POND LIGHTING- ENJOY THE NIGHTTIME BEAUTY OF YOUR POND
For many of us, the majority of our daylight hours are consumed by our work, travels, family time and other commitments that make our lives hectic. Often it is well after dinner time before we have the chance to relax. It is no secret that listening to the sound of cascading water or watching Koi playfully feed is a great way to relax. Unfortunately, nightfall often comes too soon! With the addition of underwater lighting you can add night time beauty to your water feature and extend the enjoyable time it provides.
Underwater lights add a whole new dimension to ponds and waterfalls once the sun goes down. The shadows created by aquatic plants, the dancing light shadows created by ripples on the pond surface and even the fish themselves create an atmosphere not seen during the daytime.
Most types of underwater lights are low voltage and function in the same way, utilizing a transformer. A transformer is a box that sets outside the pond and downsizes the electric voltage from 115 volt to 12 volts. A power cable then carries the power out to the light fixture in the water. By using 12 volt power any chance of harm to fish or humans is eliminated should a power short into the water occur. Under low voltage systems multiple lights can be run from single transformers. Add up the total wattage of your lights before selecting a transformer.
Example: using seven 20 watt lights (7 x 20) would require a transformer of at least 140 watts.
TYPES OF LIGHTS
Lights are generally available in three styles of bulbs. Following is a look at each:
HALOGEN: This is by far the most common type of light. They are inexpensive, reliable and available in several wattages. The typical bulb will last 2000 hours. Most lights come with several colored lenses that fit over the light to create amber, red, blue or green colors. Halogen lights are available in many styles including plastic, stainless steel or in a "rock" finish, which makes them easy to hide in a stream or waterfall. Underwater Warehouse offer a variety of pond lighting starting with their standard 20 watt and 75 watt lights.
LED: Light Emitting Diodes known as LED lights are relatively new to the pond market but offer a couple advantages over halogen lights. Traditionally LED lights were not very bright but recent advances in design have improved the light output. One of the biggest advantages to LED is the bulb life. An average of 75,000 hours is normal for an LED light bulb! Also the power consumption is much less allowing for smaller transformers and lower energy bills.
FIBER OPTIC: Fiber optic lighting is much different than the above lighting. With fiber optics an illuminator cabinet is located on shore. Inside the cabinet is a 150 or 250 light bulb with a slow rotating color wheel located in front of the light bulb. Fiber optic cables capture the light inside the cabinet and carry the light out to your water feature. Up to twenty fiber optic cables can be run from a single cabinet (only one bulb!) This allows a large water feature to be lit up with only a single light bulb. The color wheel has eight different colors so the lights are always changing slowly based on the pattern selected or the wheel can be stopped on any one color. The metal halide light bulb last approximately 9000 hours. Fiber optic lighting features and saves money in the long run. An optional remote control is available allowing you to turn the lights on and off from inside your home!
TRANSFORMERS: Various styles of transformers are available to operate halogen and LED lights. Most common and also our favorite are transformers with a built in photo eye to turn on the lights at dark and a dial that can be set for four, six or eight hours of operation. You can also set the dial to turn off with the photo eye at dawn. Both LED and halogen lights can be operated from the same transformer as well as different wattage lights. For example, if you already have 20 watt halogen lights and want to add a couple of 10 watt LED you can connect them to the same transformer provided the transformer wattage is sufficient to run the extra lights.
Regardless of which style of lighting you use, adding lights to your water feature will prove to be a valuable addition lights and will expand your water features enjoyable time beyond sunset