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Diamond certified companies are top rated and guaranteed

Why Trust Diamond Certified Low Voltage Halogen Companies Rated Highest in Quality?

You are the customer. If your goal is to choose a low voltage halogen lighting company that will deliver high customer satisfaction and quality, you’ll feel confident in choosing a Diamond Certified halogen low voltage lighting installer. Each has been rated Highest in Quality in the most accurate ratings process anywhere. And you’re always backed by the Diamond Certified Performance Guarantee. Here’s why the Diamond Certified ratings and certification process will help you find a top-rated low voltage halogen lighting contractor and is unparalleled in its accuracy, rigor and usefulness:

1) Accuracy: All research is performed by live telephone interviews that verify only real customers are surveyed, so you’ll never be fooled by fake reviews.

2) Statistical Reliability: A large random sample of past customers is surveyed on an ongoing basis so the research results you see truly reflect a Diamond Certified company’s top-rated status.

3) Full Disclosure: By clicking the name of a company above you’ll see the exact rating results in charts and read verbatim survey responses as well as researched articles on each qualified company.

4) Guaranteed: Your purchase is backed up with mediation and the Diamond Certified Performance Guarantee, so you can choose with confidence.

Click on the name of a Diamond Certified company above to read ratings results, researched articles and verbatim customer survey responses to help you make an informed decision.

More than 200,000 customers of local companies have been interviewed in live telephone calls, and only companies that score Highest in Quality in customer satisfaction–a 90+ on a 100 scale–as well as pass all of the credential-based ratings earn Diamond Certified. By requiring such a high score to qualify, the Diamond Certified program eliminates mediocre and poorly performing companies. Read detailed information about the ratings and certification process.

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INDUSTRY INFORMATION AND RESEARCHED ARTICLES BY THE DIAMOND CERTIFIED RESOURCE

WAC Lighting Halogen Low Voltage
Lite Line Illuminations Low Voltage Halogen Fixtures
Holtkotter Low-Voltage Halogen Lights
Unique Lighting Systems
Lutron Dimmers & Lighting Controls
Bellacor Low Voltage Halogen Lights
YLighting Halogen
SoLux Halogen Lights
Bruck Lighting Halogen
GE Lighting
Halo Recessed & Track Lighting
Lithonia Lighting
Juno Lighting Group
Malibu Low Voltage Lighting
Monorail Low Voltage Lighting

low voltage home lighting
low voltage patio lights
low voltage recessed lighting
halogen light bulbs
low voltage halogen track lighting
low voltage deck lighting
halogen ceiling lights
halogen light fixtures
halogen outdoor lighting
low voltage landscape lighting
halogen flood lights
halogen home lighting fixtures
low voltage outdoor lighting
halogen pendant lights
halogen spot lights

Barbary Coast
Bayview District
Bernal Heights
the Castro
Cole Valley
Cow Hollow
Diamond Heights
Duboce Triangle
Eureka Valley
Excelsior
Financial District
Fisherman’s Wharf
Fort Mason
Glen Park
Golden Gate Park
the Haight
Haight-Ashbury
Hayes Valley
Hunters Point
Inner Richmond
Inner Sunset
Jackson Square
Japantown
Laurel Heights
Marina District
Mission District
Nob Hill
Noe Valley
North Beach
Outer Richmond
Outer Sunset
Pacific Heights
Potrero Flats
Potrero Hill
Presidio
Rincon Hill
Russian Hill
San Francisco
Sea Cliff
South of Market Street (SOMA)
Sunset District
Telegraph Hill
the Tenderloin
the Presidio
Treasure Island
Twin Peaks
Union Square
West Portal
Western Addition

94101
94102
94103
94104
94105
94107
94108
94109
94110
94111
94112
94114
94115
94116
94117
94118
94119
94120
94121
94122
94123
94124
94125
94126
94127
94129
94130
94131
94132
94133
94134
94140
94141
94142
94146
94147
94157
94158
94159
94164
94165
94166
94167
94168
94169
94170
94172
94188

