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Feb 6, 2015

Lighting Tips

How to Install Outdoor Low Voltage LED Step Lights

Installing low voltage LED step lights is the most cost-efficient way to illuminate the steps outside of your home. Low voltage exterior lighting ensures safety by providing just enough lighting at night to help you see the steps. Low voltage LED step lights are not designed to light up your home or the space in your yard with very bright light. Their soft glow also delivers a relaxing ambience as you traverse the stairs leading to the deck or your garden. Aside from these features, low voltage stair lights are also relatively easy to install.

If you are planning to install low voltage LED step lights by yourself, there are a few things that you will need to decide on. First, consider how you want to attach the light fixtures to the steps. If you want to set them up in a single track, there are specific bases that you can purchase. Do take note though that, for step lighting, it is generally better to set up low voltage step lights in individual light mounts along the steps for greater visibility. Doing this results to an even base of lighting across the whole step area. For this particular how-to article, we will be enumerating the steps in installing low voltage LED stair riser lights which you can purchase preassembled in a number of designs or you can build your own.

Installing Outdoor LED Step Lights: Step-by-Step Guide

Step 1: Determine the positions of your step lights

Plot the locations of your step lights. Make sure that the stair stringers will not interfere with the step lights. Cut or drill an opening on the riser board where you will be placing the recessed step lights. Step lights come in a variety of sizes and shapes, so make sure that you follow the manufacturer’s instructions for cutting the correct size opening. Next, put the transformer next to the electrical outlet.

Step 2: Run the wire

Starting with the one that is farthest from the transformer, run the low voltage wire from light to light. Leave a 6-inch loop of wire at each step light location.

Step 3: Strip the wire

At each light, cut the wires then separate these into 2 to 3-inch strands. With a wire stripper, remove about half an inch of sheathing from each wire as well as the wires from the light fixture.

Step 5: Match the polarity of the wires

There will be one smooth black wire and another wire may be ribbed with white lettering. Hold the wire ends together then twist waterproof wire nuts to create a tight connection. With electrical tape, wrap the connection.

Step 6: Mount the transformer

For this step, make sure you read the instructions for your transformer. Turn off the on/off switch. Attach the transformer to your desired location with the use of mounting brackets.  Run the wires into place then connect. Ensure that the photo eye sensor is exposed to sunlight.

Step 7: Test the light

Plug the transformer into the outlet. Turn it on and test the lighting and set the timer as necessary. Unplug the transformer. Carefully attach the top cap over to hide the low voltage wire, making sure that you do not to screw into the wire.