Maintenance… yes it is needed! Nothing is service or maintenance free, but when it comes to you low voltage outdoor lighting system what needs service? Most of the time you cannot even see when service is needed or even completed, however it is needed to keep your investment in tip top shape.
Your outdoor lighting system as a lot of parts to it, some you can see, others (like the wire and connectors) you cannot. Every piece needs to be cared for from time to time, we like to say at least every quarter the system should have a check up. The following are the parts that a Light It Right technician checks on at every check up:
Back in the day when we used Halogen lamps maintenance on the lamps themselves was very important. For example, if a lamp got covered my mulch when the landscaping was updated it could catch on fire from the heat build up. With that being said, if you still have halogen lamps get them serviced often – or even better change to LED. Also, when halogens were the go to bulb, when one went out the power from that one would be pulled in by the others, and then like a domino they would all go out. LEDs have advanced in the last 5 years so we at Light It Right only offer LEDs, we have phased out all halogen lamps. LEDs do still need some TLC – as they are man made they do fail from time to time, especially here in Houston where we have so much moisture and are below sea level. When lamps are serviced the grease on the connectors should be re-applied and sockets cleared of corrosion. Also, glass on the lens should be cleared of debris.
The lighting fixture is the part everyone sees and needs to look its best at all times. Yes, the fixture will age, copper will turn
brown and look like a brass fixture, but that is the natural part of the metal, and ABS Well lights will fade. Well lights will need to be cleared of debris on a regular basis as they are open fixtures to assist with water drainage. Fixtures that are above ground will need to be adjusted as they can be knocked around by yard crews or by landscape changes. The glass enclosure should also be checked for any debris or broken glass.
You can’t have a low voltage lighting system with out the wire! Wire maintenance is a tough thing to do, it is under ground after all. The key to wire maintenance is proper installation from the start. Ensuring a tight connection at the fixture and the proper water right grease connections will keep the system running for years. Now cuts do happen and we are not able to prevent that, however we can take the precautions to reduce it. Light It Right buries our wire at least 6 inches down in the yard, places wire in conduit when wire runs through flower beds or up trees, these areas are prone to cuts as landscape changes and weed eaters hit tree trunks. If a cut does happen and the wire was installed correctly to begin with then the fix is a fairly easy one, once located.
The transformer is the heart of any low voltage outdoor lighting system, this is where the power comes from. Breakers should be checked regularly to ensure they are secure and not tripping. Animals can get into transformers and cause things to short out and cause the lights to go out, so it is important to make sure the transformer is always cleaned out. With LEDs transformers tend to stay in balance more, however the voltage does need to be checked and rebalanced if it is out of balance. If halogens are still be used then a rebalance in very important to keep the lights on and not to burn them out too fast. Also, the timing system in located within the transformer and should be reset to the correct on/off schedule that the customer asks for.
Yes that is correct landscape is part of lighting maintenance. Landscape grows and it changes, which will cause a need for the lighting to change. Did the bushes grow, did a tree die? When that happens fixtures may need to be raised up to be higher on the bushes or a fixture removed when the tree is removed. The ultimate goal is to keep the lighting looking the same as it did and achieving the goal that is was installed for. When/if the landscape has changed then then the lightning needs to adjust and change along with it. Raising a fixture up is the obvious when there is growth, however changing the fixture to a different style may be what is called for. During a maintenance visit our service tech will take a look at the situation and discuss the options available to you. It could be as easy as trimming back some of the growth, which we can take care of for you.
Maintenance is a necessary part of home ownership and your low voltage outdoor lighting system is no exception. You put the investment into a lighting system to accentuate your largest asset, taking the time to keep it looking its best will keep your home looking amazing at night. Even though you may not be able to see the wear and tear, it is there, and your system will love you for having the proper maintenance completed on all of its parts, even what you cannot see.