American Lighting Association (ALA) (www.americanlightingassoc.com/)
California Energy Commission (www.energy.ca.gov/)
Contractors State License Board (CSLB) (www.cslb.ca.gov/)
International Association of Lighting Designers (IALD) (www.iald.org)
International Association of Lighting Management Companies (NALMCO) (www.nalmco.org/)
National Council on Qualifications for the Lighting Professions (NCQLP) (www.ncqlp.org/)

National Electrical Contractors Association (NECA) www.necanet.org/)
National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA) (www.nema.org/)
National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) (www.nist.gov/index.html)
National Lighting Board (NLB) (www.nlb.org/)
Professional Lighting and Sound Association (PLASA) (www.plasa.org/)
U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) (www.doe.gov/)
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) (www.epa.gov/)

Know What You Want
Talking with a San Francisco Low Voltage Halogen Lighting Company Before You Hire

When you think about low voltage halogen lighting for your house in San Francisco, whether in the Sunset District, the Richmond District, the Mission District, the Tenderloin, Bernal Heights, Nob Hill, North Beach, Pacific Heights, or the Excelsior, get a good idea of what you want. Do you have a lighting design that you would like to implement? Or are you looking for someone to help you create that design? Think about what's driving you to look into low voltage halogen lighting and what you hope to achieve by implementing it. If you can nail down for yourself what you are looking for and what you want, you will be able to better express it to your low voltage lighting company representative. You might want to consider asking yourself some questions like the following.

  • Do I want a Diamond Certified low voltage lighting company that is rated best in quality and backed by the Diamond Certified Guarantee?
  • If I want to focus indoors, is there a specific room that I want to focus on? Multiple rooms? The entire house?
  • Do I have known lighting problems that I want to remedy, such as rooms where the light does not reach all the way up the wall?
  • Do I have a general sense of what kind of lighting I need – general, task, accent, all types?
  • If I need better lighting in the kitchen, what is the current problem? Do I need lighting for a counter space? Are there shadows or dark spots currently?
  • Do I want to generally reduce the amount of energy I use and have safer voltage levels in my home and yard?
  • Do I want to work on lighting inside or outside?
  • If I want to bring attention to the art in my house, do I know which pieces I want to highlight? Where they are in the house? Do I plan to move any of them?
  • If I want to focus on outdoor lighting, what do I want to light? A pathway, patio, deck, or a specific plant or tree?
  • Do I want to be able to change the focus of lighting in my yard as seasons change and plants are more or less flourishing?
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What To Ask In Person
Asking a San Francisco Low Voltage Halogen Lighting Company Questions in Person

You might or might not meet with the San Francisco low voltage halogen lighting company's representative. This meeting is especially possible if you are getting help with a lighting design for your home in the Tenderloin, the Sunset District, the Richmond District, Bernal Heights, the Mission District, Nob Hill, Pacific Heights, or the Excelsior. On the other hand, you may know exactly what you want and just order materials from your low voltage halogen lighting company, online or in person. Or your contractor may act as the intermediary with the low voltage halogen lighting company. Any way that suits you is fine. If you do have occasion to meet with your low voltage halogen lighting company, it might help you to draw up a list of questions that reflect your particular needs. If you have the questions prepared, you can easily ask them of your lighting company, your contractor, or anyone else who is helping you with your lighting project. Some of the questions might be similar to the following.

  1. Can you recommend lamps for lighting my cabinet interiors?
  2. I want to put some lights on my deck so that I can enjoy the outdoors more. What lights and what placement would you recommend?
  3. I want to make people notice this painting. What would you recommend to help accent it without being too obtrusive?
  4. Looking at this room, how would you place new lights so that the entire space is lit up and the ceiling is not lost in shadow?
  5. Can you draw up a lighting design for this particular room? For my entire house?
  6. Will your final design for a particular room in my house meet with the criteria for California's Title 24?
  7. Looking at my kitchen, how many cans would you recommend be placed in the ceiling?
  8. I want to highlight one plant during the summer and a different part of my yard during the winter – can you recommend how to achieve that?
  9. Looking at this path through my garden, what kinds of light fixtures would you recommend for lighting it at night?
  10. How familiar are you with working on this particular kind of project – i.e. kitchen, landscaping, accent lighting?
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  • What To Ask References
    Questions for References of Low Voltage and Halogen Lighting Companies in SF

    It's best to choose a Diamond Certified low voltage halogen lighting company because all certified companies have passed an in-depth ratings process that most other companies can't pass. If you want quality from a low voltage halogen lighting company in San Francisco and the greater Bay Area, you can have confidence choosing a Diamond Certified company. Diamond Certified reports are available online for all certified companies. And you'll never be fooled by fake reviews. That's because all research is performed in live telephone interviews of actual customers.

