Knowing How Our Outdoor Lights Are Wired In Houston

Tips For Wiring Your Houston Outdoor Lights

Like other types of light, most outdoor lights need electricity to operate. That electricity is usually provided through wires. Having said that, there is no need to panic about your outdoor space getting overrun with wires. Most wiring for outdoor lighting runs underground, meaning that you won’t even see the wires after they are in place. Any above-ground wiring is usually designed to blend with the surrounding area so that it isn’t noticeable at a glance. Read on to get some helpful tips on wiring outdoor lights.

Every lighting situation requires a unique solution when it comes to wiring. For instance, the type of lighting that you choose for a pathway will usually be a lot different than what you choose for a driveway. The section below outlines some of the most popular ways to wire outdoor light fixtures.

Understanding Transformers

If you use transformers to power your outdoor lights, each light fixture is wired to the transformer. The wires themselves can either be above or below the ground. The transformer is then plugged into an outdoor outlet. Below is some more information so you can get a better idea of how these devices operate.

Transformers help your lights work in one of two ways: they either use a photocell or a timer. Transformers that operate on a timer are designed to automatically turn the lights off or on at specific times of the day. Transformers with a photocell, on the other hand, automatically detect the level of light outside, turning the lights on when it gets dark and shutting them off when it gets light. Transformers like these are popular for use in ponds.

Wiring The Lights To A Switch

Nothing is quite as satisfying as turning on a light switch and having your whole outdoor space light up. Wiring your outdoor light fixtures to a switch inside your home is a great option. There are a couple of different methods that you can use to accomplish this. The first is to wire the lights directly to the switch. The second option is to wire the lights to a transformer that is plugged into an outdoor outlet. The switch inside your home provides power to the outlet, which turns on the transformer and activates the lights. With this option, you can either turn on the lights manually or you can wait and allow them to turn on automatically when the sun goes down.

Solar Lighting

Solar lights rely on the sun upon for power. They do best in extremely sunny conditions. One of the greatest things about lights like these is that they don’t require any wiring. Typically, they have LED bulbs, which means that they use very little energy. That makes them a lot more practical than halogen bulbs for solar applications.

The Downsides To Solar Lighting

While solar lighting is easy to install, it does have some drawbacks. For one thing, the lights themselves lack the brightness of lights that are powered by electricity. This usually has to do with where they are placed. Lights that aren’t directly in the sun won’t get as bright as lights that are located in sunny areas.

No matter what type of lighting you opt for, adding outdoor lights can brighten up your home.

Lighting Up Your Exterior Space

When properly installed, outdoor lighting can enhance your home, making it much more beautiful after dark. When incorrectly designed, however, it can look a little bit garish and overdone. The key to lighting the outside of your home is to use a light touch, only placing lights in the most important areas. If you need help designing your outdoor lighting, reach out to Houston Window Coverings today.

If you would like to discover more tips and tricks from Robert Huff Illuminationsvisit our blogCall or contact us today for more information!

Great Suggestions To Plan & Purchase Your Houston Outdoor Lighting

A Complete Guide To Planning & Purchasing Outdoor Lighting For Your Home In Houston

When designing lighting for an outdoor space, it is important to not only think about how it will look but also how it will function. The information below will help you purchase light fixtures that not only enhance the appearance of your home but also help you get more out of your outdoor space.

Three Benefits Of Outdoor Lighting

Outdoor lighting provides a number of advantages. Understanding these advantages will help you come up with an effective plan for your lighting needs. Here are three benefits that this type of lighting provides:

1. Create A More Beautiful Home

Outdoor lighting can have a dramatic impact on how attractive your home is from the street. Small touches like path lights or post lights can go a long way toward making your home seem more inviting. To get the best results, choose more than one area to install the lighting. Creating layers of lighting like this add depth and character to your outdoor space.

2. Add A Sense Of Cohesion To Your Home’s Exterior

Carrying the same style of lighting throughout your entire landscape can help unify the space, creating a consistent look that enhances the appearance of your home.

3. Create A Safer, More Secure Home

When designed correctly, a good outdoor lighting plan will enhance your home’s security and make your outdoor area safer after dark.

