Homeowners rarely think about the potential landscape lighting dangers because things rarely go wrong. But when they do the results can be catastrophic. Here’s a story about a homeowner who narrowly avoided a disaster at his home.
Homeowner’s Guide to Professional Landscape Light Maintenance
If you want to maintain your system like a pro here is your homeowner’s guide to professional landscape light maintenance. These steps are copied almost verbatim from our technician-training manual.
Tools and equipment needed
- Screwdriver (Philips and standard).
- Diagonal plyers (wire cutters).
- Wire strippers.
- Wire nuts (see image below).
- Buriable stranded wire (make sure you have appropriate gauge wire).
- Glass cleaner (such as Windex).
- Non-abrasive power cleaner (such as Bartender’s Friend).
- A bucket of lukewarm water with a mild household soap solution.
- Another bucket with water only.
- A towel.
- A soft cloth.
- Heavy-duty paper towels.
- Electric silicone grease or spray.
- Electrician’s grease.
- An old toothbrush.
- Cotton swabs.
- WD-40 or similar.
- Voltmeter (must be able to measure AC).
- Replacement stakes.
Survey the system
Landscape light systems run on 12 volt AC power. Make sure you have purchased bulbs that are rated for AC (not DC).
Outdoor lighting maintenance
Well maintained outdoor lighting systems last much longer than those that are not maintained. Outdoor lighting maintenance should be performed on a regular basis. Set a calendar and check the system on the first day of each season for example. Or check it the first day of every third month. No matter when you check your system you should check your system regularly to make sure the components are in good working order and not subject to premature failure.
We’ve seen some really poorly maintained systems in our day. Don’t find yourself having to deal with problems resulting from neglecting your lighting system. This video below show a fixture that was neglected. Over time ivy had grown over the fixture and the spike was bent over and the fixture was touching the ground. Then ants built mounds of soil around the fixture. Then the seals failed and the bugs got inside. Finally these bugs (maggots?) got inside and ate everything up. It was so bad the fixture could not be rebuilt. We just had to replace it. If the owner had just checked it every so often and kept it upright this never would have happened.