Outdoor LED Lighting

Since LED garden lighting started parking its tanks on the low voltage outdoor lighting lawn just a few years ago, it has grown enormously in popularity. Outdoor LED lighting allows you to achieve amazing after dark effects and yet it is also very easy to install, cheap to purchase, incredibly cheap to run and quite safe for children, animals and plants.

Most outdoor LED lighting, like traditional garden lighting, typically uses a 12v DC low voltage power supply from a mains transformer installed indoors Mars Hydro Mars Eco 300W LED grow light. There the similarities end though, because LED garden lights use only 10% as much electricity as traditional incandescent bulbs or halogen lamps.

The reason is simple; LED light is produced by exciting electrons to emit photons (light), whereas traditional light bulbs burn a filament which gives off an incidental amount of light along with all the heat. These are fundamentally different approaches to the process of producing light. LEDs are deliberately engineered to emit light and nothing else; incandescent bulbs are essentially small heaters that emit light only as a by-product.

For garden lighting then, outdoor LED lights are ideal because of these properties of running cool and using negligible amounts of electricity. It is also worth mentioning that most LED garden lights have an effective lifespan of a decade or more, thereby reducing maintenance requirements.

LED garden lights come in all manner of guises. The most common colors are white and blue, but other colors are also available as well as color changing LED lights. One of the most noticeable characteristics of LED garden lights is how crisp and pure they look. The colors tend to be extremely vibrant with an almost gemstone quality – sapphire blue, emerald green, ruby red, citrine yellow, diamond white. Though it is possible to use filters and diffusing screens to tone things down, which in itself opens up further effects and design ideas.

As well as variety in colors and brightness, outdoor LED lights are also available in any number of different fixtures. LED floodlights, wall wash effects, rock lights, embedded patio and deck lights, bollards, lanterns, spikes, pagodas, integrated in garden ornaments and submerged in ponds. Just for starters. Two of the most common choices through are outdoor LED spotlights and LED deck lights.

LEDs are well suited as garden spotlights since LED light tends be directional by nature. They also often have a good Colour Rendering Index which measures how lifelike and vibrant the area being lit appears. The items to check when choosing LED garden spotlights are: brightness (even a 1w LED in a dark garden is surprisingly bright); beam angle (how spread out or focussed the light is); and “color”, meaning both the actual color (as in red or blue etc) and the “color temperature” (how “cool” or “warm” the light appears).

LED deck lights are one of the most versatile forms of garden lighting available. You can use them as intended, flush fitted into decking boards, or experiment with many other applications. LED deck lights are obviously highly robust and able to withstand quite a pounding (literally) as well as extremes of weather; they’re also cheap, lightweight and simplicity itself to install.

Just about any piece of wood, or indeed any solid material, that you can drill a hole into and feed cables through can have LED deck lighting fitted into it. For cheap and easy pathway lighting for example, just hammer in some short wooden stakes at suitable intervals, drill apertures to accept whatever size, shape or color deck light you want to use, feed the cables along the ground (I use old garden hose pipe buried just below the surface) and that’s about it. You can fit LED deck lights pointing up, down, sideways, any which way you please in fact.

CFLs operate similarly to conventional fluorescent lamps where electricity is used to activate mercury vapor that  resides in the glass tube. The current affects the mercury atoms to make ultraviolet (UV) light which is not visible to the eye. The photons from the ultraviolet light hit a phosphor layer inside the bulb housing to emit photons of visible light thereby creating light output from the tube. The ultraviolet light may cause fading in paintings or textiles. The mercury contained within the lamp means that the light bulbs need to be properly disposed of as compact fluorescent bulbs dumped in landfills burst, causing mercury to be released, draining into the ground, ultimately contaminating the food chain. Some states, such as California, ban the disposal of mercury-containing bulbs in the trash. Some state laws require fluorescent bulbs to be collected as hazardous waste or properly recycled. Check with the EPA site to help you with proper disposal procedures according to your state, or you can find a recycling center near you at Earth911.

Unlike fluorescent tubes that don’t contain circuitry, compact fluorescent usually integrate all of the necessary circuits in the bottom of the light allowing the single unit to be used in a standard incandescent light bulb socket. CFLs come in a variety of styles and shapes, but one will often see them in a tube or spiral option. Higher surface area allows for a higher light output in CFLs.

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