If you own a house, chances are you have some kind of outdoor lighting. Whether you have a single porch light or a whole landscape lighting system, you’ll want it to function as long and well as possible. Not only does outdoor lighting help you feel at-home and comfortable, it can serve an important security function, as well.
A lot of homeowners tend to neglect their outdoor light fixtures more than other appliances in their home, but maintaining them is just as important. Luckily, it’s a lot simpler to maintain outdoor lighting than you might think. Perform a few of these simple maintenance tasks every now and then, and you’ll go a long way toward ensuring your outdoor lighting lasts.
Invest in Reliable Covers
Installing lights outside 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. That’s why choosing and installing a reliable light cover is so important.
The type of cover should depend on the type of light. As a general rule, you want a fixture that totally encloses the sensitive components of the appliance without making them inaccessible or totally blocking out the light. For porch lights, as an example, the ideal cover will be translucent glass with a metal frame. It will cover all sides of the light bulb, but open easily enough that you can take the bulb out to replace it without contorting or disassembling the whole installation.
After you choose a fixture that works for you, make sure it’s properly installed and tightened. Most home lighting gets damaged when debris or storm hazards hit the fixture. Remember that your outdoor fixtures will naturally sustain more wear-and-tear than your indoor appliances, so check them proportionately. If something damaged the fixture or displaced it, consider taking it off so you can examine it more thoroughly. Make sure you’re careful around your outdoor lighting installations–remember, they’re still electrical equipment!
This goes double for seasonal or decorative lighting. Just because you don’t plan on leaving it up permanently doesn’t mean you don’t have to take care of it. Damaged Christmas light wiring or shorting components of a decoration can be dangerous for you, your house, and the whole neighborhood. Periodically check all of your outdoor lighting fixtures just to make sure they aren’t damaged or shorting.
Protect and Cover Cables
Leaving exposed electrical wires outdoors is never a good idea. A damaged, active wire could be an electrocution or fire hazard. When installing or adjusting outdoor light fixtures, make sure their supply cables are either well-covered and protected from potential hazards, or securely fastened to a nearby anchor.
Use adhesives and install wire holders to keep any wires you can’t totally conceal from moving around in the wind. If it’s possible, try to confine exposed wires to as small a surface area as possible. Try wrapping them around pillars, railing, or other parts of the house. Keep them either low or high, so they’re out of the way of walking and maintenance jobs. Hiding cables is preferable whenever possible, but don’t put them somewhere where you’re liable to accidentally cut or otherwise damage them. Keep them out of the way and covered.
Clean Fixtures Frequently
Cleaning off outdoor lighting may seem like an exercise in futility. After all, dirt and dust is just going to build back up on it anyway. If you let fixtures get too dirty, however, they could become hazardous. Too much dust could cause the fixture to get too hot and melt, char, or even ignite nearby construction. Light bulbs that get too dirty may burst if left on too long.
In addition to safety considerations, dirty lights just don’t look good. The point of outdoor lighting is, well, to light things up! If fixtures get too dirty, you won’t be able to see the light for the dirt. If that’s the case, you might as well not have outdoor lighting at all!
It might sound like a hassle, but outdoor lighting really doesn’t require too much more maintenance than your other electric appliances. Get in the habit of checking up on your lighting when you’re doing other routine yard and lawn maintenance, and you might be surprised what a difference it makes.
If you’re having a problem with your outdoor lights, or any other electrical for that matter, you can always call Mike Diamond. We have the experience, certification, and expertise to handle any and all electrical jobs you can throw at us.