    If you can't find a Diamond Certified low voltage halogen lighting company within reach, you'll have to do some research on your own. If you do, it's wise to call some references provided by your Low Voltage Halogen Lighting. Keep in mind, though, that references provided to you by the low voltage halogen lighting company are not equal in value to the large random sample of customers surveyed during the Diamond Certified ratings process. That's because references given to customers from companies are cherry-picked instead of randomly selected from all their customers. So the contractors will likely give you a few customers to call that they know are satisfied.

    If you do call references on your own, specifically ask for a list of the company's 10 most recent customers. This will help avoid them giving you the names of only customers they know were satisfied.

    1. Did you do any work outdoors with low voltage halogen lighting on your own? Was the lighting company helpful?
    2. Did your San Francisco low voltage halogen lighting company seem familiar with the requirements of California Title 24? Did they make sure the lighting complied with the energy efficiency standards?
    3. Based on the services or products that your San Francisco low voltage halogen lighting company supplied, were you satisfied? Why or why not?
    4. Did the San Francisco low voltage halogen lighting company help you understand the benefits of low voltage halogen lighting, over options like line voltage products, fluorescents, and LEDs?
    5. Did you do any accent lighting? Do you find it creates the impression you wanted?
    6. Was the installation executed well and was your property left in good shape after the project was completed?
    7. If the San Francisco low voltage halogen lighting company offered help with designing your lighting, did the design meet your needs? Does the finished product provide light that doesn't strain your eyes or create shadows?
    8. What did your low voltage halogen lighting company provide? Did you buy materials, or did you also get help with lighting design and/or with installation?
    9. Did the San Francisco low voltage halogen lighting company offer help if you wanted to install the outdoor lighting yourself?
    10. If you installed low voltage halogen lighting outside, did you have any problems with voltage drop?
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  • Review Your Options
    Find and Hire a Good Low Voltage Halogen Lighting Company in San Francisco

    The Diamond Certified symbol has been awarded to companies that scored Highest in Quality in an accurate ratings process.

    It's wise to consider the following questions before deciding on the best low voltage halogen lighting company in San Francisco for you:

    1. Where do I want to install low voltage halogen lighting?
    2. Do I know where I want my lights installed and how many, or do I need a low voltage halogen lighting company that can give me some help in designing where to put the light fixtures?
    3. Does the low voltage halogen lighting company train their employees and have the proper state licenses?
    4. Do I want low voltage halogen lighting indoors or outdoors or both?
    5. If I am installing low voltage halogen lighting outdoors, can the company demonstrate a flexible solution?
    6. Do I have specific tasks that I know I need better lighting for?
    7. Does the low voltage halogen lighting company demonstrate awareness of California's energy regulations and a commitment to reduce the amount of energy used?
    8. Does the low voltage halogen lighting company have expertise in the specific area in which I need lighting?
    9. Are there special effects I want to achieve with my low voltage halogen lighting, such as highlighting a particular object?
    10. Does the low voltage halogen lighting company show a commitment to proper installation and a respect for the owner's property, if they are installing?
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  • How To Work With
    Prior to Hiring the San Francisco Low Voltage Halogen Lighting Company

    You must decide what you want to ask your San Francisco low voltage halogen lighting company to provide. Are you looking for products or services or both? If you are only buying products, then look for a firm with a history of doing business in San Francisco and that has the products you want.