Selecting Lighting For Your Outdoor Space

Outdoor lighting comes in a wide range of styles, each suited to different applications. Some of the most popular options are listed below.

Wall-Mounted Lights

Suitable Locations: Decks And Porches, Outdoor Patios, Entrances, Near Garage Doors

These light fixtures are designed with a flat back that allows them to be mounted directly on a wall. They are typically mounted near entryways or in other areas where extra light is required. With many attractive design options available, these sturdy lights are ideal for lighting up the exterior of your home.

Ceiling-Mounted Lights & Pendant Lights

Suitable Locations: Porches Or Patios With Roofs

These outdoor lights are designed to be mounted on a ceiling, making them a great choice for porches or patios with roofs. Even though they can withstand damp conditions, they shouldn’t be mounted in locations where they are exposed to the rain.

Pier Mount Or Post Lights

Suitable Locations: At The End Of Sidewalks Or Driveways, Decks, Patios

As you might guess from their name, a post light is designed to be attached to the top of a post. These lights are typically rated for wet locations, meaning that they can be placed in areas that get direct rain. That means that they can be installed in unprotected areas like at the front of the driveway or near the edge of the sidewalk.

Each light fixture has unique post requirements in terms of both size and style. When shopping, always read the post requirements carefully.

Pier mount lights are similar to post lights. The primary difference is that they are meant to be installed on top of walls or columns rather than posts. In some cases, you can purchase adapters for post lights that allow them to be installed on walls or columns instead of standard posts.

Security Lights

Suitable Locations: Near Sidewalks Or Garages, Close To Entrances, In Out-Of-The-Way Areas Like Alleys

To enhance your home’s security and to create a safer outdoor environment, security lights with built-in motion sensors are the way to go. When activated, these lights flood the entire area with light, helping to drive any potential intruders away.

From a safety standpoint, lights with motion sensors can also be beneficial. For instance, mounting a light that turns on automatically near an entryway makes it easier to see where you are going so you are less likely to trip.

Landscape Lighting

Suitable Locations: Flowerbeds, Gardens, Close To Water Features, Near Trees And Shrubs

Low-voltage landscape lights operate independently from your other outdoor lighting. Path lights, spotlights, and floodlights can be placed in strategic locations around your yard to enhance your landscaping, drawing attention to key focal points in your yard.

Choosing Outdoor Lighting That Is Sized Correctly

Wall-Mounted Lights For Front Porches

The wall light that is installed closest to your front door is usually one of the primary focal points after dark. With so much at stake, it is important to choose a light that is sized correctly. Here are some tips that should help:

  • If you are installing a single light fixture, choose a fixture that measures about a third of the total height of your front door.
  • If you are installing two separate light fixtures on either side of the door, you can choose fixtures that are much smaller. Typically, fixtures that measure about a quarter of the door’s height are appropriate, although you may want to go with slightly bigger light fixtures if you have double doors on the front of your home.
  • One of the biggest mistakes that homeowners make is choosing a light fixture for their entryway that is undersized.
  • If you find a light fixture that you like, try cutting out a piece of paper in the same size and shape. Tape it to the wall next to your door. Then walk out to the front sidewalk or street to see if the size is appropriate.

Ceiling Lights

For overhead lights, the size of the light fixture should be proportional to the size of the space.

Hanging lights should only be used in areas where there is enough overhead clearance.

In spaces where the ceilings are lower, flush-mount ceiling lights are a better option.

Pier Mount or Post Lights

The size of the fixture usually depends on how many light bulbs it uses.

Post-mounted lights typically measure about 7 feet (84 inches) tall.

Avoid Adding Too Much Lighting

When it comes to outdoor lighting, less is more. Low wattage bulbs are usually the best choice for outdoor spaces. Avoid exceptionally bright bulbs since they can be too harsh when used outside the home. Our outdoor light fixtures either come with their own bulbs or include helpful recommendations regarding the best type of bulbs to use.

Overnight & Security Lighting

Evaluate the outside of your home after the sun goes down. Are there any areas that are poorly lit? If so, installing sturdy lights could deter thieves or intruders.

