Landscape Lighting

How to Troubleshoot Landscape Lighting

As a proud St. Louis homeowner, you deserve to have your well-maintained lawn, flowers, and landscaping features stand out beautifully from the curb.

Landscape lighting is great at accentuating your home. And that’s why it’s frustrating when your landscape lighting doesn’t work as it should. But before you hit the panic button, take a deep breath and check this troubleshooting guide. Often the fix is easier than you think-allowing you to get your outdoor lighting shining bright again in no time.

Do you have power for your transformer?

It sounds obvious, but one of the main causes of lighting problems is a faulty electrical connection.

Why a power failure happens

  • Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter (GFCI) outlets trip if the connections get wet due to a heavy rainstorm, melting ice, or your sprinklers.
  • These circuits also trip easily when they get old. If your circuits trip often, they may be old and in need of replacement.

What to do about it

  • Be sure there are no nicks in the wire between the outlet and the transformer.
  • Find the test/reset buttons in your GFCI outlets (they’re located in the middle of the outlet). Then press the reset buttons on each to see if that fixes the problem.

Is your timer set correctly?

Often, landscape lighting doesn’t work as you intended because of a timer problem.

Why do timer issues happen

  • Even timers with a battery backup can fully drain and stop functioning.
  • Power losses and other issues can cause timers to fail to come on at the scheduled time.
  • Old-style, photocell-controlled transformers may develop a short in their wiring, or something may block them, making it hard for them to properly detect lighting changes.
  • Bluetooth transformers can lose track of time after a power outage. As a result, your lighting might turn on and off at the wrong times.

What to do about it

  • Replace battery backups, or contact your landscaper to replace them for you.
  • To test photocells, cover them with black electrical tape to see if they turn on. Then remove the tape and make sure they turn off. If not, they may need to be replaced.
  • Check to see if plants have overgrown the photocells. If so, try trimming away the blockages.
  • Consider switching your timer to an astronomical clock that adjusts to changing nighttime hours. These timers last longer and are more reliable than photocells.

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