Maintain Your Landscape Lighting System
You have purchased landscape lighting for the beauty and safety it brings to your outdoor areas in the evening. What you may not have thought about is the service and maintenance that is required to keep it shining as if it were brand new.
Common sense suggests the lighting bulbs will need to be changed periodically, but the other lighting system maintenance requirements may not be as obvious. It’s important to remember that plant, shrub & tree growth, sprinkler spray, and weather will all take their toll on your systems performance. So considering a comprehensive maintenance program to protect your lighting investment is every bit as important as the initial installation.
Here a just a few of the things a good lighting maintenance plan should include:
Proper bulb replacement
Using your as-built plan, your bulbs will be replaced with the correct wattages and beam-spreads to match the original lighting plan specifications. A common mistake homeowners make is to purchase a bunch of bulbs at a Big Box store without regard for the wattage, style, spreads, etc. This invariably results in dramatic changes in the original lighting effects, often overloading circuits, or reduces bulb life.
Complete cleaning & reconditioning
Over the life of your lighting system your fixtures will be exposed to various and often extreme conditions that can affect how they function, and reduce their expected service lives. Moisture can get into a fixture, causing corrosion, and fixtures can be damaged (generally by being bumped, hit by lawn mowers or other garden equipment, etc.). By staying on top of the need, and reconditioning them, we can extend the useful life of a fixture. As well, things like calcium stains from sprinklers, animal leavings, dead leaves, overzealous mulching and plant over-growth can quickly degrade or even obscure fixture output.
We’ll check the individual fixture bulb sockets for corrosion and carefully apply a special, high-heat, di-electric grease lubricant to them to help control corrosion and ensure the bulbs won’t seize and can be readily removed when necessary. We will also clean and wipe down the glass lens of the fixture to remove mineral deposits that accumulate on the lens, as well as other debris that can gather.
Reposition and re-aim
Plants, shrubs and trees will grow over, or get in the way of, fixtures or their intended light coverage area. Proper minor pruning and repositioning of the fixtures assures the light goes where needed and the nighttime effects you enjoy continue.
Buried electrical cabling supplies power to the fixtures. It is an odd phenomenon, but buried wire can work its way to the surface in your garden over time. Exposure, cultivation, erosion and traffic all contribute to wires exposing themselves. Wires can also be nicked or cut by an errant shovel, or even chewed on by various critters who frequent your yard. For your safety in avoiding trips and falls, for aesthetics, and to ensure continued normal operation of the system, it’s important to ensure the cable is always kept below the ground surface, or secured in its proper location, as well as it being free from nicks, cuts, nibbles and frays.
In trees, it’s very important that tree mounted fixtures, along with the cabling, be inspected regularly to ensure that tree growth doesn’t damage wires, pull connections apart, or interfere with fixture operation.
Regular maintenance maintains the proper effect, maximizes fixture and system longevity, and ensures customer enjoyment and satisfaction over the life of the installation.