Time to Light Outside
Saturday, 1 September 2018 | Graham
Time to check or replace your outside lights
Summer is just about over and Autumn is on its way and with it, the darker nights will soon be upon us. By winter nights can begin at around 4 in the afternoon means shutting the curtains, closing the blinds and keeping the outside world at bay. Safety and security maybe your need but Increasingly, people are wanting to utilise their outside spaces and make them part of their home, as well as to be able to clearly see the pathways and make the outside secure.
Whatever your reason there are a few things to consider while planning what lights you will use.
Firstly lights being used outside need to conform with safety regulations both in the light fitting being used and the way it is installed. Lights being used for outside need to be suitable for the task, it is also wise to use a qualified electrician to install the fittings once you have chosen them.
So what fittings can you use?
Light fittings are often given an IP rating, so you can easily select if that light is suitable for use in a given area and use. Simply lights for outdoor use should be rated at IP44 (or IPX4) or better. What does that mean, here is a brief explanation to help you.
Light fittings and other electrical goods can be given an IP number short for Ingress Protection, then 2 figures, the first digit for mechanical protection (what can get inside) the second number for the level of water protection.
So a very common IP20 may be used for many indoor household lights, 2 means nothing over 12mm can enter, ie fingers, and 0 - it has no water protection. Whereas IP44 again the rating for many outdoor lights, 4 means nothing over 1mm can enter, so no wire can be poked in, and the second 4 refers to protection from splashes. This makes IP44 a good rating for outdoor lights as well as some areas in the bathroom. So the higher the second number the better the water protection, generally they go hand in hand. IP56, IP66 etc.
Lights that are IP44 rated will be ideal for your outside space.
"Great lighting works in the day and at night"
Depending on what you want, the type of light you choose is key to using illumination in very effective ways. Traditional electric lights are usually incandescent in nature. This means that they use electricity to generate heat across its wire filament. As the filament is heated to very high temperatures, it begins to glow creating light. These are the bulbs we all grew up with, however things are changing, Incandescent light spreads light in all directions, which makes them great as an all-round light source, but is expensive to run and not very ecco friendly! Higher wattage bulbs are no longer made and as stocks disappear alternatives must be used.
Halogen lamps are effectively incandescent lights, but with the addition of a halogen, a reactive non-metallic element, such as iodine or bromine. By combining the halogen gas and the filament, it produces a halogen chemical reaction cycle, which redeposits any evaporated tungsten back into the filament, prolonging its life, these often use slightly less power than an incandescent bulb, these too are now being stopped.
As technology moves on, LED's are now becoming the most popular types of light, due to their long-life, energy efficiency and relatively cheap cost over the course of their life. LED stands for Light Emitting Diode. LED's are, effectively, tiny little light bulbs but without the filament, and work through the movement of electrons in a semi-conductor material. The lack of a filament is why they last much longer than traditional bulbs. The light they emit is often more directional, but new filament type LED bulbs can still give allround light when required.
If you have a traditional or cottage style property, then you may not want a modern LED style fitting, however our outdoor wall lights can be supplied with LED filament or opal bulbs.
A 5 watt LED will give you around 40 watt equivalent light, which is more than sufficient for lighting drives and walkways and save you money in the long run. After all you are not trying to light the whole neighbourhood...
Whichever style of light you choose, how you deploy the light will be key to its success. Think bigger, mix and match styles to suit. Creating a beautiful space outside can always be enhanced by choosing the right lighting. It can also act as a deterrent to intruders. No-one up to no-good is going to want to spend time in well-lit areas.
We have some incredible designs that look just as fantastic when they’re turned off and even more beautiful when illuminated, with prices starting at under £40 you have no reason not to light up your outside spaces.
Also see PIR, Security & Corner Lights.