How to Power Outdoor Lights Without an Outlet? (We have a fix!)
Lighting is a major component of your outdoor decorum. The right lights can make your yard feel cozy and illuminate the darkness so you can spend more time outdoors enjoying your garden or patio. Unfortunately, many yards don’t have the outlets necessary to power standard light fixtures.
There are a few ways to get around not having an outdoor outlet to power your lights. The simplest is to buy lighting that doesn’t require an outlet, such as solar or battery-powered lights. If that’s not an option, you can use extension cords or battery outlets to power traditional plug-in lights.
Each of these solutions comes with its own pros and cons. The right option for you will depend on your unique situation. Let’s explore a few factors that might impact which solution you should use for your outdoor lights.
One of the top factors to consider when deciding how to light your yard without an outlet is your budget. If money were absolutely no issue, you could simply have an outlet installed. You probably don’t want to spend the money necessary to have that done though, as it can be quite expensive.
Solar Powered Lights
If you are willing to spend a bit more on your outdoor lighting, it might be worth it to order solar-powered lights. These lights tend to be a bit pricier, but the investment is often worth it. Solar energy doesn’t require anything on your end, meaning you won’t have to pay for batteries or electricity when using these lights.
Another option is to purchase wireless lights. These can vary in price, but the pricier versions tend to come with a host of nice features. Many will allow you to dim or brighten the bulbs, and some even allow for color-changing. Pricier wireless lights also tend to be a bit more resilient against the weather.
Less Expensive Options
If you are trying to light your yard or patio on a budget, there are cheaper options.
Battery-powered outlets are typically relatively inexpensive. These outlets allow you to use the lights you already have without a standard outlet. This can save you from having to purchase an entirely new light fixture for your outdoor area.
Extension cords can also be purchased inexpensively. That being, it’s important that you purchase one that is rated for outdoor use, as the extremely cheap ones are likely to run into issues if exposed to water.
While you should always aim to have some amount of weatherproofing built into your outdoor lighting, the degree to which this matters varies. If you live in a warm, sunny area with little rain, it probably won’t be a major factor. If you have a great deal of rain, snow, or wind, improper weatherproofing will lead to breaks and can potentially be dangerous.
For Temperate Regions
If you live somewhere that is fairly consistently sunny, you have more leeway when it comes to what outdoor lighting you choose.
Any type of string lights should be fine provided you fix them in place properly. Without the threat of intense wind, you won’t have to worry much about them blowing off and shattering on the ground. You probably won’t need incredibly waterproof ones either, as the waterproofing won’t be tested by torrential downpours.
If you opt for an extension cord, standard waterproofing should hold up fine as well. Again, you’ll want to ensure you secure it so it doesn’t fall and break, but that should be enough to ensure your outdoor lighting is powered safely. Extension cords are really only a good idea when the weather is temperate, as they will have to run from the inside of your house, meaning the house will be exposed to whatever environment lies outside.
Solar lights are a fantastic option for sunnier areas as well. Since there is a good deal of sunlight, they should be charged consistently, meaning they’ll be ready to go when you want to use them in the evening.
For Regions with Increment Weather
If, on the other hand, you live somewhere with more sporadic or extreme weather patterns, you need to be a bit more mindful with your lighting choices.
If you opt for wireless string lights, you’ll need to ensure they have a high degree of waterproofing. Without this feature, the rain or snow may cause problems with the electrical currents therein. This can break your lights, hurting your pockets as you have to replace them. In extreme cases, it can also be a fire hazard.
String lights will also need to have very secure fastenings. Snow can accumulate on the bulbs and wires, weighing them down and causing them to fall. This can be annoying to deal with on its own, but if the bulbs break, the broken glass can cause injury to your family or pets.
Extension cords are not a wise idea for outdoor lighting if you lack an outdoor outlet. Having to keep a door or window open in the rain or snow will be unpleasant and can lead to water dripping into your house. This can damage your home and cause mold to grow.
Solar lights are probably not a great idea in these regions either. Without a consistent amount of sun, solar lights won’t stay charged. You may go to power them up in the evening only to find they don’t respond.
Do outdoor outlets need to be on their own circuit?
It isn’t necessary to have outdoor outlets on their own circuit. They can function as part of the other circuits used to power the rest of your house without issue. Making sure proper safety measures are followed is important though, as it always is when dealing with electrical wiring.
That being, many people do prefer to run outdoor outlets on their own circuits. Doing so can provide an additional level of safety, as any weather-related issues or problems with overworking the outdoor circuit will be isolated.
How do I protect my outdoor wires?
The first step you should take to protect your outdoor wires is to make sure they are adequately covered. Running them within a wall is a great way to do this, but you can also install wire covers over the wires if you choose not to. As an added measure of protection, you should always use wires that have been weatherproofed.