How to Install Exterior Lighting

How to Install Exterior Lighting

Make navigating your property in the dark easier with lighting. Read the step-by-step directions to learn how to install exterior lighting and what materials and tools you need for the best results.

By Gene and Katie Hamilton

Tools Required

  • Drill and bits
  • Screwdrivers
  • Garden shovel or spade

Materials Required

  • Low-voltage light kit
  • Pipe strap
  • Paint stick or scrap wood
  • Step 1 : Assemble Fixtures

    Assemble Fixtures

    Low-voltage lighting kits come with different kinds of fixtures, but the basic assembly is the same. To assemble the socket, twist or press the components together, attaching the electrical wires into each bulb socket and twist in the bulbs. Next, insert the socket assembly into the fixture and twist lock it in place. Slide the riser tube onto the fixture and press the mounting stake into the base of the riser tube. Use the manufacturer's instructions as a guide to assemble all the fixtures.

  • Step 2 : Install the power pack

    Install the power pack

    A low-voltage system uses a transformer that lowers the voltage from 120 volts to 12 volts. The transformer is paired up with a timer and the unit is known as a power pack. A low-voltage electrical cable leads away from the power pack and each light attaches to the cable. Mount the power pack on an exterior wall close to an exterior outlet that is protected by a ground-fault circuit interrupter (GFCI). Use the screws provided by the manufacturer to mount the power pack at least a foot above the ground.

    Install the power pack

    You can also mount the power pack inside the house and plug it into an outlet that is protected with a ground-fault circuit interrupter (GFCI). Install the unit on an exterior wall inside the basement or garage and then drill a hole through the exterior wall. Lead the low voltage wire through the wall. Most building codes require that the wire be protected until it is buried in the ground. Cut a short section of 3/4 inch plastic water pipe and pass the wire through the pipe. Then secure the pipe to the side of the house with a pipe strap.

  • Step 3 : Install the cable on the power pack

    Install the cable on the power pack

    Make sure the power pack is not plugged in. Remove some insulation from the end of the low voltage wire and then attach the wires to the screw terminals on the power pack base.

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