Lights with motion sensors automatically turn on when anything moves near them. This makes them the perfect choice for security lighting. They also are beneficial when mounted near walkways since they make it easier to see where you are going.

Dusk-to-dawn lighting usually comes equipped with photosensors that are designed to detect how light or dark it is outside. This allows the lights to automatically turn themselves on or off, depending on whether it is day or night. The benefit of using lights like these is that you don’t have to think about turning them on or off yourself.

You can also find dusk to dawn lights that incorporate motion sensors in their design. Fixtures with these features come in a wide range of styles for outdoor spaces.

Choosing Lighting That Is Properly Rated For The Location

Light fixtures for outdoor use are typically either rated for damp or wet locations. It is important to understand how these ratings differ.

Wet location light fixtures can be used in areas where they will be exposed directly to rain or other types of inclement weather. Most wall-mounted lights, motion sensor lights, and post lights are wet rated.

Damp location light fixtures, on the other hand, should be used in areas where they are not directly exposed to rain or other types of moisture. Examples of these types of lights include hanging lights or ceiling lights.

If you would like to discover more tips and tricks from Robert Huff Illuminationsvisit our blogCall or contact us today for more information!

Reasons To Hire A Professional Outdoor Lighting Company In Houston

Why Hire A Professional Houston Outdoor Lighting Company

Robert Huff Illumination & Outdoor Lighting is a Houston outdoor lighting company with over 20 years of experience in the exterior lighting industry. We have seen and worked with it all; from the hippest fixtures and trendy installation techniques to the latest in lighting technology. We strive to stay ahead of the rest by ensuring that we are abreast with the current trends in the industry; that’s how we manage to be and remain the best exterior lighting experts in Houston.
Lighting has become an increasingly popular décor option, something that has seen a rise in various companies such as landscapers and pool construction companies include it in their services. Working with such companies may not be such a bad option since you already have them working on something else, but they may not deliver the very best lighting installation. As such, we highly recommend working with experts in exterior lighting and here’s why:

• Design When it comes to architectural landscape lighting systems, the primary objective is the accentuation of the property. The lighting system will inject vibrant architecture with various color and texture options that ensure a well-distributed illumination with no dark spots. An inadequately done system design will result in uneven illumination that leave certain areas of the home with no light. A proficient outdoor lighting designer from Robert Huff Illumination & Outdoor Lighting knows which fixtures work best where to give the perfect lighting presentation.

• Fixtures Outdoor lighting fixtures differ in their form and function. Some may offer dim lighting while others may have a high output; other may work in harsh environments with no issues, and some can even last for years. We are always keen on the products we use to ensure everything is of the highest quality, runs on low voltage and of the best lighting tech such as LED fixtures with everything done based on a design that lasts for years. We recommend LED lighting because it is made of nontoxic materials, generates an array of pleasing colors, and offers an extended bulb life.

• Service And maintenance over the 20 years of working in the exterior lighting industry, we know and appreciate the need for a proactive maintenance of outdoor lighting. It is the only way that ensures the lighting systems look and perform at their peak levels. Normal outdoor activities such as gardening and mowing the lawn will disrupt or damage the lighting system. Therefore, you should hire a Houston outdoor lighting company that understands the need for periodic maintenance as part of their services. That is what we at Robert Huff Illumination & Outdoor Lighting strive to offer all our clients in Houston because we take great pride in the performance of our exterior lighting systems.

Call for more information today.

About Christmas Lighting in Houston & How To Stay Safe

Things You Need To Know About Christmas Lights

Thanksgiving has come and gone and families all over the world are busy getting their homes decorated and putting up electric Christmas lights. Christmas lights are a standard outside and inside most American homes.

When it comes to Christmas lights, there are probably many things you don’t know about them. With Christmas just around the corner, we thought it would be a good idea to share some things about Christmas lights that are not so well known, in addition to some energy-saving tips that can help you save money during this upcoming holiday season and well into the future.

Candles were the first Christmas lights. We previously covered the history of Christmas lights, however, it is still worth going over a few interesting facts that you might not be aware of about the tradition of Christmas lights.

