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solar deck lighting

Deck lighting can be creative, but it’s also a necessity for safety. A properly lit deck prevents trips and falls, particularly for pets and children, but also lets potential intruders know that someone is home. Since decks need lighting anyway, they might as a well be shown in the best light possible. Let’s look at the most popular lighting technologies, such as LED and solar lights, and a few popular styles of lighting.

Solar Deck Lighting

One of the easiest ways to get started with lighting a desk is to use solar deck lights. Since there are no wires to run from the house, it’s possible to add lights individually on an as-needed basis. Solar deck lighting gets collects sunlight during the day, then provides up to 14 hours of light during the night, assuming a charge on full sunlight. On rainy or overcast days, solar decking lights typically provide five to six hours of nighttime lighting.

A lovely and popular solar lighting option for deck is a solar patio umbrella. Some solar patio umbrellas have their lighting fixture around the center of the pole, below the canopy, while others have an array of small lights scattered inside the canopy.

LED Deck Lighting

For indoor lighting, the preferred low-power alternative to incandescent lighting is compact fluorescent lighting, but LEDs rule for decks. LED decking lights provide a warmer quality of light than CFLs, while being clearer and more brilliant than incandescents. While CFLs are well known their low power consumption, LEDs draw far less power, and with energy costs being about one-sixth of fluorescents over the course of their lifetime. LED deck lighting also generates far less heat than CFLs, and especially incandescents, so that they’re a safer choice for families with pets and children if floor-mounted lights are being installed.

Deck Lighting Types

Some types of deck lighting are more appropriate than others for different applications. Some deck lights are designed to highlight broad areas, others are meant to showcase individual objects, while others are primarily intended for safety. The main types of deck lighting are:

Post cap lights. Lighting the corners of the deck is a crucial safety measure, even if no other lights are installed. If the rails of the deck aren’t lit, it’s still possible for people to perceive the boundaries if the corners are defined. Post cap lights are round or rectangular lights, mounted where the rails intersect, that emit downward-angled light in 360 degrees. Once the corners are highlighted, the rest of the deck’s perimeter can be filled in with pod lights or accent lights.

Accent deck lights. Accents lights can be placed on deck railings or posts to highlight edges, but their main speciality is showcasing individual objects, pointing down on some featured item like a potted plant or a bench. They’re great for fleshing out the outline provided by cap lights.

Stair deck lights. Like post cap lights, stair deck lights are critical for safe walking, but they also add some depth and definition to the deck, since each light is set inside the riser between each step. Some homeowners prefer to use solar or LED lights that stay on continuously, while others install an ambient light sensor that only turns the stair lights on when someone approaches.

Recessed deck lights. Recessed lighting is obvious the most labor intensive to install, but also the most elegant-looking–easily worth the additional effort. Recessed deck lights have unsightly wires exposed (wiring for inset deck lights are behind the boards), no gaps to risk short-circuits in the rain, and no jutting edges to become trip hazards.

Tiki torches. The mere mention of tiki torches conjures up tropical themes, but these low-tech, flame-based lights are not limited to Kona or Maui designs. Many tiki torches use industrial or European design themes. Some are small and intimate enough to be placed on tables, while others are large enough to light a whole deck. In addition to traditional torches that use paraffin, citronella oil or propane, some tiki torches are electric, available in solar and LED varieties.

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