    If you decide to hire a San Francisco low voltage halogen lighting company for installation or other services, treat the deal as you would when you hire any contractor. Generally, the services from a lighting company would include lighting design and installation of the lighting fixtures. If you are getting design help, make sure you understand how much you have to pay, if anything, for the design. Do you get a copy of the design if you eventually decide not to use the same low voltage lighting company? Or do you only get the design if you continue to work the same company?

    If the San Francisco low voltage lighting company is doing the installation, make sure you get written estimates from competing firms. Look for detailed estimates that provide information about products, labor costs, and completion dates. Do not begin a construction project without a written contract.

    For projects in California, the people installing your low voltage halogen lighting systems need licenses. There are several kinds of licenses that may be applicable. An electrician could install electricity-related good. There is a C-7 license specifically for installing low voltage landscaping lighting. A person with a landscaping license may also be able to install low voltage landscaping lighting, since the Contractors State License Board allows those with a license covering a broader range to sometimes perform tasks that are covered under a more narrow license, as long as the tasks are part of the bigger project. That means, a landscaper can sometimes build a wall or install low voltage lighting as part of the landscaping, even if the landscaper doesn't have a specific masonry or low voltage installation license. The most critical thing is to look for a licensed professional.

    Make the Task go More Smoothly for Your San Francisco Low Voltage Halogen Lighting Company
    You'll decide how big or small a role you'll play in your low voltage halogen lighting installation in San Francisco depending on your interests and abilities. But no matter how involved you choose to be, whether you project is in the Tenderloin, the Sunset District, the Richmond District, Bernal Heights, the Mission District, Nob Hill, Pacific Heights, or the Excelsior, a little organization from you can help. It's a good idea to know the plans for installing the light fixtures. If there were previous problems, you should have a grasp of them. That way, you can offer useful responses if questions come up. The more quickly and completely you can respond to any questions, the better the design and installation can go, so make it easy for your San Francisco lighting company to get in touch with you. Always respond as promptly as you can.

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  • Be a Good Customer
    How Can You Be a Good Low Voltage Halogen Lighting Company Customer?

    It's the low voltage halogen lighting company's responsibility to put in quality low voltage halogen lighting using the best possible installation techniques. But you play a big part in the success of your low voltage halogen lighting company, too. Here are a few simple steps you can take to be a good customer when hiring a San Francisco low voltage halogen lighting company.

    • Be clear and upfront with the low voltage halogen lighting company. Let them know what you want from your low voltage halogen lighting, the long-term outcome you're expecting and specific ways they can satisfy your expectations.
    • Remember, a friendly smile goes a long way!
    • Before you hire a low voltage halogen lighting company in San Francisco, restate your expectations and goals, and reiterate to the low voltage halogen lighting company representative your understanding of the agreement. Most problems with local low voltage halogen lighting companies occur because of a breakdown in communication. By being clear about your expectations and theirs, you can avoid most conflicts.
    • Ask your low voltage halogen lighting company if you should call to check on the progress or if he will call you with updates.
    • Be sure your service representative has a phone number where they can reach you at all times while they're installing the lighting. The work will move along more smoothly if your low voltage halogen lighting company can reach you for any necessary updates, questions or work authorizations.
    • When your contractor contacts you, return calls promptly to keep the low voltage halogen lighting company on schedule.
    • Pay for the low voltage halogen lighting company's work promptly.

    Why would you want to be a good customer? Low voltage halogen lighting companies in San Francisco appreciate customers who are straightforward, honest and easy to work with. Your good customer behavior sets the tone from your end and creates an environment conducive to a good relationship. Things may very well go smoother and any problems may be more easily resolved.

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Check The Work
Checking the San Francisco Low Voltage Lighting Company's Work Against the Invoice

You must have a written invoice or contract from your San Francisco low voltage halogen lighting company, depending on whether you are buying products or services or both. If you are only buying products, such as the actual light fixtures, check to make sure that what you ordered is what you received. If you bought services as well, check that the services were performed as outlined in the contract. Make sure the products that your ordered were installed, that they were installed in the proper location, and that they work to your satisfaction.

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Written Warranties
Asking the San Francisco Low Voltage Halogen Lighting Company for Warranties

You'll need two different kinds of warranties from your San Francisco low voltage halogen lighting company. All the halogen lighting and low voltage light products should come with warranties from their manufacturers.

