Time to improve your home with some outdoor lighting!
Spring is a great time to improve and clean up around and in your home. It is finally staying light out a while longer and warming up some. Many people finally feel they can get outside and start to do some of those projects that they just canít bring themselves to do in the winter. So what is on your list this spring? Maybe a new outdoor light so you can entertain your friends in the back yard, maybe some new landscape lighting to brighten up the entry or the great yard you have done, maybe you just need to increase your safety and comfort.
Whatever the reason or need there are several things to consider. Are you qualified and comfortable making the installation yourself? Or should you hire a professional? What type of lighting will do the best job for you; low voltage (12v) or line (120v) voltage? Should the lights be automatic, on a switch, on a timer, or motion activated? Should you use LED, fluorescent, halogen, or incandescent?
There are many reasons to consult a professional to answer the questions properly. A good designer can help you make the right decision the first time, there is nothing more frustrating than installing a system or a fixture that just doesnít do the job you expected or needed. The qualified person can be a residential designer, experienced electrical contractor, or landscaper (depending on the project). It is usually cheaper to do the job correctly the first time around, than to have to hire someone to re-do it.
Many electrical contractors have training and the experience to see the project from idea and concept to completion. Many times the price is more affordable that you expected when you consider that most electrical contractors donít charge to design the job for you. Some will, but it is usually a modest fee that can be incorporated into the final installation. Consult an experienced company that has references doing they type project that you want to have done. Ask lots of questions.
If you decide to do it yourself be sure to do it to code and get the installation inspected to protect you and your loved ones from possible shock and other hazards that come from improper wiring. The law does say (in most cases) that you can make the installation on your own property, but you still must get a permit and an inspection. If the unexpected happens will your insurance cover the damage if you didnít follow state law?
Properly installed and planned lighting can create a safe and warm environment for your friends, family, and neighborhood.
Jim P. Simmons, Master Electrician.