So you want some outdoor lighting, whether it’s to beef up the security surrounding your property, enhance and accent your landscaping or home decor, or simply to light up the walkways and paths leading to your door so you don’t break your neck when coming home at night. Before running into anything headlong, though, there are a few things you need to plan out. Here are some of the top outdoor lighting problems you must face, as well as potential solutions.
Burnt out light bulbs or lamps: this is an extremely common problem with your outdoor lighting, especially when you rely on incandescent and halogen outdoor lights. You are also more prone to suffering burnouts when you rely on ‘daisy chain’ wiring in which none of the lights receive the proper voltage because they are all feeding on the same power source. This phenomenon also occurs when you have outdoor lighting utilizing multi-tap transformer technology: a single lamp burnout can cause so much voltage to be sent to the other lamps in your circuit that they too burn out on a premature basis.
To avoid such pitfalls, ensure you get regular maintenance for your halogen and incandescent lighting. The recommended maintenance schedule for your outdoor lighting is at least twice every year, with a total overhaul of your outside lights recommended every couple of years.
Connections: this is another major challenge you will face with your outdoor lighting. To connect up your outdoor lighting, many installers use pierce point connectors – but this merely puts holes in your wire strands, making them more susceptible to being damaged by water, which in turn leads to short circuits. Some will bury the wires underground, using red and yellow wire nuts, but then what happens when there is a hard rain or you heavily water your lawn? That’s right – water gets into the connection, resulting once again in short circuits. Quite apart from these issues, some folks just make bad connections.
To avoid wiring and connection problems with your outdoor wiring, always, and I mean always, use connectors that are waterproof.
Corrosion: this one is related to the last point. If you expose your lighting to the elements, then you are going to face the prospect of rust and corrosion. Usually, the first place it will be observed is the sockets in which your lamps are installed. Most of the time, the lamp will generate enough heat to vaporize any condensation or moisture that forms in the light fixture. But if the light has burnt out, corrosion can easily build up in the light socket. Also, as we have seen, bad connections will enable water to seep into your wiring, resulting in rust and corrosion, and in turn making it so much more difficult for the electricity to reach your lighting fixtures.
To avoid these problems, use dielectric substance or compounds at the base of your lamp sockets, and use waterproof connectors so that moisture doesn’t seep into the wiring of your outdoor lighting.
Bugs! Depending on where you live, your outdoor lighting may be faced with an infestation of bugs and pests like fire ants, cockroaches etc. Some users report finding insects mounded over the top of lighting fixtures that stand almost 8 inches above ground level! They are also known to get into and fill up supposedly sealed lighting fixtures.
If you find your outdoor lighting being swamped by bugs, don’t hesitate to call out professional pest control experts to deal with the problem.
Solar outdoor lighting: if you opt for solar outdoor lighting, there are also some very specific challenges you will face. Namely, the problem of where to position the lights so as to maximize sunlight exposure, what to do when the sun is not shining, and what battery or storage options to utilize.
If you are interested in getting some solar outdoor lighting – whether to save the environment, or simply to make yourself independent of the electricity grid – do your research, and perhaps even get a professional consultation from a solar installation expert. This is one form of outdoor lighting that you don’t want to get wrong!