If you had work performed, most contractors provide a guarantee of about a year on their workmanship. California state laws also give you some protection on contractor's work over a longer period, depending on the situation. For example, if you are hurt as a result of poor workmanship, you can ask for redress virtually at any time.

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Top 10 Requests
Top Service Requests for Low Voltage and Halogen Lighting Contractors in San Francisco

Low voltage halogen lighting brings light to homes and yards all over San Francisco. Because it offers flexibility, lower energy consumption, and reasonable start-up costs, consumers embrace it. There may be other lighting options coming along, but currently, low voltage halogen lighting is one of the best options for reducing your energy bills over the life of the lighting fixtures, reducing the cost of replacing lamps, and increasing safety by reducing the voltage used in the lamps.

Accent Lighting
Low voltage halogen lighting is especially good for accent lighting because many of the lamps are able to direct a tight beam of light at a specific space.

Light Quality
The quality of light is known to have an effect on humans. Low voltage halogen lighting provides light with a good color temperature, meaning that it appears warm and inviting. Halogen also has a good color rendering index, meaning that it provides true colors.

Task Lighting
Given their ability to produce light effectively, to direct that light where desired, and to provide good quality light, low voltage halogen lighting is very effective for task lighting.

Landscape Lighting
When you want to light up your landscaping, low voltage halogen lighting is a good choice because it is relatively easy to install, is flexible enough to allow you to change the position of lighting fixtures, and the voltage of the electricity used is low enough to work well in the outdoor environment with rain, snow, and other wet weather.

Reduced Energy Costs
People choose low voltage halogen lighting because over time, the amount of energy used is less. In turn, this reduces the cost of lighting the building or landscaping.

Cabinet Lighting
Low voltage halogen lamps can easily be placed in cabinets so that the entire cabinet or specific pieces in the cabinet are well lit.

Flexibility
Whether it is an indoor track lighting system or an outdoor landscaping lighting system, many low voltage halogen lighting systems are flexible, allowing you to move light fixtures or to add or remove light fixtures relatively easily.

Path Lighting
For paths – either around residential structure or commercial buildings – low voltage halogen lighting allows the owner to make the path safer while reducing the amount of energy used.

General Lighting
Low voltage halogen lamps provide enough light to serve as the main source of lighting in a room.

Improved Lifespan
Low voltage halogen lamps last longer than standard incandescent bulbs. This reduces the amount of money spent on replacing lamps.

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Glossary Of Terms
Glossary of Low Voltage & Halogen Lighting Terms

By familiarizing yourself with some of the terms used in the lighting industry, you'll find it much easier to understand the recommendations that you receive. You'll also find it easier to express your own wishes to your lighting consultant.

accent lighting
Refers to lighting that is used to draw attention to a specific item, perhaps art or a plant. In general, effective accent lighting is four-five times more than the ambient light.

a-line lamp
An a-line lamp is the term for an incandescent light bulb.

alternating current
Alternating current is the way most houses and buildings get their electricity; the alternative is direct current. An alternating current is a circuit that changes direction every second. In the United States, alternating current typically cycles through direction changes at a rate of 60 cycles per second.

Also known as: AC

ambient lighting
Refers to the basic lighting that radiates through a room or other space.

area lighting
In landscape lighting, refers to illuminating large areas of the landscape, often with floodlights.

baffle
A baffle is a surface that helps prevent reflected glare from light and helps guide the path of the light. It is often a grooved surface. Recessed lights that focus downward often have an integrated baffle.

ballast
Refers to a device that is used to start a fluorescent or high density discharge (HID) light bulb but which also limits the current used during standard operation.

barn doors
Refers to plates attached to the sides of a light. The plates are opaque and direct the light to a specific area.

base
The part of a light bulb that allows it to electrically and physically connect to the socket.

bayonet base
Refers to the base of a light bulb that has pins that plug into the socket, instead of a base that screws in.

beam spread
Refers to how broadly or narrowly light diffuses. For example, the beam spread may be a narrow spotlight or a wide floodlight. The beam spread is produced from a light bulb with a reflective coating that directs light forward.

bulb
A bulb is one term used to describe what the lighting industry calls the lamp, aka a light bulb. In lighting industry terms, the bulb is only the glass envelope of the lamp.

cable lighting system
In low voltage lighting, a device in which cables both supply the electricity to the light fixtures and secure the light fixtures in place.

candela
A unit of measurement that indicates a light's luminous intensity.

