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The Bright Ideas Blog

Design inspiration and outdoor lighting tips and advice for homeowners

Repair vs Replace: What's the Best Option for Your Landscape Lighting?

repair your landscape lighting systemThat landscape lighting system of yours used to look so nice. When it was pretty and new, it lit up your entryway, trees and driveway with a warm, inviting glow.

But now, years later, it’s in disrepair. So many lights are out, it looks unbalanced and shabby.

When should you repair landscape lighting, and when should you replace it?

There’s no magic formula to help you decide, but we can share some guidelines.

Let’s take a look at three main components of your landscape lighting, and how to tell if it needs repairing or replacing.

Component #1: Fixtures

Take a good look at your lighting fixtures. Do you know what they are made of?

If they’re quality components crafted of brass and copper, chances are they can be repaired — that’s a fish worth keeping.

Maybe they just need a bit of cleaning up. If a wire was cut by a wayward snow shovel or an edger, it can be repaired.

But if your fixtures are low-quality plastic, composite or aluminum and they’re several years old, they’re likely not worth repairing and should be replaced. Those fixtures have limited life spans and provide minimal protection for the socket, light bulb, or LED lamp.

You have to remember, the day your lighting system is installed, Mother Nature starts attacking it. Water seeps into low quality fixtures and rots the sockets and causes wire corrosion. Insects can wriggle into fixtures and nest there if they’re not properly sealed — these tiny pests will even fill fixtures with so much dirt, it completely blocks the light output.

Think of your lighting system like a classic 1964 Volkswagen bug that’s covered in rust. Sure, you can repaint it, but the rust is just going to creep back in. It might be time to trade it in.

Component #2: Connections

Repair Landscape Lighting Connections

Poor connections — it’s the number one problem we see when we show up to repair landscape lighting.

If some of your lights are going out, this is usually due to connection problems.

How are your fixtures connected to the wiring that runs to the power source?

Wire nuts and pierce connectors aren’t designed to go underground, yet lots of landscape lighting systems use them anyway. Pierce point connections to the main line tend to loosen and will have corrosion at the pierce point.

If your system includes these types of connections, chances are they corroded, and that’s why your lights aren’t working. There’s no repairing these — they should be replaced with watertight, heat-shrink connectors that will resist corroding when underground.

Component #3: Transformer

The transformer is the power center that powers your entire landscape lighting system.

If your lights aren’t working right, you may have a loose connection inside the transformer. Over time, as your lights are turned on and off, on and off, the electrical connections get loose.

If that’s the case, we can go in with a screwdriver and tighten up the terminal block screw. It’s an easy repair.

But sometimes these loose connections can cause “arcing,” when electricity jumps across a loose connection, creating heat. This heat can melt connections, causing shorts or even fire.

If that's the case, there's often no fixing it — the transformer may need to be replaced.

Tightening these connections is one of the tasks we do at our customers’ annual checkups. Tight connections will prevent arcing and heat problems.

Tip: Always disconnect the power source from the transformer before doing any work, to avoid accidental electrical shock or injury.

Repairing landscape lighting costs HOW much?

Sometimes the cost to repair landscape lighting will be enough to get you thinking about replacing the system instead.

Repairing fixtures and replacing lots of poor connections can add up very quickly.

Rather than putting band-aid after band-aid on a failing system, you should consider installing a modest high-quality system with a lifetime guarantee.

That guarantee is worth repeating: At Landscape Lighting Pro of Utah, our systems are guaranteed for life.

That means there’s no question of repair vs. replace, because there are no repairs. Just an annual check-up so we can fine-tune your lighting’s components to keep things humming.

Let us take a look

We’re happy to stop over and take a look at your troubled system to figure out what’s wrong. We charge a $75 fee  which can be applied toward the cost to repair your landscape lighting  if that’s the best option, or install a new, top-quality system.

We’ll be honest, and tell you if it’s worth the effort to repair, or if we’d just be putting on band-aids.

Give us a call at (801) 440-7647, or fill out our simple contact form.

Located in Sandy, Landscape Lighting Pro of Utah serves customers throughout Utah’s residential areas, including Salt Lake City, Park City, Draper and Holladay. Our outdoor lighting portfolio includes projects from Salt Lake County and Utah County, to Davis County and Summit County — and beyond.

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