Candles were attached to evergreens and used in windows for Christmas celebrations for hundreds of years. It has been claimed by many that the tradition of using candles to light Christmas tree was sparked by Martin Luther during the 16th century in Germany. This was, of course, a big fire hazard. But that was all that they had to use.

In 1882 the very first electric lights appeared on a Christmas tree. Two years later, Edward H. Johnson, Edison’s partner, became the first individual who used electric string lights for illuminating a Christmas tree. Johnson’s Christmas tree was hand-wired with around 80 blue white and red electric lights, which could easily be seen by people passing by.

In 1895 President Grover Cleveland became the first president to have electric lights on the Christmas tree in the White House. In 1889 Benjamin Harrison became the first president to have a Christmas tree at the White House, but it was Cleveland who was the first president to have multi-colored electric lights used for decorating the Christmas tree. That really helped to introduce this idea to the general public. People were still concerned about electricity being dangerous and the possibility that dangerous fumes would get into the house through wires and lights.

It took some time before electric Christmas lights started to be used by average Americans. The first commercial made Christmas lights were produced as strands that had 8 lights and made by General Electric Company (GE). These lights were called “festoons” by GE. By 1900, it was very common for businesses to have lights strung up around their buildings and in their windows. However, most homeowners couldn’t afford outdoor Christmas lights.

Over the years, as Christmas lights started becoming more affordable, they began to make their ways into residential houses. However, even as late as the 1930s, candles were still commonly used on Christmas trees and in windows.

Electric Christmas lights had pretty much become the standard by 1950. After prices became more affordable, candles were replaced by electric lights by families since they were long lasting and safer.

Once electric string lights had become affordable and safe, families began to use them on pillars, doorways, railings, mantles, and along the peaks and eaves of their houses.

Today, it is estimated that around 150 million sets of lights are sold in the U.S. each year. Smithsonian reports that the lights help to illuminate more than 80 million houses and consume around 6% of the country’s electrical load each December.

Candles still cause fires and electric lights continue to be dangerous. It is estimated by the CPSC that over 15,000-holiday decorating injuries take place during the months of November and December.

It is estimated by the NFPA that an average of 200 house fires is started each year by Christmas trees. Lighting or electrical distribution equipment are involved in about 40% (two out of five) Christmas tree home fires.

Excluding Christmas trees, another 840 home structure fires take place over the holiday season. Candles cause over 1/3 of house structure fires that take place during the holiday season. The top three days when candle fires in homes take place are Christmas, New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day.

You can help to prevent home fires from occurring by inspecting electrical products before they are used, learning basic ladder safety, unplugging Christmas lights before you leave home, and making sure your Christmas tree is kept well-watered. You can recycle your holiday light sets instead of throwing them away. An outdoor lighting Houston professional can provide you with even more lighting tips to keep you and your family safe.

Old Christmas lights can be recycled and you can also look for deals on new LED lights. See if there is a recycling program for Christmas lights at your local home improvement store. Some stores might offer discounts and/or rebates on new Christmas LED lights.

Over the long run, LED lights are cheaper and better. Although the upfront costs of LEDs are higher, they use about 70 to 90% less energy, are more durable, last a lot longer, and less prone to overloading circuits and burning out. Incandescent lights cost about $10 for lighting a Christmas tree over one holiday season. However, LEDs cost only around 25 cents to light a 6-foot Christmas tree for 40 days at 12hours per day. When these savings are multiplied by lighting up your whole house over the holiday season, it becomes a very significant cost savings.

Call or contact Robert Huff Illumination & Outdoor Lighting if you have any questions regarding starting a new outdoor lighting project! Merry Christmas and happy decorating!

Ensure That Your Houston Indoor & Outdoor Lighting Are Up To Safety Standards

Christmas And Holiday Fire And Electrical Safety Tips

To help ensure that you and your family have a very safe as well as Merry Christmas, we want to share some very important safety tips that you need to be aware of for the holidays.

Holiday Fire Statistics

The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) reports that:

  • 38% of house fire deaths and 30% of all house fires occur during December, January, and February.
  • Christmas, New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day are the leading three days for candle fires in the home.
  • Lighting equipment or electrical distribution was involved 40% (two out five) Christmas tree home fires.

