LED lights have many advantages, they’re compact, bright, long lasting and energy efficient, but they do need to be correctly installed.
The compact design, bright light and low energy usage make LED lights a popular choice for many areas of a contemporary home. The technology involved in LEDs, however, means that they do need correct installation in order to deliver their maximum benefits. Thankfully, most LED lamps now incorporate a driver; a device which regulates the power entering the fitting.
Ceiling and Other Low Voltage Household Applications
LEDs are commonly used in low voltage applications, replacing halogen MR16 ceiling fittings or G4 lamps in cabinetry. With a choice of warm white (akin to the traditional halogen light) or pure white, LEDs are an increasingly popular choice in kitchens, bathrooms and in ceilings throughout the home.
In these applications, LED strip transformers or other LED drivers are needed in order to convert the mains power to the lower voltage, usually 12V, required by the LEDs. You’ll often find that if you’re buying these units for home use you’ll get the transformer and driver combined in a single unit. In fact some lights come as a plug-and-play unit with the transformer and driver incorporated into the lamps themselves.
Accent Lighting Using LED Strips
A major advantage of LED strip lights is that they can be installed in locations where more conventional lighting simply wouldn’t fit. This is particularly useful if you want to fit accent lights under cabinets, in a kitchen or bathroom. As with any installation it’s vital to measure carefully before you start to make sure the equipment you buy is going to fit.
Key Installation Tips
1. LED strip lights can be cut to length, usually at 2.5cm intervals. If in doubt, or if your installation is starting to look a bit complicated, try drawing a diagram to get everything worked out before you actually begin installing.
2. Make sure you’ve worked out how you’re going to attach the lights. You can simply use double-sided tape in many cases but if you need a more solid fixing make sure that you have a solid surface into which you can insert screws. Many LED strips come with a self-adhesive backing which greatly simplifies installation.
3. If your lights require a separate driver/transformer then make sure you allow for that too. Drivers need to be fairly close to the lights themselves, within a metre or so, make sure you have the right length of cable to reach the power source. You can run LED transformers from a normal 13 amp power socket but if you’d rather wire the transformer permanently into your lighting circuit you may need to consult an electrician.
4. When you’re buying LED drivers for strip lights you need to make sure you get the right wattage for your installation. Individual strips will have a wattage per metre, you need to multiply this by the number of metres you’re using in order to arrive at the correct wattage for the driver needed to handle the system.
5. It’s always better to buy a transformer or driver that can handle a bigger load than you actually need as this makes life easier should you need to extend your system at a later time.
LED strip lights offer a practical, cost effective and versatile way of lighting your home and adding a touch of style at the same time. What’s more installing them is now within the reach of most practically minded home owners.
James Holden is the digital content manager of Visible Lighting and has many years’ experience in the LED Lighting industry. To find out more information on James Holden, you can follow him on Google Plus .