One thing we learned very early on while taking care of our little baby girl, Mary Helen, is that she LOVES being outside! She could be pitching a fit and as soon as she is outside, she quiets up. It was an easy way to extend the time between feedings by a few minutes when she was a few weeks old. And it still works today if she’s fussy and we just don’t know why.
BUT…it’s summer now. And that means bugs. Especially mosquitoes, or skeeters as we call them down here in Alabama. 🙂 I hate the idea of spraying down my 8 month old with bug spray. I mean you can’t exactly tell her to hold her breath while you’re spraying. Fortunately, though, there’s an alternative and it’s been installed around our back deck.
These are brand new landscape lights from NuTone that also have a mosquito protection system inside the fixture! The green light means it’s actively repelling mosquitoes from my baby’s skin and mine. OK, and Brandon’s too! (I received these fixtures in exchange for my honest review. My favorable opinion is 100% my own.)
What I really love about these fixtures is how easy it was to install them. I’ve always wanted landscape lighting, but it just seemed like a lot to take on. While it was time-consuming because I was being very particular about where the wires went (more on that later), it wasn’t that hard.
Since I didn’t have any existing lighting, I picked up some landscape wire. You can choose anywhere from 12 gauge to 18 gauge as long as it’s low voltage. I went with 14-2. (There’s a lot of math involved in determining which gauge and cable length and voltage drop and a bunch of other stuff I don’t understand, so do some research before you start your landscape lighting project!)
I needed 2 separate lengths of cable since the repellent and light features of the fixtures would be wired separately. Before I laid out the cable, I set my fixtures where I wanted them first. The stake goes in the ground first. The fixtures come with a plastic cap to hold on top of the stake as you hammer it into the ground so it doesn’t crack. Very nifty! When I was done, I kept one of the caps and threw the rest away.
Now about running those wires. My transformer and controller for the lights was going to be mounted on the right side of the house with all of my other utilities (dryer vent, cable connection, breaker box, etc). And since all of my fixtures were right against the lattice deck skirting, I thought I’d just run the wire under there and not have to worry about burying it. So the wire dropped down from the controller and went straight under the house. Instead of actually crawling under the deck, though, I just put my fist through the lattice holes and fished the wire a few inches at a time. Told you it was time-consuming!
When it came time to attach the fixtures to the wire I just ran, I pulled it through a lattice hole, completed the connection, and then tucked it back through the hole. Again, I’ve never installed landscape lighting before. But I thought NuTone’s connectors were pretty nifty and easy to use!
I pulled out the adaptors for my size cable and tossed the others so they wouldn’t get mixed up.
After slipping the cable into the adaptor, I unscrewed the connector, and then set the adaptor with cable into the bottom of the connector.
Then I screwed the top of the connector back on. As it was tightened, the small metal teeth punctured the wire sheathing and connected with the copper inside.
To connect the wires coming from the fixture, I simply pushed it into the top of the connector until there was a click.
Then I applied some dielectric grease to the connections on the top. Never heard of or used this stuff before, but it’s in the electrical department if you’re looking!
With all of my fixtures in place and wired, it was time to insert the repellent cartridge.
It looks like a plug-in air freshener, but it’s odorless!
After installing the transformer (I bought this one from Home Depot) and programming the dual timer/control (more information here), our new lights were ready for night fall!
This one is close enough to help illuminate the stairs leading up to the back door.
And of course, Mary Helen couldn’t wait to test out the mosquito repellent! She also couldn’t wait to rip up some grass blades and eat them! Gotta watch that one, I tell ya!
One cool thing I learned a few months ago is that rosemary is a natural repellent. And how perfect that we have a HUGE rosemary bush next to our deck. So big, I can’t use it fast enough!
So together with the rosemary, our new landscape lights will help protect my family and me for the rest of the buggy season! At least until it gets so hot our eyeballs are sweating. Then we’ll be nice and cool inside in the air conditioning. 🙂
I’m pretty pumped since landscape lights add just a touch of “finish” to an outdoor space.
We have the timer set to turn the lights on at dusk and go off after a few hours. The repellent, however, is not timed. We’ll only turn it on when we know we’ll be outside.
There’s a giveaway going on right now on the Today’s Homeowner Facebook Page for a set of these lights with the timer/control! So head there now to enter!
Stay skeeter-free, y’all! And thanks for Checking In! ~ Chelsea
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