If you own a home, you likely have some kind of outdoor lighting. Whether it’s a simple porch light or an intricate landscape lighting system, you’ll want to preserve its longevity and keep it functioning properly. Outdoor lighting is important. Not only does outdoor lighting help you feel at-home and comfortable, it also serves an important security function.
Many homeowners neglect their outdoor light fixtures, but maintaining them is equally important as any other electrical appliance, indoors or out. Fortunately, it’s not difficult to maintain your outdoor lighting. Simply add a few simple tasks to your to-do list every now and then; they’ll go a long way toward ensuring your outdoor lighting lasts.
Placing light fixtures outdoors means exposing them to the elements. No matter where you put them or how small they are, weather, debris, and other natural hazards can easily damage your outdoor light fixtures. Be sure you choose quality fixtures designed for outdoor use.
As a general rule, you want a fixture that totally encloses its sensitive components without making them inaccessible or totally blocking out the light. Be sure they are rated for exterior use as well. Some manufacturers have beefed-up finishes designed specifically for ultra-harsh conditions such as extreme temps or salt air. Choose wisely! This is an investment that will pay off when it comes to your lighting’s longevity.
Safe & Secure
Be certain your exterior lighting is properly installed and tightened. Most home lighting gets damaged when debris, storm hazards or perhaps a wayward baseball hit the fixture.Outdoor lighting is inherently exposed to more wear-and-tear than your indoor appliances, so check them more often.
This also holds true for seasonal or decorative lighting. Not to be a Grinch, but just because you don’t leave holiday lights up permanently doesn’t mean you don’t have to take care of them. Damaged light wiring or shorting components of a Christmas decoration can pose a danger for you and your house. It’s a good idea to check all of your outdoor lighting fixtures (even those that don’t stay up all year) periodically to ensure they aren’t damaged.
Clear the Way
Autumn means falling leaves which can collect in places where they’ll cover up your outdoor lighting. Letting leaves pile up around fixtures may cause damage to them or even to the overall system. The solution? Regularly rake your yard of falling leaves. While you’re at it, take time to check the ground for any exposed wires from your landscape lighting and rebury them. Branches and overgrown shrubbery might obscure some of your lighting. Clear the way for that light to shine by trimming trees or shrubs. Doing so will help maintain your outdoor lighting plan and ensure it is illuminating your home and yard as intended.
Tip: When planning your home’s exterior lighting design, remember to consider which trees to highlight and which you’d like to remain dark. Doing so highlights landscaping and creates contrast, interest and drama from both the curb and inside your home.
Time it Right
Fall may be the best time to incorporate a timer into your exterior lighting plan. Outdoor lighting timer can be a huge convenience to your daily schedule. Rather than remembering to turn on your lights each night, your timer or smart lights can do it for you! But as the weather gets colder, you’re probably spending less time in your outdoor living space. And with the sun setting earlier every day and daylight savings time ending Nov. 7, you’ll want to make sure to update your outdoor timer to best fit your family’s schedule and needs.
Keep ‘em Clean
If the glass on your outdoor lighting is soiled with water deposits, dirt or debris from summer storms, your fixtures can’t shine like they were meant to. Fall is the perfect time to clean them before it gets too cold and snowy, salt or de-icer adds another layer of grime to the mix.
Be sure to turn off the circuit breaker to your outdoor system (just in case!), and you can use warm water and mild soap to wash off your fixtures. It’s fine to use soap and water or glass cleaner to get any glass panes squeaky clean – light can’t shine if it’s coated with grime.
Cleaning your outdoor lighting may seem like a never-ending process. Won’t dirt and dust build back up on your fixtures anyway? Well, if we’re being perfectly honest – yes. But, if you let fixtures get too dirty, they aren’t able to shine as designed and may leave you in the dark.
Grimy lights just don’t look good. If your outdoor fixtures become too coated in dirt and dust, you won’t be able to see the light for all that dirt. Once you hit that point, you might as well not have outdoor lighting at all!
Your outdoor lighting doesn’t require too much more maintenance than any other electric appliances you may have. Get in the habit of checking up on your lighting when you’re doing other routine yard and lawn maintenance. Your home will sparkle in the dark; you’ll be surprised what a difference it makes.