Fall and Winter Landscape Lighting Maintenance Tips and Checklist
Just like that, August has practically come and gone. It’s hard to believe that fall is just around the corner. As the days start to get shorter, and the temperatures begin to cool off, it’s important to prepare your outdoor landscape lighting for the fall and winter.
When the snow starts to fall, providing maintenance to your landscape lighting system probably won’t be the task at the top of your to-do list. Chances are you’ll be focused on keeping your driveway, sidewalk and walkways clear, and getting those winter tires on your vehicle.
While there is a lot to do to prepare for the winter season, our landscape lighting experts at Nite Time Decor are here to tell you that maintaining your landscape lighting system should be a priority. Here’s why:
It Prolongs Your Investment
When you purchased your landscape lighting system, you made an investment in your home and property. You installed a system that would boost your home’s curb appeal, increase safety and security around your home and create a functional outdoor space for you and your family to enjoy. It’s important to remember all of this when winter rolls around.
While conducting regular maintenance checks to your outdoor lighting system may seem like a low priority, it will actually help prolong the life of your system. Don’t get caught having to repair or replace your landscape lighting system when the damage can be easily preventable.
It Can Help Keep You Safe
A landscape lighting system does so much more than simply illuminate the outside of your home and property. It helps create a safe and secure environment. With poor weather conditions in the winter, along with prolonged periods of darkness in the mornings and evenings, your landscape lighting design can be more valuable than ever. A well maintained landscape lighting system can be effective in limiting safety hazards and helping you avoid injuries when you’re going out and about around your home.
What To Look For In A Winter Maintenance Check
If you’ve decided to make the regular fall and winter maintenance of your landscape lighting system a priority, you’re going in the right direction! Now, you’ll need to know what to look for when you’re out inspecting your system.
Basic maintenance for your outdoor lighting system is neither difficult nor complicated, but it should not be overlooked. To help you check this task off of your to-do list, our lighting experts have compiled a helpful checklist list of tips for preparing your landscape lighting system for fall and winter.
Before you begin working through this checklist, remember to disconnect or turn off the power supply for your outdoor lighting system to avoid a nasty or even dangerous surprise especially if you are completing the cleaning and maintenance of your system.
Outdoor Lighting Maintenance Checklist:
Do a ‘Walk About’
The best way to start prepping your landscape lighting for fall is to go outside in the daytime and do a complete ‘walk about’ of your property. Inspect your light fixtures and assess the condition of all wires.
If you notice any scratches on the lenses of your lights, take the time to buff them out or replace the lenses altogether. If your landscape lighting design operates all year long, scratches can take away the effectiveness of your system. And don’t just stop with the scratches! Spend the extra hour to clean your fixtures. Clean fixtures are well-maintained fixtures. You’ll have an easier time in the spring maintaining your Oakville landscape lighting fixtures if you start off winter with them in the best condition.
Take a minute to tighten the screws on your transformer’s terminal blocks and remove any debris from the inside cabinet housing. Now’s a great time to replace any batteries used in timers or motion sensors. Trim back any landscaping that’s become overgrown and is covering light fixtures.
Check for New Plant Growth
You should review your lighting on a regular basis to make sure that as your trees, and shrubs are growing they are not damaging or obstructing your fixtures. Prune or trim back branches and leaves to make sure that each fixture can provide the illumination it was intended to provide, and so that you can complete the other maintenance tasks.
Check Exposed Cables Or Damaged Wires
If you happen to notice exposed cables or wires that are torn or damaged, you’ll need to resolve this issue right away. Exposed and damaged cables or wires present a safety risk on your property, especially if you have children or pets in your household. Exposed wiring could get damaged in the heavy winter months also creating additional expenses come spring.
If you have exposed or damaged wires, contact Nite Time Décor immediately and one of our experienced technicians will come and repair or replace the problem wires.
Check Light Fixtures
Review each fixture for signs of damage. You may need to order replacement parts if there is any damage present that cannot be left as is.
During your ‘walk about’ you may notice that your fixtures have shifted since their original installation. This is typical as fixtures may fall victim to foot traffic and lawn maintenance activities over the summer months. If you have any leaning light fixtures on your property, simply restore them to their correct position by straightening them out and tighten the mount if applicable.
You should also make sure they the landscape lighting fixtures are properly adjusted to provide light where they are intended to. This may need to be done after dark to make sure they are adjusted just right.
Clear Leaves and Loose Debris
Depending on the location of the fixture you may need to clear away some debris. Things like fallen leaves and branches, mud and dirt, and even debris from citters can find themselves blocking or partially covering your fixtures – especially if they are located on or near the ground.
For higher fixtures, remove nests and cobwebs and even those dreaded wasp nests – but be careful with that one!
