Whoa!!! Pump the breaks! The idea of a maintenance free outdoor / landscape lighting system is a beautiful sentiment. Unfortunately, there is no such thing as maintenance free landscape lighting. All 12V lighting systems require some level of maintenance & upkeep.
There, we got all that straightened out at the beginning. Now there isn't any reason to wonder why the content of this blog is contrary to the title: 5 Tips to a Maintenance Free Landscape Lighting System.
Before you click away thinking the title to this blog was nothing more than idle clickbait, I invite you to read on and consider how a lighting system can be made highly manageable.
Perhaps this is a more appropriate title:
5 Tips to a well-kempt Landscape Lighting System.
Like a car, lighting systems require routine maintenance to assure they continue operating at their best. If you don't change the oil in your car, the car's engine will eventually experience problems that could have been easily avoided. It's the same with landscape lighting systems.
If the lights are being taken care of with simple adjustments and upkeep, they will continue to amaze and provide beauty. Changing the oil in your car and looking after your lighting system are, for our purposes, the same thing.
These tips should all be done at least once a year as a preventative measure. You know the old saying: an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.
Tip 1: Inspect Fixtures
Go ahead and take a look at the shape your fixtures are in.
Are the fixtures straight? Are they still hitting their target correctly? Over time, freeze thaw cycles can cause the earth to heave & move. This can skew the aim of the fixtures in the ground. If this isn’t corrected, the fixtures will continue to be further affected as the seasons go by. Eventually the lights will completely miss their target if they are never looked after.
Are the fixtures still water tight? When moisture enters a fixture it can cause corrosion and damage the internal components. Water is always the enemy. If for some strange reason your fixture isn’t water tight, it will need to be addressed. Keep the water out!
Speaking of water: Are there hard water deposits building up on the fixture’s lens? This will need to be removed periodically to allow the light to travel.
Tip 2: Overgrown Vegetation
Over time, you may notice that a fixture has been obscured by vegetation growing around it or over it. This is to be expected: naturally, your plants are going to grow. Trimming and pruning back plant material is a great way to open up the path for light to travel.
Tip 3: Address Exposed Wires
While properly buried direct burial wire doesn’t typically become exposed, frost heave and growing root systems can bring small sections of wire up to the surface over time.
When this happens, it’s important that the wire is reburied. Buried wire is protected and less of an eye sore. Exposed wire is more likely to become damaged.
Tip 4: Consider Changes in The Landscape.
Landscapes are organic. They never stay static. Trees, shrubs, ground cover, etc., all grow and move. Your landscape develops and becomes altered as surely as the seasons will change.
As changes happen in the landscape, sometimes changes will also need to be made to the lighting system. In some cases the fixture will need to be relocated. Evergreens, for example, grow outward and so the fixtures will need to be placed further back away from the tree in order to capture it appropriately. This will also keep the fixtures from being engulfed in thick tree branches.
Tip 5: Inspect Transformer
Over time you may also need to adjust your timer. After a year in use the timer could be off by a minute or two and need adjusting. Do this to avoid having your lights not turning on or off when they should be.
Take a look at your transformer and the timer control. Does the outlet your transformer is plugged into have a bubble cover to protect it from rain? If so, is it being left open or is it securely covering the outlet while the transformer is plugged in?
It’s important to have an outlet cover that will protect it from moisture brought on by rainfall or irrigation. It’s equally important that this protection is being properly used. If your outlet isn’t protected and moisture gets in, the GFCI will trip to protect from electrical shock.
When the GFCI trips the outlet no longer has power. It will need to be reset in order to restore power. If the outlet doesn’t have power, neither will the transformer powering your landscape lighting system.
When our company gets called out because someone’s lights aren’t working, nine times out of ten, it’s because we had a rainstorm the night before trip their GFCI or breaker switch.
Tip 6: Bonus Tip
Our extra tip to help you maintain your light system is to address issues or problems as you see them occurring, not after the fact. If you see a problem take advantage of the opportunity and get it worked on before it becomes a more serious issue.
A 100% maintenance free lighting system isn’t possible. Inevitably the system will need to be worked on. However, serious repair work can be avoided when we do our due diligence to look after the system and provide a bit of care where necessary.
The beauty owning a landscape lighting system brings to your home and outdoor living space is truly incredible. If you’re seriously thinking about outdoor lighting for your home, don’t be intimidated by the idea that it will need a little care and looking after.
In fact, if you would prefer to have someone else maintain your system for you, professional landscape lighting experts have different service plans available to fit your needs. They’ll comb through your whole system and button up everything to make it perform the same as the day it was installed.
Call us at (801)440-7647 for more information on annual service plans, schedule a free consultation, or feel free to simply fill out a contact form on our website, www.utahlights.com
Located in Midvale, Landscape Lighting Pro of Utah serves throughout Utah's residential areas, including Salt Lake City, Park City, Draper, Davis & Utah Counties. Our outdoor lighting portfolio includes projects throughout Utah and beyond.
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