Landscape lighting adds ambiance and security to outdoor living spaces, but, like any electrical system, it is subject to frequent failure and repair. The right tools and knowledge can make the difference between an easy DIY fix or a call to a professional at Landscape Lighting Repair Orlando.
Preventative steps like removing debris from lighting fixtures, repositioning and offering maintenance plans can reduce the need for repair. Often, a simple ground stake replacement can fix your problem.
The fixtures are probably the most visible component of a landscape lighting system and they are also one of the most vulnerable. High-quality metal fixtures made of copper and brass are designed to last a long time, but they’re still subjected to the elements, varying temperatures and even water and snow. As a result, they can develop corrosion over time. If this isn’t addressed promptly, it can lead to a loss of function and eventually a fixture failure.
Fixture problems can often be fixed by simply cleaning them and the surrounding area. Mineral deposits left behind by melting snow and rain are common culprits for dimming lights, but a non-abrasive cloth and some CLR (carburetor cleaner) type product can usually do the trick. The surrounding area should also be checked for dirt, mulch buildup and plant growth that could be obstructing the fixture’s light.
Other problems with your landscape lighting may be due to poor connections or wires that are not up to spec for outdoor use. Wiring can be buried or it can run above ground, either way it must be properly rated for the wattage of your landscape lighting system. If the wires are too small for the wattage of your lighting system, they can become corroded over time. If the wires are buried, they must be properly rated and protected in order to avoid moisture damage.
It is important to check the wire connections regularly for corrosion as well. This is especially true for a low voltage lighting system where the wires are constantly exposed to moisture and other elements.
The connections should be cleaned with a wire brush and contact cleaner before reconnecting them. It is also important to make sure the bulbs are the right wattage and type for your system. This will ensure that they are not overpowered and damaged as they work to provide you with illumination. To change a bulb, turn off the power to the fixture first. Then remove the existing bulb and use an emery board or sandpaper to clean any corrosion from the fixture’s contacts. Once the contacts are clean, they can be sprayed with an automotive ignition sealer to help prevent future corrosion.
Even the best designed landscape lighting system can experience problems as time goes on. These can be due to a number of issues, including poor connections, substandard materials used for installation, or improper maintenance. It can also be due to a cut or frayed wire or moisture damage within the system, especially when there are areas where wire is stretched over roots and rocks. The good news is, many of these problems can be prevented with a little bit of annual maintenance.
Before performing any of these maintenance tasks, you should first turn off the power to your landscape lighting. This can usually be done by flipping the circuit breaker switch that controls it to the “Off” position. Next, it is important to determine the location of the broken or damaged wire. This can be tricky because the wire may be buried underground in your yard. A voltmeter can be used to test the power at each fixture. If the voltmeter is not reading any voltage, then it is likely that the wire has been cut.
Once you find the wire that has been cut, it is important to make sure that all power has been disconnected from that area. Then you can begin digging up the wire. You will want to dig carefully around the area to avoid puncturing the wire in another place. Once you have exposed the wire, you will need to use a pair of wire strippers to remove about 1/2 inch of insulation from each end.
Once the insulation has been removed, you can reconnect the two ends using a wire nut connector. Finally, you can use a screwdriver to tighten the connection, making sure that it is secure and that there are no loose parts. You can then use a voltmeter to verify that the connection has been repaired.
After completing all of these maintenance tasks, you should be able to have your landscape lighting system working again. However, if you are finding that the problem is constant or that you are constantly changing bulbs or having to repair fixtures, it may be time to consider a new lighting system. The technology in outdoor lighting has come a long way in recent years, and you might be able to save yourself a lot of time, money, and headache by simply upgrading to a new system.
Over time, a landscape lighting fixture’s socket will get corroded. Corrosion can interfere with the electrical connection between the socket and the bulb. This will prevent the bulb from receiving the proper amount of current needed to illuminate. Luckily, a quick and inexpensive fix can be done by replacing the socket.
The most common type of socket is the hex socket, which can be found in a variety of sizes and types. These sockets feature a square-drive connector on one end that is used to attach them to a ratchet and a hexagonal or bi-hexagonal recessed head at the other end, which is used to turn fasteners, such as nuts and bolts.
Generally, the socket will also have a lip or ridge around its sides, which is designed to hold the head of the fastener while it is being turned by the ratchet. The ridge acts as a buffer that helps to protect the fastener from damage or wear.
Another common type of socket is the ball-bearing socket. This type of socket has a metal bearing inside, which allows it to rotate and fit tightly on a fastener. This type of socket is usually used for applications that require high loads or long periods of time.
The sockets in most landscape lighting fixtures are out in the elements, which can cause them to be exposed to moisture. Despite the fact that most fixtures look water tight with their O-rings and rubber seals, it is possible for moisture to leak into the sockets over time.
Moisture in a socket can cause the wires to melt or short, which can result in heat and smoke. If this happens, it is important to immediately unplug the transformer and call a professional.
Sockets are also susceptible to corrosion due to being out in the weather. This can cause them to lose their tension springiness, which will make it difficult for the socket to squeeze onto the lamp pins and provide contact for the bulb circuit.
It is a good idea to replace the socket when you notice that it has become damaged or worn. This will help ensure that your light is always properly illuminated and will keep you safe when using outdoor spaces.
If your landscape lighting system isn’t working, it’s time to call a professional electrician. Some fixes, like replacing a light bulb, are simple enough to do yourself, but others require the skills and knowledge of an electrician. It’s important to contact a qualified electrician to ensure that you don’t damage your landscape lighting system or yourself during the repair process.
One of the most common reasons for landscape lighting failure is a short. This can occur when the electricity in your landscape lighting system arcs between fixtures or within your home’s wiring. This type of issue is most likely to happen if your landscape lighting was not professionally installed or you haven’t performed routine maintenance. Fortunately, a short is usually easy to diagnose and fix. Just be sure to use caution when working with electricity and follow the manufacturer’s specifications for power surges/lamps.
Another reason for landscape lighting failure is that the fixture itself has gone bad. A light fixture is constantly exposed to sunlight and moisture, which can lead to corrosion over time. If you notice that your lights are starting to rust or have visible signs of deterioration, it’s probably time to replace them.
Some light fixtures, especially older models, may simply be prone to frequent problems. These fixtures are typically made from lower quality brass or aluminum, and they will start to break down over time. If you are frustrated with the performance of your landscape lighting, an experienced lighting technician can help you select new fixtures that are better suited to your needs and will be more resistant to damage.
Lastly, the lenses on your light fixtures can also become cloudy or dirty, which can significantly reduce their brightness. It’s a good idea to have all of your light lenses cleaned regularly as part of your landscape lighting maintenance.
Many of the problems with landscape lighting are related to the way that they were originally designed and installed. If your lighting doesn’t properly illuminate your home or garden, it can be difficult to find the right balance between beauty and function. An experienced lighting specialist can help you select new fixtures that are more aesthetically pleasing and will perform better in Florida’s climate.