When you think of landscape maintenance, your mind most likely travels to the obvious list: mow the lawn, rake the leaves, pick the weeds.
One item that frequently gets overlooked is landscape lighting maintenance. Even if you’re lighting no more than a small walkway, it’s important to keep your system performing its best.
Check Those Bulbs
If you have an older halogen system set up in your yard, its important to replace burnt out bulbs as quickly as possible. Just one blown halogen can result in an increase in voltage pushed through to the other bulbs. This will lead to a shorter lifespan for the remaining halogens.
Fortunately, many of Garrett Churchill’s clients have made the switch over to LED. An LED lamp has an internal voltage compensator, which will correct for slight increases and decreases in voltage. Most fixtures can be retrofitted to LED just by changing the lamp. It’s a simple operation and can save you money and aggravation in the long run. If you choose to do this yourself, use a reputable supplier of lamps that are designed to be used in an outdoor environment.
That, coupled with the fact that there is a very small chance that you’ll ever need to replace an LED lamp makes maintenance an easy step to skip over in your list of landscaping chores. If the bulbs will last practically forever, there’s no need to check them, right?
LEDs Need Attention, Too
Unfortunately, having an LED system does not mean having a maintenance-free system.
If you’ve opted to install tree lights, you must check them regularly. Remember, a tree is a living, growing element of our environment. We originally set all of our tree mounted lights away from the trunk. Over time the tree grows but the light stays in the same place. Eventually the tree can grow around the light making repairs very difficult.
Give Garrett Churchill a call and have one of our technicians come out to check tree light fixtures. We can make sure that the mounts are still secure and the lights are pointed in the right direction. It is much easier to adjust the mounts prior to the tree growing around the fixture. If caught in time, it is a simple 10 minute operation to adjust or install new hanger bolts.
If the tree has grown around the fixture, it will need to be cut out of the tree. Done with a sharp instrument, this can be done so the tree heals properly with minimal damage.
As the tree grows ,it can also compress the wire against the fixture housing. We have seen a number of shorts caused by this since the wire will make direct contact with the fixture. Overall, being careful not to damage the tree cutting a fixture out, repairing the wiring, and remounting can take an hour. If you have tree mounted fixtures, we can evaluate them and determine if any work is required.
We can also check to see if the tree has begun to grow around the fixture. It’s important to prevent tree growth around your installations, as this will make the pieces harder to remove and may result in pinched wires, which could cause shortages and render your expensive installations totally useless.
Removing fixtures from tree growths could take up to an hour per fixture, while a simple readjustment will take 15 minutes tops. So make sure you’re keeping an eye on your installations!
Keep Them Clean
Have you ever tried turning on your headlights after a snowstorm, when the roads have been salted and the snow is a grimy black slush? The muck from the road always splashes up on to your headlights, dimming them so much that they are practically useless unless you give them a quick scrub.
Landscape lighting is the same! When you schedule a landscape lighting maintenance appointment with Garrett Churchill, we’ll be sure that all light lenses are cleaned and exposed wires are buried. It’s important to keep these elements protected from the harsh environment in order to extend their life.
Sometimes the light fixtures need no more than a quick swipe with a towel and some Windex. More often, and especially in yards with irrigation systems, light fixtures might need a deeper scrub to remove lime build-up. CLR is the perfect remedy for these tough build-ups.
As with everything else, when it comes to landscape lighting maintenance, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Even if you aren’t dealing with tree growth over fixtures or lime build-up on lenses, Garrett Churchill has plenty of prevention measures we can take to keep these problems from occurring. Give us a call and schedule your maintenance appointment today!