Hall lighting

Hall lighting

The most important thing about lighting hall and stairs is to ensure there’s enough light to be able to move around safely. High levels of general lighting are recommended and it’s particularly important that the lighting on the stairs should be right – the treads should be lit much more brightly than the risers (the vertical bits). It’s also important that the light itself is well shielded so that people climbing the stairs aren’t distracted by glare. A downlighter would be a good choice, because the lamp itself is well shielded. On short flights of stairs, a single fitting towards the top will probably be enough; on long flights, you may need two. For a high level of lighting in the hall or landing, you could use a couple of directional fittings placed at intervals – with perhaps 75W ISL bulbs  in them. It’s sensible, though, to have some light reflected from walls and floors or ceilings to avoid harsh shadows.



one-way switch two-way switch The three insulated conductors (or cores) in the strapping cable are coloured red, blue and yellow; the earth is uninsulated. Switch the poweroff at the mains and remove the old switch. If this is a one-way switch with only two live terminals you will have to replace itwith a two-way version, but the chances are it will be a two-way switch with three live terminals, where only two and connected to the earth terminal ot the switch box.

Before the yellow and blue are connected they should each be twisted togetherwith one of the conductors in the existing switch cable (these will have been connected toC and [2, but are now rejoined to Li and 1-2).


Two-way switching

A staircase is one of the obvious places to have two-way switching. Other uses include a switch by a bed to link with the one by the bedroom door. Or two switches in a living room which has two doors. It can be reassuring to have a downstairs light or a porch light connected to a second switch next to a bed.

The theory of two-way switching is described already. Basically all that is required is to wire the first switch

Two-way switching terminals are being used.

The three live terminals of  two-way switch are marked COMMON, Li and L2. The three core cable is connected with: the red to the COM MON terminal; the blue and yellow are sleeved with red and connected to the terminals Li and [2 respectively (it doesn’t matter which provided you are consistent). The earth is sleeved with greenwith the switch live connected to terminal Li and the return live connected to terminal L2 and then to link in the second switch by a strapping cable. To convert an existing switch circuit, all that is usually needed is to install a second two-way switch and run a three-core and earth pvcsheathed and pvc-insulated cable from the existing switch to the new one. The connections are outlined below.

From first principles

Installing two-way switching in the first place, follows exactly the same lines. It may help to keep the wiring clear if you install the first switch together with the light, before attempting to link in the second switch.

When channelling walls and so on for the first switch cable – bear in mind that the channel will need to contain two cables comfortably. If you install an intermediate switch, it will also need a channel for two cables.

Outdoor lighting


A light at the front door is an essential outdoor light for every home, it helps callers to identify the house and the householder to identify the caller. Where there are steps a light is important at night to prevent accidents. A porch light is also welcoming and a well-lit frontage is less attractive to opportunist housebreakers.

One justification for garden lighting can be that it deters burglars, but it also allows longer use of the garden simply for sitting out or for playing outdoor games. Garden lighting also looks attractive from indoors or out.

Then there is the safety aspect, par- ticularly on paths and steps likely to be used at night – the route up the garden from a garage to the back door perhaps. Lights sold as porch lights can actually be used anywhere around the house – next to a patio door for instance or to light a rear entrance.

A porch light

The choice of light is important. It must be capable of providing effective illumination to the front door and its identifying street number or house name at night. Few lights take lamps of more than 100 watts. It must be weatherproof and properly installed, especially if it is mounted on an exposed wall. As well as being unsafe, a light that is likely to be affected by damp or is hung on a pendant where it can be buffeted by wind will cost a lot in regular lamp replacement, and its light output will be reduced by dirt and condensation.

Carriage lamps (or lanterns) These owe their design to a tradition that began with travelling gas lamps where the gas mantel was protected by a cage with glass sections. Some of the modern electric lanterns are pendant or ceiling-mounted for an overhanging porch or entryway; most are wall mounted on an arm taken from a wall plate.

The best, but most expensive, have a metal casing of wrought iron with clear or amber glass inserts, but plastic, aluminium and other lighter metals often painted black are used, and are much cheaper. Many cannot be easily distinguished from the heavy metals, but they are not usually very robust and should be used only where they are not likely to be knocked or vandalised.

Bulkhead lamps These get their name from ships where the lamp is covered by a curved rectangular box of toughened glass screwed to a ship’s bulkhead. For domestic lighting this means a fitting mounted directly by its base without brackets. Versions for the home are more decorative -. rectangular, square (also called lighting bricks) and circles in opal glass, toughened glass or plastics. Be wary of the plastic type unless it is a translucent polycarbonate, as the trapped heat from the lamp can cause warping and distortion. Sunlight can cause discolouration of cheaper plastics.





