29 Jul Do it yourself maintenance of a high quality landscape lighting system is a really bad idea
By Mike Gambino
We have always gone over board for clients who have been loyal to us over the years and have helped build this business to become the success that it is today. Clients who appreciate us as much as we appreciate them.
On the opposite side of the coin it has always been difficult for me to understand why some folks would invest in the cost of a Gambino landscape lighting system, which can in some cases cost as much or more than a luxury automobile, and attempt to perform maintenance tasks on their own or have some other unqualified individual attempt the task.
The results are not pretty and usually inevitably we are called back to pick up the pieces and put things back to shape and original specification.
Bringing a Mercedes Benz to be serviced by a general auto repair shop is ill advised and so is allowing unqualified service providers to work on a high performance Gambino landscape lighting system.
Maintaining a lighting system involves so much more than just changing light bulbs when they burn out.
Even this task as simple as it may seem can cause common problems like we often find.
1- Using inferior home improvement store or online retail replacement light bulbs- Manufacturers make lower cost lower quality products for the big boxes whose main appeal is their lower price. Although the brand name may be the same and the product similar it is not the same and does not perform the same. Designer quality equipment is higher in cost and not readily available to the public and reserved for professional use only. Inferior light bulbs do not have the same color or light output as your originally installed equipment. Mixing wattages and beam spreads can wreak havoc like power overloads, system imbalance and result in less effective and improper lighting effects. A beautifully performing system can be turned to crap in a New York minute with the use of the wrong light source.
2- Damage to sockets- We find this often when homeowners try to change their own bulbs. Some replacement bulbs have different size pins and although the rest of the bulb looks the same the pins are not designed to fit the socket. Forcing a square peg in a round hole so to speak damages the socket making it necessary to replace.
3- Lenses and shroud covers not replaced or seated properly- This leaves the fixture open to moisture and water intrusion damaging internal parts, lamps , sockets, wiring etc.
4- Lens care neglected-I have yet to encounter anyone who cleans lenses as thoroughly as we do. Typically lenses are left un cleaned which block significant light output. Cleaning hard water marks and crusted debris is time consuming, takes effort and elbow grease that most are not willing to expend.
5- Pruning foliage around fixtures- Keeping plant materials pruned away from fixture lenses is not something the gardener will do on and ongoing basis let alone on a lighting maintenance call. Plant materials in the path of light beams cause hot spots and block light from getting to its intended destination.
6- Adjusting fixtures- Sometimes fixtures can be knocked out of aim and no one besides the original designer knows what the original intent of that fixture was. Leaving the re-aiming up to interpretation or guess work usually ends in an undesirable result.
7- Greasing moving parts and o-rings- This is something that always gets neglected. Left ungreased parts that mesh together can be very hard separate over time. O-rings can crack or break and cause moisture and water problems that can be costly.
8- Tree Lights- Are the number one most neglected item when it comes to landscape lighting maintenance. Trees are a living growing thing and mounts and tree fixtures will require special attention on a regular basis. Younger more vigorous growing species more often then older established fully grown trees. But they will also need attention too. This means climbing up in a tree to perform these tasks which can be dangerous without the proper experience training and equipment. Without care trees will grow over cable and fixtures damaging both tree and lighting equipment.
Saving money in the long run is very rarely achieved by foregoing the recommended maintenance service offered by your original professional landscape lighting installer. In fact it’s a very poor idea which often results in greater cost and loss of system enjoyment time. Servicing a system properly that has been neglected or improperly maintained by someone else always takes additional time and cost that would not have been needed had the system been properly maintained in the beginning. Leave the servicing and maintaining of your landscape lighting system to the Pros.
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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