Also known as: cd

cathode
An electron-emitting electrode. Fluorescent lamps (light bulbs) include cathodes at either end.

cave effect
A generally unwanted condition when the lighting fixtures do not supply light to the upper walls in a room.

CCFL
A cold cathode fluorescent lamp. A fluorescent lamp in which the cathode does not get independently heated.

colored glass filter
A filter that is used primarily for decorative purposes – they will not control the light bands. For colored glass filters, the color is actually incorporated into the glass as it is being made and is not applied later as a surface coating.

color rendering index
Refers to how well a lamp (light bulb) can produce accurate colors. The sun has a CRI of 100, while low pressure sodium has a CRI of 1. Lamps with a CRI of 85 are thought to be very good.

Also known as: CRI

color temperature
Refers to whether a light appears warm or cool. Warm light has reddish tons, while cool light has bluish tones.

compact fluorescent lamp
Broad term used to cover a range of fluorescent lamps that have one base and spiral, folded, or bridged glass tubes. They have a high CRI and a long lifespan.

Also known as: CFL

dimmer
A device that is used to increase or decrease the brightness of lamps in lighting fixtures. Dimming incandescent, halogen, and xenon lights can decrease energy used and improve the life of the lamp.

direct current
Refers to electricity that flows without changes in direction (alternations). Typically created by a transformer, battery, or by photovoltaic cells.

downlight
Refers to a light fixture that is placed into a recess in the ceiling and that spends light downward.

Also known as: recessed downlight, can, recessed can

efficacy
Measures how much light is put out in comparison to how much energy is used. It is measures as lumens per watt.

filament
The wire made of tungsten that illuminates when in contact with an electric current.

MR16 lamp
A kind of halogen lamp (light bulb). It has a mirrored reflector that helps send out a sharp beam of light in the desired direction. It is 16/8, or two inches, in diameter.

PAR lamp
A parabolic aluminized reflector. The light that the reflector directs out is parabola-shaped. Both the internal reflector and prisms in the lens are responsible for guiding the light.

transformer
A device that converts the normal line voltage running into a house or commercial building into a voltage suitable for low voltage systems.

voltage drop
Refers to a loss of power, or voltage because there is resistance from the wires and light fixtures on the circuit. To prevent voltage drop, you can use a DC transformer, make the distance between the transformer and the light fixtures shorter, or use a thicker wire.

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Frequently Asked Questions
FAQ for Low Voltage Lighting Installers and Halogen Lighting Experts

Q: Why choose a Diamond Certified Low Voltage Halogen Lighting Company?
A: Diamond Certified helps you choose a low voltage halogen lighting company with confidence by offering a list of top-rated local companies who have passed the country's most in-depth rating process. Only low voltage halogen lighting companies rated Highest in Quality earn the prestigious Diamond Certified award. Most companies can't pass the ratings. American Ratings Corporation also monitors every Diamond Certified company with ongoing research and ratings. And your purchase is backed by the Diamond Certified Performance Guarantee. So you'll feel confident choosing a Diamond Certified low voltage halogen lighting company.

Q: Do I need a licensed contractor to install low voltage halogen systems?
A: California has a specific licensing classification for low voltage lighting systems. The C-7 license specifically allows the holder to install low voltage systems in landscapes, as well as other low voltage and communications devices. A licensed electrician should be able to install low voltage systems in the house.

