Outdoor Lighting Troubleshooting Tips

    Published: 06-16-2009
    Views: 27,300
    Patrick Harders with Outdoor Lighting Perspectives discusses how to install an outdoor lighting system. This video will focus on some troubleshooting tips for your outdoor lighting system.

    Patrick Harders: Hi, I am Patrick Harders with Outdoor Lighting Perspectives. Today, we are going discussing outdoor lighting. Now, I want to go over some troubleshooting tips for your outdoor lighting system. From time to time, there can be things that happen to your system. One of the most common service calls that we get is the lighting system altogether did not come on. Nine out of every ten times, this is a Tripped Circuit or a Tripped GFI.

    If this happens to you the first thing you should do is go to your outlet and test to see if you have power at the outlet. This could be down simply by just plugging a lamp or something into that outlet to see if you have power. If you do not have power at that outlet, first check your circuit panel, then check around the house for the GFI. This is your test retest outlet. Make sure all of those are set and none of them are tripped. So, you've just finished installing your system and you have one circuit inside your transformer that has tripped. This is the secondary side of the circuit inside the transformer; this is protecting against a short or simply just overloading a part of your transformer.

    More than likely at this point on the new installation, it's going to be an overloading of your common. A couple of options you can do is we know it's the middle circuit here. We could take a common and a one of the wires off of this load and put it on to one of the other. I'll just distribute the voltage a little more evenly in the transformer.

    The second thing you can always do is if you have an Amp meter, you could just test it to make certain, that's the easiest way to ensure, you will always get it perfect. The third issue that comes up is section of light have gone out or a light itself has gone out. If it's entire section of light try and remember, if you have any digging done or somebody could have cut that line. If it is one light out it's typically going to be a light bulb or every once in a while a pinch connector will come loose. Other issues can be that your lights are just remaining on all the time. This is usually a problem with your control unit. Most of the time when this happens it's when you have a photo cell that has gone bad. When photo cells fail, they typically fail on. To go ahead and test your photo cell or your timer just to make sure everything is set properly. So, now I want to show you how to change a light bulb out on one of the wall lights. This is a very simple process it involves removing the cover. Now, one thing to keep in kind after about three years, it becomes a good idea to change all your light bulb.

    So, the reason for that is there is lumen appreciation which happens when the light is just no longer quite as bright, it's lost some of its reflective qualities. So, let's go ahead and flip this light over, you need a flat head screwdriver, apply a little bit of pressure on the side of the fixture and the entire bulb comes out. Unscrew, the two terminals that wire directly to the light bulb. Then you are going to want to get a new light bulb or just going to use this one for demonstration purposes. Pop it right back in place, make sure your brass clips are holding that light in and screw the terminals back into that light bulb. Most lighting systems, you are going to be able to go a few years between light bulb changes, a very reliable light bulb that we recommend using. Tighten down your wing nut, put your lens cover on and your fixture is as good as new. We have a path light bulb that has burned out. It's important with this fixture to shut the power off because that light bulb is very hot. Then we want to take a screwdriver and come right to the pin, just push it out a little bit. And just a push pin and that pops right off, the whole top comes off and that's our light bulb here.

    Now, you notice I am wearing a glove. The reason I am wearing a glove is we don't want to get oils from our hands on to the light bulb itself because that will cause the light bulb to burn out much quicker than needed. Now, also this fixture has been out in the environment for about 4 years. If we were entertaining having people over, we just want to clean it up a little bit. A scotch pad works great just to remove any bird droppings or fertilize anything ever hit it, it kind of takes off just a layers of patina. This is an old trick in the lighting industry that we do, quite a bit just to give your copper the best appearance. Put the top back on and then finally what we like to do, olive oil is one of the best things to use, a little spray of olive oil, wipe it down, just gives your path light very nice clean appearance. To every couple of years, you maybe something like that just to keep your fixture looking wonderful.

    I hope this has been helpful for you to design and install your outdoor lighting system. Nothing, in my opinion is going to have a greater impact on the safety and security of your home than outdoor lighting. The overall curve appeal warmth that great lighting systems can give to your home is unparallel to anything else you are going to do to the front of your property.