Most homeowners are diligent about removing fallen leaves from the yard, but if you needed an additional reason know that leaves can not only cover your lighting fixtures but they can trap moisture against the fixture and wiring causing damage that will need attention in the spring.
Clear mulch and dry leaves from the light bulbs. This is especially important if your light fixtures do not use LED lighting and might emit a lot of heat. Mulch and dry leaves on uncovered bulbs can be a fire hazard.
Replace Light Bulbs
If you’ve noticed that your lights are not as bright as they once were, perhaps it is time to replace the light bulbs. This may be a good time to convert to a more energy efficient or longer lasting LED bulb. Be sure you choose a new bulb that is compatible with the fixture.
Clean Exterior of Fixtures
Now it’s time to clean. Wash the housings and glass – in most cases warm soapy water will be enough, but if you opt to use a stronger cleaner be careful not to damage the exterior of the fixture. Here’s article that provides more information on cleaning your landscape lighting, “Best Tips For Cleaning Outdoor Lighting Fixtures.”
Be sure to review the manufacturer’s recommendations for cleaning and maintenance specific to your lighting system and various fixtures. And if your system was installed by Nite Time Decor Oakville, we are happy to come check things out.
Update your Landscape Lighting
As with anything else, your outdoor lighting fixtures can become tired. Fall maintenance is a great time to update your landscape lighting system. Replace old fixtures with new, and if you haven’t already, change your bulbs to LED. You’ll save money and energy in the long term with professionally installed landscape lighting with LED lights from Nite Time Décor.
If you’ve had the same landscape lighting setup for quite some time and you’re looking for a change, now is a good time to change up your fixtures.
Cast bronze is a timeless finish that needs to age to get that nice old-penny brown or greenish blue patina. The winter months offer the perfect aging elements so that your fixtures really stand out and look like they were part of the home’s original design by spring. Cast bronze fixture and not only beautiful but are made to withstand cool, wet weather. The cast bronze alloy is strong, impervious to corrosion, and will last a long time.
Alternately, if you’re trying to prevent your cast bronze fixtures from taking on that aged look or patina, fall is a great time to reapply a coating of WD 40 or a clear matte coat finish to protect against the winter elements.
At Nite Time Decor, we work hard to offer our clients environmentally friendly landscape lighting options. One of our most common lighting choices is the LED light. Not only do these incredibly versatile lights offer remarkable savings, but they also last forever, and do not cause harm to the environment. LED lights, or “light emitting diodes” are proven to be more energy efficient than incandescent bulbs. They also emit significantly less heat, thereby reducing pollution. You can count on your LED landscape lights to last as long as 20 years, while still providing the same versatility you would expect of an incandescent bulb.
Any change of season is a great time to think about an upgrade or changing out outdated fixtures.
Change Up The Outdoor Lights For Winter
Around now you may want to make some changes to your landscape lighting design to fit the winter months. Perhaps you want to add a blue bulb to accent that evergreen? Maybe the red lights you had on the flowers in your garden should be changed to white for a more natural effect?
With the new silhouettes created by dormant deciduous trees, you can reposition your lights to cast pretty shadows and silhouettes on the walls of your home.
Maybe it’s time to reset those lights highlighting the evergreens in your yard? Keep in mind that when the leaves fall, your lighting needs to be adjusted to accommodate the lack of foliage. Bare branches are fun when a soft light is used, but the light used in the summer upon foliage might be harsh and severe against bare branches (unless you’re going for a haunted house look).
Consider not using some lights over the winter or tilting them to focus on the trunks of the trees instead of the grim bare branches?
If you haven’t added any string lights to your yard, winter is the perfect season. Twinkling lights across your roofline, snowy patio or front porch railing add visual appeal and hint at warmer weather activities. Just a change in the lighting will increase your winter curb appeal.
Keep in mind what’s under the snow so make sure pathway lights clearly mark pathways that may be unseen. Fire pits are a great feature to highlight in the winter that might be overlooked in the summer. Switch the focus to seasonal plants or planters in the landscaping or on a deck or porch. Try to imagine where the snow lays in your yard and plan the lighting so that it helps direct steps even when there’s snow on the ground.
Don’t forget to reset your timers to match the changing daytime hours. This may be done closer to the winter season, in order to ensure maximum efficiency.
Inspect your system
Make sure that the system is running exactly as it should be. If your system is one of Nite Time Décor’s you will want to check your warranty for any repairs or services that need to be done.
Get Help from the Professionals
Whether your looking for more information about maintaining your landscape lighting system this fall or winter, or you want an experienced lighting technicians to come out and help you with your maintenance and repair needs, Nite Time Decor can help!
Contact us today to request a quote or schedule an appointment.