Landscape Contractor / Design Build Maintain

APR 2018

LC/DBM provides landscape contractors with Educational, Imaginative and Practical information about their business, their employees, their machines and their projects.

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26 LC DBM Left & Inset This is your standard, fixed mount LED fixture that is intended for landscape amenities that see human use, like a pool or spa. Installation for this type of underwater fixture usually requires a certified electrician to ensure proper safety guidelines are being followed. Maintenance for fixed mount fixtures, such as this, should only consist of bulb replacement. To do this, the single screw on the faceplate can be loosened to remove the fix- ture from the niche. Then simply raise the fixture above the water and replace the bulb. Fixed mount fixtures will most likely come with what seems like an excess amount of cord, however it is important to allow more than enough linage for the fixture to be removed from the niche and brought well above the water level. Right This backyard grotto and waterfall feature, located in St. James, New York, was completed by Jeff Ingrassia, owner of FX Design Team, of Long Island, New York. Ingrassia states that the main challenge with this project was finding lights that could come in contact with water, but be installed above the water's surface. A total of four fixtures were used for the entire waterfall and grot- to area: one on top, two underneath the waterfall and one far back in the cave. All four lights are connected to one junction by conduits that then runs to a separate transformer. easier to install because they do not need to be mounted, simply placed and plugged in. This type of fixture will typically come with a weighted base to help prevent it from moving underwater. There are also lights that float on top of the water and require no installation aside from plug - ging them in. These lighting fixtures are not intend - ed for areas that see human use because they could be knocked over and become dangerous. The AOLP relates that "Non-perma - nent, unsecured fixtures and cable runs should be placed within the water feature to best hide these components. Rocks, stone, or other building materials can be used to hide the cabling and fixture(s), but they should not crush or damage this equipment." Each connection, between the fixtures themselves, to either a timer or transform - er, should be fastened with a turn-nut to ensure adequate waterproofing. Many of these types of fixtures come with the capability of mounting if need be. Yet, remember, un - fixed directional lights might require more routine maintenance and mounting them down means you will have to unmount them to change a bulb. Conclusion These recommendations and practices are for fixtures placed in freshwater, not saltwater. Regardless, anytime work is done with an underwater lighting appli - ance, do not forget to turn the power off to the system. When perusing fixtures, it is common for all underwater lights to have a sili - cone "o ring" sealing the gasket, which prevents water seepage. This is a crucial piece of the fixture and should be includ - ed. If it is not, be skeptical. The AOLP guidelines state that any transformer that will see connections to an underwater appliance must be specifically rated for submersible use. The transformer should have this clearly displayed. As mentioned afore, local guidelines regarding underwater light installation may be in place in your area, especially when dealing with pool lights. Each year the National Fire Protection Association publishes the National Electrical Code and posts it on their website, nfpa.org. It is free to view for registered members (registration is free). According to their site, the code has become the benchmark for all 50 states regarding safe electrical design, installation and inspection. Jeff Ingrassia offers this advice when dealing with underwater landscape light - ing; "Check with your local municipalities for updated codes because some codes vary. Every township might have a slight differential and it's good to know the codes. It's also always good to work hand in hand with a certified electrician." Whether your landscape calls for a mounted fixture or an unfixed direc - tional fixture, stay safe and enjoy the idea that we live in a time where you can have beautiful lights placed safely underwater. LC DBM

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