Lights in Garden

3 Things You Need to Know About Adding Exterior Lighting to Your Home

Dressing up the exterior of your home can increase its outward appeal and market value as well as reflect a potential for indoor beauty. Exterior lighting is a powerful means to draw positive attention to your house. However, there are a few details that you need to address regarding exterior lighting to prevent stumbling blocks.

Common Issues

Before installing landscape or exterior lighting to your home, make sure you have the proper clearance. If you rent your property, you’ll need to check your lease or obtain permission from your landlord. Even if you own your house, make sure you satisfy all agreements and obtain appropriate authorization from your homeowner’s association, if there is one. Although many HOAs welcome exterior lighting as an additional safety measure for residents, they’ll require proper installation to prevent hazardous conditions. DarkSky explains that light pollution or nuisance lighting affects your neighbors. An HOA may regulate where your lights are placed and how bright they can be.

If no such organization exists where you live, you still need to keep these issues in mind. Do your utmost not to infringe on other people’s enjoyment of their property. Exterior lighting concerns include temporary decorations like holiday lights as well.  Don’t compromise on safety or consideration for your neighbors. Always use outdoor-rated fixtures, light bulbs, extension cords, and decorative lights. Make sure animals or children can’t get to your transformers, and contact local authorities about underground utilities if you need to dig. Schedule appropriate inspections and safeguard against defective lights, too.

Electrical Safety

Helius cautions that outdoor lights require careful electrical planning, as even when they’re covered and protected, they have to still deal with more moisture than indoor lighting. This means they can be a common hazard needing inspecting. Refer to the National Electrical Code for guidance. Always use the appropriate wattage light bulbs. Installing bulbs that exceed the maximum wattage recommendations can damage wire insulation because they can overheat. Install Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters everywhere in your home as well as on your outdoor box. The exception is if you have a circuit breaker or GFCI device higher up in the wiring from your outside box. All outdoor wiring and receptacles need to be weatherproof. Avoid any metal when attaching temporary lighting.

Avoid Corrosion

The extreme moisture exterior lighting faces leads to corrosion and safety issues that can go undetected for a long time. Black Diamond warns that corrosion of bulbs and connections can present dangerous electrical concerns. Make sure to perform regular maintenance on your lighting system. Check halogen and incandescent systems at least twice annually. Plan on replacing all bulbs every two years. When lamps burn out, condensation occurs in the socket, which is a primary cause of corrosion. Besides ensuring you promptly replace old bulbs, you can also use dielectric compounds at each lamp’s base to prevent corrosion.  Avoid substandard connections because if water gets into the wiring, it will, of course, corrode it. Waterproofing connections will further help to prevent corrosion.

Exterior or landscape lighting can be excellent for home improvement. However, legal and community issues, electrical safety, and corrosion are a few elements to consider before embarking on an installation project.