Installing LED lighting? A Must Read Guide

A JUSTFLOW ELECTRICIAN’S EASY GUIDE TO INSTALLING LED STRIP LIGHTING YOURSELF AND ADDING MAJOR VALUE TO YOUR HOME, BUSINESS OR PROJECT

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DIY LED STRIP [LINEAR TRACK] LIGHTS GUIDE FOR BUILDERS, DIYERS AND HOME RENOVATORS

Author Justflow Electrical – Local Sydney Electricians

Strip Lights or Downlights?

Why Linear LED Strip Lights? And Why Not Just Install Downlights?

Let me explain this and break down a few key points here. The most common question we receive when planning a new home build or home renovation for our Sydney customers is why wouldn’t I just install downlights and save myself both time and money?
Well downlights unlike conventional battens or oyster lights require careful preparation, precise measuring, plug bases, cut outs and not to mention space above your ceiling. Which can be problematic when an electrician hits a timber or aluminium stud

Downlights are also becoming outdated. “Increase a projects value by staying current with themes and trends”

With more and more overseas manufacturers downlights entering our market with intense competition between them, there is a visible decline in downlight quality

Once quality falls below standard the safety risk increases and these risks can range from electric shock to fire hazards
So what to do? If you do decide to choose downlights as your main lighting source throughout the space, make sure you purchase a quality fitting. Saving $5 or $10 can cost you much more in the long run.

However if you are looking for modern, clean finishes with minimalist design consider using LED strip lighting.

Linear LED strip lights look great and avoid many of the problems that come with installing standard down lights

By following the easy steps below you will be well on your way to enhancing the look of your home or office
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PLANNING

It helps to plan carefully. The areas in which you plan to install the LED strip lights should diffuse the light softly at the chosen location.

There is nothing more un appealing than a LED which is misplaced and does not diffuse correctly. In most cases this will cause a spot effect and the individual LED’s can be seen through the diffuser or in some cases not using a diffuser at all.

Diffuser types with various LED lighting effects

Good ideas are places such as above/below feature walls, under the lip of stairs (bullnose), behind cabinetry or recessed within timber or laminate panels. You are definitely not limited for options here so use your imagination and let your creative juices flow!

Choose the location carefully however and take appropriate measurements of the length of LED strip light needed, the length of the aluminum profile in which the LED lights will sit in and the size of the cutouts needed if you plan to recess the extrusions.

A the old saying goes measure twice cut once and this has never been more pertinent than when measuring size of aluminium extrusion and the LED itself. The next measurement you will need is the length of low voltage (Figure 8) cable needed from the chosen end of the aluminum profile.

A good rule of thumb is to allow for an additional 30% for wastage. At times when running cables there are always obstacles and bends which are met, these obstacles will make it harder to run the low voltage cable to the ceiling to sit behind a cavity or space which can be easily accessed later. This space will house the driver in which will power the LED strip lights. The power usually needed is 12V however this can be up to 24V depending on the type of LED lighting chosen.

PREPARATION

  • Clean the chosen area thoroughly making sure nothing will interfere with the lighting as small bits of dirt dust and other substances will be evident on completion
  • Measure the desired span of the track or LED lighting to be installed
  • Ensure that you clearly lay out the LED lighting and double check fittings to ensure a correct fit
  • Use appropriate fixings as loose tracks are a hazard when placed overhead
  • Ensure LED’s are not exposed to the elements unless they are IP rated
  • Choose LED Colors carefully and ensure they match the rest of the projects lighting scheme

INSTALLATION

A licensed electrician will be able to provide the wiring an cables during the rough in stage of a project. Or simply retrofit from existing electrical cabling at the property. Installation of LED strip lighting requires a step down transformer most commonly down to 12v. The transformer must be accessible for future replacement and never tucked behind a sealed section of your ceiling or walls. Hard wiring is required so a licensed electrician will provide all the connections necessary for any strip lights or track lighting.

You must choose the most appropriate run and placement for the lighting installation

Track lights can be recessed or have an external protrusion what you choose is entirely based on preference.

Good planning will always make the installation a lot smoother and will help the electrician bring your projects vision to life. LED’s are also smart home capable in todays market which means they can be configured to smart home Apps ad Software such as Google, Alexa and Siri.

If you would like to get even more creative link your smart LED strip lights to the IFTT App to set routines and rules around times of the day and connectivity to other smart home devices For instance if your smart lock is opened your lights automatically turn on and a playlist of your choice is played on the home speaker system (Sonos or other systems). TV can be turned on and or kettle can be turned n at the same time. 

If you would like to learn more contact a Justflow Electrician to help create your perfect scenario complete with LED lighting and smart home connectivity solutions. Contact us

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