you are installing, you may be required by your local code to cover the entire length of the cable with conduit. When you check out the code requirements, you could find out which option you need.
In addition, many of the codes set today require circuits on the outside be protected with GFI, which is Ground Fault Interrupters. With this, you have two options : first, the GFI would be installed inside of your breaker box and the second is one that fits in the outlet box. Again, you would need to follow the guidelines of your local code. Next, when buying cable for underground installation, be sure you get a minimum of 18-inches deep although most experts will recommend you go with 24-inches. The reason is that when the cable is buried 24-inches below ground, digging or other common lawn work would be less a risk.
Finally, before you do any digging for your outdoor lighting, always shut off the electric to your home at the main breaker box for safety purposes. In addition, you want to call your local utility company so they can come out and mark the areas where there are underground utilities such as gas or electrical wiring. That way, when you begin to dig to lay out your cabling, you will not be injured.
As you begin shopping around for outdoor lighting options, you will find that you could also purchase weatherproof switches and outlets. These are highly recommended in that rain and snow would never be a problem. Again, this is for safety and worth the small investment. Once the lighting is in, you will love the way your home and yards look, as well as the better pathway it provides.