Typical of most every mechanical appliance, the components of the landscape lighting system will require periodic maintenance in order to keep the system operating at peak performance. The wise Lighting Installer will incorporate a Lighting Maintenance Program into his or her offering. Maintenance will typically include lamp replacement, fixture, transformer and cable inspection, cleaning and repair.
Lamp maintenance should be performed regularly as voltage to lamps will increase as lamps burn out, thus accelerating the burnout of the remaining lamps. The type of lamps installed and their average lamp life, the operating voltage at the lamps and the length of time each lamp operated each day will determine the lamp maintenance schedule.
Lamp Type Average Lamp Life
Incandescent 900 – 1200 hours.
Halogen 2000 – 4000 hrs
Xenolux 8000 hrs
Average Lamp Life is based on lamps receiving 12 volts. Lamps fed 11 volts will burn up to 3 times longer. Lamps fed 14 volts will burn out 7 times quicker than normal. If lamps seem to be burning out prematurely, test the voltage at the fixtures to make sure the lamp is not receiving excessive voltage.
Since different lamp types will burn out at different rates, it is best to include a maintenance schedule that will allow for frequent visits.
Start fixture maintenance by removing lens caps and blowing the bugs and cobwebs out of the lamp and socket housing with compressed air.
Fixture maintenance should include cleaning of lenses and repositioning and/or re-aiming the fixture. As plant material grows, it will become necessary to reposition and re-aim the fixture in order to maintain its function. Be sure to leave extra cable at each fixture location during installation to allow for repositioning of the fixture in the future!
Maintenance can also include the cleaning of powder coated fixtures by spraying them with a Windex-type agent and wiping clean with a damp rag. Clean bird droppings off copper and brass fixtures, otherwise, let them patina naturally.
Uplite Fixture lenses will become “frosted” over time if subject to a continuous flow of irrigation water. Apply “Rain-X” to the lens cover to help minimize the calcification of the cap. If fogged, clean water deposits with Lime Away or Efferdent Denture Cleaner.
Powder coated fixtures should be cleaned by spraying a Windex-type cleaner and wiping clean with a damp rag. Clean dropping off copper and brass fixtures, otherwise, let them patina naturally.
Fixture maintenance should also include the repair or replacement of broken or damaged stakes and mounting options. If repositioned uplight fixtures create “glare”, add a hex baffle to minimize the nuisance.
Straighten all Pathlights. Crooked pathlight fixtures are a visual annoyance!
Blow out the bugs and cobwebs with canned compressed air.
Check for corrosion.
Apply a corrosion prevention sealer to all sockets.
If socket shows advanced signs of corrosion, it is wise to re-socket the fixture.
If bugs or debris has collected in the Transformer cabinet, blow out the rubbish with compressed air.
Tighten each Common and Voltage Tap Lug as they can vibrate loose over time.
Check Amperage on each Common Lug. (maximum amperage = 25 amps/per common)
Check all switching mechanisms and adjust timers if necessary.
Check and test all GFCI receptacles, receptacle cover plates
Check all visible electrical connections, J-Boxes, switches, etc.
CABLE AND CABLE CONNECTORS
Inspect all exposed cable for nicks and wear. Repair or replace if necessary.
Closely inspect cable and cable ties in trees for girdling.
If cable ties are used to attach cable to trees, replace ties annually.
Inspect exposed cable for animal damage. Squirrels, rabbits and other creatures are known to chew on cable like licorice!
If cable connections are not fully waterproof, replace with a waterproof connection. Non-waterproof connectors will allow moisture to creep into the copper cable. Eventually, a corrosive build up within the cable will cause increased voltage drop and a dimming of the lamp’s performance!
As plants and trees grow, repositioning of fixtures or trimming of plant material will become necessary. Be sure to include this service in the lighting maintenance package and do not leave it up to the landscape maintenance crew to perform this task for you! You are the lighting artisan and know what effect each fixture is designed to perform.
Upon completion of the System Maintenance, attach an ID sticker on the inside of the Transformer with your company name, phone number, date of service and name of service technician as a courtesy to your customer. Drop off your bill for the services performed and pull out your planner to schedule the next system.