Q: Why are low voltage halogen systems so attractive for outdoor use?
A: There are a couple of advantages to using low voltage halogen systems for highlighting your house and landscaping. First, the lighting fixtures are pretty easy to install, and they can be moved around when plants grow or if you decide you would like a different effect. The low voltage cable used to supply power to the fixtures can be installed in a shallow trench, in a conduit, or even buried. Typically, if the low voltage cable is accidentally cut, there is little damage. This is in contrast to a line carrying the full electrical charge which generally requires deeper burying – at around 18 inches – and can be dangerous when damaged. Low voltage systems can tolerate damp, while a full voltage system must be absolutely waterproof to prevent shocks.

Q: What does low voltage mean, anyway?
A: When referring to lighting, low voltage typically refers to systems that operate on an electrical supply of 12 volts. When electricity comes into residential buildings, it typically comes in at 120 volts, in the United States. With the use of a device called a transformer, the electric current is reduced from 120 volts to 12 volts.

Q: Do I always need a transformer for low voltage halogen lighting?
A: Yes, but you don't always have to buy it separately. For some low voltage halogen installations, particularly when you are landscaping, you will need to buy a transformer. This transformer will reduce the electricity from the 120 volts at which electricity enters residential premises to the 12 volts, which most low voltage halogen systems use. When planning your landscaping lighting, you need to be mindful of how many lights you want to install and make sure that you get a transformer that will support the total watt load of all the lights you want to install.

When you use low voltage halogen indoors, it is often in "cans" or light fixtures that can be recessed into the ceiling, placed on tracks or cables, or installed as in-cabinet lighting. The indoor lighting fixtures often have the transformer incorporated as part of the fixture.

Q: What is voltage drop and how can it impact me?
A: When you are installing low voltage halogen lighting systems, for example in your landscaping, you may notice that some lights are less bright than others. This is a sign that the voltage has dropped – in effect, less voltage, or power, is getting through to the dimmer lights. If you do not mind the dimmer lights, you don't have to do anything. In fact, those lamps (aka light bulbs) that are running dimmer will tend to last longer because they have less voltage running through them.

If you want uniform brightness, you need to make the distance between the transformer and the light fixture less. Or you can use a heavier cable wire, or reduce the number of fixtures or reduce the number of watts used on each fixture. You can also add a transformer or use a more powerful transformer.

Q: Are LED lights better than low voltage halogen lights?
A: There is not currently a clear answer to this question. LED lights – based on light emitting diode technology – promise to consume less energy that low voltage halogen lights and to last for a very long time. However, it is not clear that the claims of extremely long life can be backed up. It's also worth noting that sometimes you need several LED lights to get the effect produced by a single low voltage halogen lamp. Also, LED tends to cast a much cooler light than halogen. LED lamps are typically coated to help them produce a warmer light, but over time this coating wears out and the light from the LED becomes even cooler. In general, a warmer light is preferred for homes.

Q: Why should I care about color temperature?
A: Color temperature refers to the perceived warmth or coolness in light. A warm light has reddish undertones, while a cool light has bluish undertones. A warmer light is generally perceived as more friendly and welcoming. Cool light is generally reserved for spaces where very crisp lighting is desired – medical examining rooms, jewelry stores, and other places where cool, crisp edges are desired.

Q: What kind of lighting would I find in my house?
A: In general, there are three kinds of lighting to consider adding to your home, indoors. General, or ambient, lighting provides overall lighting to the home or space. It lets you see and move around safely. It's a good idea to have a central ambient light in each room. A more focused kind of lighting, task lighting provides a concentration of light for a specific purpose – grooming, cooking, doing homework, etc. It should be glare-free and without shadows. Accent lighting is used to bring attention to a specific object or feature – maybe a painting, or a vase, or an interesting wall. An accent light should be at least three times stronger than the general light in the room.

Q: Why are dimmers so frequently mentioned?
A: Dimmers are devices that allow you to increase and decrease the amount of light that a fixture puts out. They are popular because dimming lights can not only reduce the cost of the energy you use, it can also extend the life of the halogen bulb. In addition, dimmers help when there are problematical lighting designs. Different types of people may be using the same space for different purposes. Some need more and some need less light, at different times. One popular approach to this issue is to "over light" a room – that is, to put in the most amount of light that will ever be needed – and then use dimmers to control the lights when the complete brightness is not required.

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