In 26% of all Christmas trees as well as 80% deaths, there was some sort of heat source, like electrical equipment or a candle, that was too near to the Christmas tree. Every year from 2011-2015 fire departments responded to around 840 home structure fires that started with holiday decorations, excluding Christmas trees. Whether caused by electrical equipment, an open flame, heating or cooking, during this time of the year fires are more severe and more frequent. In particular, Christmas tree fires are very damaging, causing serious injuries and fatalities per fire increasing fivefold.

In addition to fires occurring in the home, decorating injuries and falls also occur frequently during the holiday season. The Electrical Safety Foundation International (ESFI) reports:

  • An estimated 5,800 people are treated every year in hospital emergency rooms to treat injuries that they sustained from falls that involved holiday decorations.
  • Another 4,000 individuals are taken to emergency rooms to be treated for injuries that involve extension cords.

That is why we recommend that you hire a Houston outdoor lighting professional for outdoor light and Christmas displays, along with learning extension cord, ladder, and lighting safety.

Christmas Electrical And Fire Safety Tips

Before hanging your mistle and check the final names off of your Christmas list, make sure you go over the following electrical safety and holiday fire checklist so that all of your family members, guests, and home are kept safe:

  • Check your extension cords, electrical decorations, lights, switches and outlets for directions on how to use them properly. Never use any frayed or damaged electrical devices or ones showing exposed wiring. Get rid of any damaged or worn electrical equipment. Look for an electrical device recycling program at your local home improvement stores.
  • Whenever you are buying electrical devices, make sure to check to see if the device has been tested by an independent testing laboratory, like Canadian Standards Association (CSA), Intertek (ETL), or Underwriters Laboratory (UL).
  • If you notice any outlets or switches smelling strange or that feel warm when you touch them, call an electrician immediately and don’t use them. Shut the power off at the breaker box to that circuit until an experienced electrician has inspected it.
  • With incandescent lights, don’t every connect over 3 strings together. Make sure to follow the instructions from the manufacturer at all times, and don’t ever connect more strings of lights together than are stated on the package.
  • Don’t attach several extension cords together.

Keep in mind that extension cords are just temporary solutions. So call a licensed electrician if you need to have more outlets.

  • Before you go to sleep or leave home, turn your Christmas tree lights as well as other electrical decorations and blow out all of your candles.
  • Every 30 days, test your ground fault circuit interrupters (GFCIs) and arc fault circuit interrupters (AFCIs). All outdoor outlets need to be equipped with GFCI protection.
  • Make sure you are very careful whenever you are around power lines and learn basic ladder safety. Before climbing, always look up first, and stay 10 feet away at least from power lines. If you have trees around power lines that need to be trimmed, contact your local utility company (upon rest they should be able to come out and trim your tree).
  • Avoid overloading your circuits. Make sure your Christmas lights are not tripping the breaker. Make sure you know how to replace blown fuses and reset your breaker safely. If the fuse keeps blowing or the breaker keeps tripping, call a licensed electrician immediately.
  • Keep all decorations and items that could potentially burn 3 feet away at least from all heating sources and open flames, like cooking equipment, fireplaces, and space heaters.
  • If you have a real Christmas tree, make sure to check the level of water every day and water the tree as needed.
  • Never use electricity close to water.
  • Don’t sleep with electronic equipment such as cell phones underneath your pillow. Don’t ever leave space heaters, candles or fireplaces on when one is there.
  • Never run wires or cords underneath furniture, rugs, carpets, or through doors and windows. Don’t nail or staple cords, lights or any other types of electrical equipment.
  • Every 30 days, test your carbon monoxide (CO) and smoke detectors. Install CO and smoke detectors on each level of your house and outside of every sleeping area. Replace the batteries if your alarm starts to make chirping sounds.

Some carbon monoxide is produced by all fuel-burning processes. In large amounts, it can even be fatal. Never grill indoors! It is estimated by the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) that around emergency room-treated injuries due and 20 deaths due to carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning result from using a charcoal grill.

Don’t ever attempt to do electrical work yourself. An experienced and licensed electrician should always be hired to do electrical work.

For more information, contact us or call Robert Huff Illumination & Outdoor Lighting today!