My Landscaper Did the Wiring

Twice during the last week I heard the five most dreaded words that a lighting contractor can hear from a homeowner – my landscaper did the wiring. They invariably follow that statement by saying that he did a really great job with the landscaping, but that he apparently wasn’t an electrician.

At one homeowner’s house, the electrician tapped into an existing circuit inside the house to power two 1120W low voltage transformers on a 15-amp breaker. Not only was the 120V circuit overloaded, but the landscaper had overloaded each of the transformers as well. The homeowner mentioned that when the lights came on at night, the interior switches and outlets inside the house would become very hot to the touch. That’s certainly not what you want to hear.

At another customer’s house where we’re about to install a new lighting system in the back yard, we have yet another landscaper electrical issue to resolve before the new lighting system gets installed. In this instance, the landscaper tied into an interior circuit to add an exterior outlet (to power some existing landscape lights), as well as to power two massive pumps for the water feature. This is also a no-no with the National Electrical Code.

Over the years, we’ve also seen serious mistakes by landscapers on the low voltage side. Loose connections result can result in higher amperage loads that can cause arcing and fires. And, we’ve often seen the charred remains of wiring where instead of cutting the wiring to the proper length, the landscapers will just coil it up in the ground or in the mulch. That of course results in ever increasing amp loads in the coil causing a meltdown.

The basis of every good low voltage lighting system first relies on the quality design and installation of the line voltage circuit that powers it. That is why we always rely on the expertise and experience of qualifed master electricians to ensure that any line voltage work is done to code – for not only the safety of our customers and their homes but for the reliability of our lighting systems as well.

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