Wednesday, 9 May 2012

Types of Pathway Lighting and Fixtures Installation

Of course the beauty is in the beholder however, there are some strategies to divulge when it comes to designing a lay out to properly light a path without creating a runway type effect or locating fixtures in an area that may actually be problematic. Depending on the quality of product used is the first consideration.

Some fixtures obviously cost more or less but what types of things are important to note.

First – What material is the path light made from?

This is very important especially within different climate zones in this Country.

Pathway Lighting
We have found that copper will continue to outperform aluminum in most areas long term. There’s a little bit more of an upfront investment but  you will for sure appreciate the raw material that won’t have paint chipping or pealing. Will patina  nicely and blend in with the environment. Copper has the strength and integrity to remain even after     continual exposure to weed eaters. Non corrosive and won’t break down in salt water locations.

Second – Beam Spread?
What about the radius of light a fixture can produce? Some fixtures only put out a small area of light requiring multiple fixtures to consistently light a path and achieve the desired effect increasing the investment.
Is the fixture adjustable meaning a home owner can adjust the height of a top to ever so slightly to tweak the intensity?

Are their variations in height to produce larger areas of coverage and depending on the slope or grade of a yard? Many times stakes are different lengths in order to achieve a constant in height on the project. It doesn’t look right to have some fixtures too low to the path and others higher due to ground levels.

How about interchangeable heads for aesthetics making sure the style compliments and isn’t only available in one fashion. Tops of varying sizes that fit onto the same stake can provide options yet still maintaining beam spreads.

Third – Is the path light an open fixture?
Meaning the bulb is in a socket but is the cavity for the socket open or unprotected?

If you have path lights near an irrigation head then the spray will impact performance. Not to mention insects. Path lights can be a location that is attractive for all kinds of critters that like warmth and sometimes can attract these critters right to the walkway.

Having an enclosed path light protects from spray or splash. The socket lasts much longer. Insects don’t have access keeping the fixture clear and producing usable light.

However, be aware that if a top is enclosed using glass then breakage could happen to the glass if it were hit by a landscaper or something else. Green Outdoor Lighting landscapes made with a poly carbonate tube protecting the bulb, remains clear, and is stronger than glass.

Fourth – Can’t be overlooked. THE SOCKET.
Connection, connection, connection. Many installers are concerned about what connections are utilized at the base of a fixture. There are many options available to decide which works best. There have been lots of discussions and debates. Our connection has performed very well for us nationally and is a quick and easy thing to replace if it fails. In addition, the cost is negligible and being and in-line connection does not build up resistance on the line. Of course some just opt out of our connections and use their own set up. Now that this has been stated as an important feature to consider I don’t think it comes close to the actual connection to the bulb itself.

What types of sockets are best?
We make sure to pay attention to this connection. We have sourced stainless steel by pin sockets that have bulbs easily accessible and very easy to change. Our fixtures come with a GY6.35 which has a thicker pin set up providing more surface area in the socket. The rating of wattage is another consideration. Make sure to replace with likewise bulbs to avoid connection or damage from a bulb that is beyond the fixture’s ratings.

Lastly – UL Listed
They should be tested and approved. American made doesn’t hurt. Five year MFG warranty.

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