The lighting system at my house has evolved many times over the past 23 years.  Yet another renovation happened over the past month.  Here’s are some things I experienced while doing the work.

I hate old school wire

For those doing lighting in the 1990s you’ll remember the thick stiff jacketed 12 gauge wire we had to use!!! Well it gets stiffer with age!  And it’s hard to fit into some of the wire connectors.  What a pain.

Wire connections matter

Interesting that my connections made with earlier twist-on connectors showed no sign of water intrusion, the copper was still shiny.  Most all the funky connectors that used to come in the fixture boxes had a lot of corrosion and water wicking up the cable.

Kichler integrated lights are amazing

Had to cut down a dead tree 8 years ago that had a Kichler integrated accent light 30’ up the trunk.  I removed the fixture, coiled the wire, and placed it next to a nearby tree for later remounting.  Then I forgot about it.   During my recent renovation I found that fixture, now under 3” of rotted leaves.  Turned the power on and it was still working after 8 years of being semi buried.  I guess the earthworms enjoyed 8 years of light.

Café lights are cool

Needed more light for the main seating area on my deck.  Mounting accent lights would be a glare source.  So I tried our LED string café lights.  Wow, they look better and gave me the subdued lighting effect I wanted.  I love those things.

Transformer quality matters

During my renovation I removed my first installed transformer, a 500 watt Nightscaping unit.  Remember those?  Had the screw-in fusestats?   Because all my lights are now LED, my wattage requirement is a fraction so finally I could combine transformers.  Also had a couple old Nighttime Reflections transformers.  How nice it is to work with modern transformers with easy to wire terminal strips and no tripping problems associated with coil load balancing and leg over wattage issues.

King Tree Mounts are a fantastic

Nothing like being 30’ up a tree on a ladder trying to mount accent lights.  A royal pain for me anyway, especially when using tree mount junction boxes.  The screw in King mount is so easy and fast.  Also, I believe better for the tree since as it grows it will simply envelop the long stem giving the light a decade or two before having to be remounted.  One hole into the trunk cambium minimizes damage to the tree.

King Blazing connectors are easy and fast

But you have to be sure to strip the wire back far enough and seat it all the way into the connector before snapping shut.  Otherwise you lose connection.  Makes installation way easier when up on a ladder.

King wire zips do the job

A zip tie with a nail hole in one end.  One small nail holds it to the tree truck, then zip tie in the wire(s).  Much better for the tree than a series of staples.  Fast and easy.

Ready to Go

So my lighting system is now a cleaned-up LED generation 4.0.  Unfortunately, I already have a list of upgrades for gen 4.1.

-Scott Knowles, President of Wolf Creek Company

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