16 Mar How to Asess a landscape lighting system that is not working or performing properly
By Mike Gambino
Now that the warmer weather is arriving, it’s time to get out of the house and start thinking about getting your outdoor lighting in shape for the coming season. That is assuming of course that you already have one. If you don’t-What are you waiting for?
Here are some quick tips for how you can check for common problems. If you do not feel comfortable following these steps, simply call a licensed and professional landscape lighting specialist to perform a System Inspection for you.
First, turn on your outdoor lighting system to check that it’s operable if you haven’t operated the lights this season or for awhile. To do so, Find your lighting controls and manually override the system to turn the lighting on. If there are no lights on check the transformers breakers to see that they haven’t tripped. If they have tripped reset them and if they trip again it’s time to call a professional for help.
Go to the fuse box and check the fuse or circuit breakers for the lighting. Even if your outdoor lighting is already operating properly, it’s a good idea to check your home’s circuit breakers regularly. If the circuit breaker for the outdoor lighting is tripped to the off position (or half-way), switch it fully to the off position, then firmly return it to the on position. If it trips back to the off position again immediately or in a short period of time, there could be a problem requiring professional repair service. Do not attempt to adjust the electrical service panel yourself.
If all breakers are in the on position check all GFI outlets that may control your outdoor lighting circuits and re-set them if tripped.
Check for leaves, dust or dirt on or around fixture lenses. Dirt and debris can significantly impact the lighting systems performance. Most of the gunk can be removed with a mild detergent and a straight razor blade. Be careful not to jar the fixture components, this can cause the light effect to change due to knocking fixture aim out of adjustment. If there is excess dirt or corrosion, replace the lenses or more realistically seek a professional to replace them for you.
If the circuit breaker was not tripped or you resolved the situation and get the lighting to operate, physically examine all light bulbs in your system and replace any that are old or burned out with the exact same. Bulbs should have ANSI code letters and numbers on them that identify what they are. Only the best quality light bulbs should be used. There are many cheap replacement bulbs that look the same available at big box and hardware stores but do not last and will not perform satisfactorily. Systems should be checked at least every six months.
Finally, if they can be accessed, examine any exposed cabling that may be attached to trees to make sure that the tree hasn’t begun to grow over it. . If there are cut power cables, dim lights or overall poor system performance and or reliability problems, this is usually an indication of original engineering flaws or lower quality components installed. If you notice any of these issues it’s probably due to a lack of professional maintenance as well. A Precision Tune-up will include a lighting system cleaning and visual inspection of the system and provide recommendations to repair problems and original design flaws.
When in doubt call a Pro!
This landscape lighting blog is published by Mike Gambino of Gambino landscape lighting inc. all rights reserved. Mike is a professional landscape lighting system designer/ builder and has been designing, installing and maintaining landscape lighting systems for more than 20 years. Mike resides in the Los Angeles area with his wife and 2 sons. To visit his website go to www.gambinolighting.com . To inquire about hiring Mike please click here .
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