Some of these bulkhead fittings can be stencilled with the house name or number using a heat resistant paint, but check with the manufacturer as the opal finish is sometimes damaged by paint.

Buy only bulkhead fittings that are clearly marked for exterior use and therefore weatherproof.

Globe lights These are modern bracket light fittings, similar to wall lights available for indoors, but more robust, larger and of course weather resistant. The spherical glass cover normally screws into the holder on a rubber washer and with most there is the choice of suspending the glass or sitting it in its holder. Some have covers of clear glass but there are also

opal, coloured and sculptured glass covers. Most can be matched with versions to stand on a gatepost. Although a heavy gauge glass is used, very few are vandal proof.

Wiring connections

A porch light can be supplied from the ground floor lighting circuit (provided this does not already carry the maximum number of lighting points) – the wiring being taken from a ceiling rose or a junction box. The hall lighting point (or its junction box) is often the nearest connection and is the first place to look. It will often be the last point on the downstairs lighting circuit.

There may be advantages in taking the supply to the light from the upstairs or downstairs ring circuit, as a fused spur from a fused connection unit inserted in the ring circuit. The cable from the ring to the fused connection unit should be the same as the ring circuit – usually 25mm2 – from the flex to the light it should be 1.0mm2. The fused connection unit is fitted with a 3 amp fuse. In a two-storey house it is often easy to take a spur from the ring circuit in an upstairs room where a socket positionshows the cable to be close to the front of the house above the porch. If there are cavity walls (and the cavity is not filled with insulation) the cable can sometimes be passed through the space under the floor and down the cavity to the light fitting.

The new wiring will normally be run in 1.0mm2 twin and earth cable. Unless the lamp is double-insulated, and clearly marked as such, it is important that a metal fitting is earthed

Fitting a wall-mounted light Begin by marking the wall where the light fitting will be sited – the position of the cable access hole and the mounting bracket and screw holes. Drill the holes for the wall plugs, then drill the cable access hole through the wall in a position such that the cable comes out of the wall straight into the light fitting. The hole should be sloped slightly down towards the outside.

When the cable is connected fill the hole with a flexible sealer. Secure the light with greased non-rusting screws. Once in place it’s a good idea to seal the base of the light fitting to the wall with flexible sealer to stop the ingress of water.


These details should be checked each time you connect a socket, switch or anything at all. Full details of Electrical work are given on pages 48 et seq.

• switch off at the mains • always fit grommets in the knocked-out holes in mounting boxes.

• remove the sheath from cable within a box or fitting only • aim to leave virtually no bare conductor exposed once the connection has been made • protect the bare earth conductors with green and yellow sleeving and connect to earth terminal

U connect red conductors to live terminals

• connect black conductors to neutral terminals

• double-check connections • shape the connected conductors to fit comfortably inside the box


From the junction box supplying the hall light oranew junction box on the lighting circuit.

From a fused connection unit installed on the ring circuit supplying the hall.

From a fused connection unit installed on the ring circuit in the room above.


For a ceiling-mounted light Find a suitable position where the fitting can be secured either to a joist or by suitable ceiling board or plaster fixings. Most fittings are enclosed and the cable is passed through a cable entry hole fitted with a rubber grommet. If the fitting has an open back it must be mounted on a suitable pat- tress or box – a plastic round conduit box can be used with a terminal block inside for instance. If the ceiling is just an open canopy it would be worth sealing around an open-backed light fitting.


Ideally the switch for a porch light should be on the wall just inside the front door. Normally it would be next to the switch for the hall light.

Consider also the possibility of two- way switching with the second switch beside your bed or on the upstairs landing. A light switched on suddenly will discourage an intruder and enable you to investigate the cause of a night noise from a front window.

A second switch is also useful outside the house to turn on the lights when you arrive home in the dark. Such a switch should be weatherproof, but if it is protected by a porch it need only be splashproof. It could be wired as intermediate switching with two indoor switches.

Automatic controls

A daylight sensitive photocell that will automatically switch the porch light on at dusk and off at dawn is another choice and simple to wire into the circuit. Because this control keeps the light on all through the hours of darkness, the most likely use is as an occasional alternative to hand switching and so it’s best wired through a second switch. When you need to use the photocell you make sure that both the switches are in the ‘on’ position. If you’re going to leave the light on all night, choose one that uses little energy. A small fluorescent fitting with an energy-saving lamp for instance note this fitting could only be used in a protected dry position.

