Tips for outdoor lighting
Can someone please provide some ideas on how to maintain my exterior lighting throughout winter?
Would suggest firstly, to ensure that low voltage (ie 12V or 24V) harden lights are cleaned properly during the winter.
The reason for this is that sort of dirt, dust, rotting leaves etc very quickly start to stop the lights getting through.
So keep the light diffuser spotless is really essential for optimal lighting, This is realy important if the lights are low, or if they are under vegeration like trees.
I would suggest to clean your lights regularly with a rag, but make sure that the rag does not scratch your lights, and also if you use a cleaner make sure the cleaner is very gentle.
This is very important after big storm - whether it be rain or wind.
There is another point as well: after lots of heat and rain, the underground wires can work their way loose, even coming to the surface if they were shallow.
While low voltage wires are not dangerous, they can be very expensive to replace so you might need to look around for them and cover them back up - and any damaged wires should be fixed by an electrician.
Thee is another point in that lights can get damaged by trees or branches falling down, or not so much damaged but moved around.
You should wonder around your garden every now and again, and move light to their correct positions if they were moved.
Lights can actually get completely covered by leaves and stuff like that - which can be VERY expensive when someone else tries to do work, for example mow your lawn. So be careful, I had a few lights last winter that were chopped by my gardener.
Also be aware that fluctuating temperature from hot to cold, which often occurs in winter or at the outback, tends to shorten the life of your entire light fitting and globes. If the fitting has replaceable globes, youmight need to change them every few months.
That's correct, globes can be damaged by changing temperatures and that is especially true of halogen globes. That's why it is pretty important to get globes covered by warranty and I would recommend LED fittings as they last longer.
Lots of water, specially if the storm is torrential, can get into light fittings if it is not fully waterproof. So make sure you get light fittings with a high IP Rating that can handle rain with lots of wind, which can lift the water into the fitting.
The other thing that can be damaged are the transformers - in fact if there is a problem I would firstly check these to ensure they are ok. But be EXTREMELY careful and make sure they are disconnected from the mains, and use plastic gloves.
The other thing is that ground lights can get damaged very quickly if they are covered by dirt and leaves, and/or if water puddles collect on them. So make sure these are kept clean and also ensure that you purchase marine grade ground lights wherever possible.
It is a good point that light fittings should be marine grade - even if you are not within 10km of the coast, I would still recommend them. They last a lot longer.
During any time of year bugs and insects collect on outdoor fittings. These are not only ugly and reduce the light being emitted, but also will damage your light - so clen these out regularly.
Make sure that your wiring is not too close to the surface, and that your connections are well insulated. During winter these will be heavily stressed.
Just want to remind everyone that if you are are doing a DIY fix of lights during winter, you are dealing with electricity which can obviously be fatal. So extreme care is required!
Glass lenses need to be cleaned all the time, I know during winter all sorts of dirt collects on my outdoor lights.