A wall-mounted timeswitch is another choice for an automatic control for a porch light. The light will then switch on and off automatically while you are away from home and the timer will take the place of the switch. Most timeswitches have two on and two off periods and a switch thatallows them to be by-passed at any time.

Remote switching

Remote switching is also possible. Small portable, battery-operated remote control units can be carried in the car or in the hand and when the trigger is pressed an invisible beam of infra-red light aimed at another cell mounted on the wall or gatepost automatically switches on the lighting. There are various types of sensor that will operate like a switch on a two-way circuit or as an intermediate switch on a three-way circuit. The maker’s wiring connection must be carefully followed, but normally a three core and earth I Ornm2 cable between the sensor cell on the gatepost and the ordinary switch is all that is needed. The cable must be suitable for use outdoors and be permanently installed taking the normal precautions for outdoor wiring.

A sensor switch can also be used to open electrically operated up-andover garage doors. One cell is mounted on the garage door post and wired into the switch circuit to the motor controlling the operation of the doors.

Garden lighting

The various types of garden lights are listed opposite. Best of the outdoor lamps for most purposes is the PAR 38 made of a tough Pyrex glass (see page 150) fitted into a slim weatherproof holder which is tough enough to be used outdoors. It has a long life and gives either a narrow or a wide beam of light. Floodlights with tiny tungsten halogen lamps give the most light.

Most outdoor lighting is made to be permanently fixed temporary lighting has the merit that it can be moved when working in the garden or to suit the time of year. It is safest to use low- voltage (24V and strictly speaking called extra low-voltage) sets. Even on a temporary basis outdoor cables should be properly installed. Never run cables where they may be disturbed or tripped over. Secure overhead cables properly.

Concentrate on lighting trees and paths and patios using PAR spotlights. Conifers look best if spotlights are aimed so that the light touches the edge of the branches. Big trees should be spot-lighted or flood-lighted directly from below.

For lighting a path, lamps should be covered with reflectors that direct the light down on the pavings. Garden steps can be lighted by bulkhead fittings mounted on a side wall and there are also brick-sized fittings which can be recessed in the wall.

Water also looks attractive when lighted: swimming pools should have lighting for practical and safety reasons; ponds can have low-voltage (24V) lights set just below the surface of the water – the isolating transformer is usually concealed in a weatherproof enclosure in the rockery or under a paving slab beside the pool. Better still house the transformer inside the house so that all the garden cable is 24V. Low-voltage lights can also be used in other parts of the garden and low-voltage circuits are sometimes also used for submersible pumps for fountains – where they are a safer choice than a pump that runs on 240V.

Permanent wiring for garden lighting must be properly installed so that it is protected from accidental damage and the weather (see page 302 et seq). Even temporary lighting needs special care

1         Brick light

A recessed fitting more or less the size of a brick for fitting into a wall to give low- level lighting. Around 40W or 60W usefu/forwalkways, beside walls particularly near steps.

L I C)

2 Lighting brick

A surface-mounting bulkhead-type fitting for installation on a wall. Round and square versions are available up to about 100W.

useful for entrance doors, patio doors

3 Spike lamps

Lamps in ground spike fittings available as individual lights run on mains voltage or low-voltage and also as low-voltage sets where a string of fittings is

connected via a single 1 2V or 24V transformer (which must be installed in a dry place). Light is usually directed downwards and sideways, but not up. All are movable, so can be regarded as temporary – arrange the flexible cable so it will not be a hazard likely to trip passers by Available 40W and 60W, useful for borders, shrubberies, orchards and so on. Use lights at different heights to create interesting light and shadow.with the installation.

Before installing garden lighting, you can test the effect on a dry night by using an extension cable and an ordinary 150W bulb in a simple reflector.

4 Recessed, ground, floodlight Watertight fitting with glass cover designed to be buried in the ground. Light is thrown upwards Often 150W usefu/for illuminating large patios or other parts of a garden, fit away from pedestrian traffic or in a bed of difficult-to-walk-on pebbles.


5 Tungsten halogen floodlights Floodlights for installation high above an area to give a very high level of lighting. useful for burglar deterrent lighting – mounted atfirstfloor height on an outside floor, but controlled from indoors, tennis courts, swimming pools and other sports or play areas.

6 Post-top lanterns Lamps on bollards or tall spikes directing lights down and sideways to give glare-free lighting Lanterns can also be set on existing pillars.

useful for paths, driveways —especially gateways—; swimming pool surrounds.



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