Landscape Lighting Repair & How To Troubleshoot

repairing led landscape lighting

Repairing your lighting system can be a headache. At the very least! In this post, we will discuss some of the issues that can lead to a failed lighting system, and why they can be difficult to troubleshoot.

Why Are My Lights Not Turning On?

This is a problem that can have many solutions. Usually, it’s best to check to see if your transformer has power before proceeding any further.

If your transformer does have power, and the lights still aren’t turning on, there may be
a short causing the transformer to shut off. There should be a toggle switch or a fuse stat inside the transformer. Check to make sure the toggle switch is in the correct position, or see if your fuse stat is blown. If your toggle switch has flipped itself to the off position, or if your fuse stat has blown, it’s because there is a short somewhere in the system.

What is a Short?

A short happens when there is an arc in the system. You’ll notice that direct burial wire used to power your lighting system has two wires. Arcing occurs when the currents passing through these two wires come into contact with one another. There are several reasons this can occur.

What commonly causes a short? Where does arcing occur?

A cut wire
A bad, wet, corroded, or otherwise damaged socket
A failed wire connection
Frayed wires
Places where the system has been exposed to moisture
Places where wires have been stretched by tree roots, or rubbed against rocks

Why are shorts difficult to troubleshoot?

There are two major reasons. Shorts can occur in strange places, and they can occur in multiple places simultaneously.

It can be frustrating to discover that the short was happening in an odd place it shouldn’t have been. It’s even more frustrating when you discover that the system is still being tripped by something else after you fix the first problem.

How do you reduce the likelihood of your system tripping?

The best way to reduce problems in your system is to make sure it’s installed correctly in the first place. Using well engineered fixtures, quality components, and bulletproof wire connections will ensure you have a system built to last.

Getting your lighting system to turn on and stay on are two different things. If you are having trouble with your lights, inspect them carefully. What kind of condition is your lighting system in?

Why should I consider an outdoor lighting repair professional?

Unless you know a bit about electrical systems or have the tools and abilities to rewire the system where necessary, it is always best to call in a professional repair technician to handle the job.

Our trained repair technicians are experts when it comes to repairing broken fixtures, replacing blown bulbs, fixing electrical timer issues, cleaning fixtures, and plenty more. These are all skills of varying difficulties that you don’t need to teach yourself.

Custom Lighting of America offers an Annual Maintenance Plan for both Halogen and LED systems, individual service calls for accidental damages, and options for servicing, rehabbing, or upgrading systems installed by other contractors.

System not working? Give Harold a call @ 561.204.3000

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3 Practical Ways to Light Up Your Landscape with Spice

Nothing else enhances your garden or yard at night better than LED landscape lighting. It provides an ambient effect to trees, shrubs and flowers. Garden lighting also has a practical side. [Read more…]

The Beauty of Bollard Lights for 2018 Drama and Fun!

led landscape lighting west palm beach

Bollards were originally used to tie up ships at dockside. Today bollards regularly grace all kinds of landscaping projects.

Bollard style lights produce dramatic shadow patterns, adding excitement and fun to your landscape lighting plans. The decorative cutouts project striking patterns onto the ground when combined with appropriate LED lamps.

A new way of thinking about landscape lighting

Bollard lights are one of the most popular options for keeping pathways well lit. They are durable fixtures that also work well on terraces and near entrances, where extra illumination is needed. Casting glare-free down light, bollards allow for guests to move through your outdoor paths without fear of falling or tripping.

Custom Lighting of America has a robust line of bollard lighting solutions in a variety of materials and shapes. Our bollards provide uniform light spread with control to minimize light pollution. Other appealing factors include durable weather and vandal-resistant casings plus an easy to install design.

All of the bollards below are powered by two watts of warm-hued, energy saving 12-volt LED technology.  LEDs produce a higher quality of light while reducing energy and maintenance.

Bollards are  available in 25-inch and 42-inch versions. They anchor securely to decks or concrete. Mounting hardware is included and a lawn-stake mounting base is available.  Our bollards come in a variety of powdered-coated colors with one or more blacked-out sides. Designs on all four sides are standard.

led bollard lights landscape lighting palm beach

Want to add some excitement and distinctive lighting to your landscape?

Give Harold a call at  561.204.3000 or fill out our consultation form here. One of our lighting experts will do a free consult and evaluation on your lighting today.

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Easy Preventative Ways to Maintain Your Landscape Lighting

Just like a car, maintenance for lighting will always be ongoing. It starts with preventative measures.

Plant Placement

Where you place your new plants, flowers & greenery can have an effect on the performance of your lights. Be careful not to place new plants in front of or too close to your lighting fixtures. Sometimes it can be easy to forget that the small plant you just put in your garden won’t be small forever. Plants can quickly over grow and obscure your fixtures.

Trees

When you have a down light mounted in the tree, its best to have your lighting specialists come relocate it for you. If the tree is cut down without removing the fixture first, the fixture could be damaged.

Make sure that your fixture placement is allowing for eventual tree growth. If your fixtures are located too close to this type of tree, they will be enveloped by tree branches in just a year or two.

Keep LED Lamps Dry

The biggest threat to your landscape lighting system is moisture.

If moisture somehow enters the fixture, it needs to be addressed right away. Putting this off can eventually lead to water build up and corrosion inside the fixture. Water damage will lead to failure of an LED lamp faster than anything else.

Moisture can be detected by the presence of a small amount of condensation on the inside of the lens.

Retrofitting LED

This is the best kind preventative maintenance! Retrofitting your old halogen system with an LED upgrade. Halogen lamps burn out every year or so and will have to continually be replaced. LED bulbs are different. You will most likely have to replace an LED lamp after 15 – 20 years.

Annual Service

Having Custom Lighting of America’s team come out once a year to service your system is a highly recommended preventative measure.

They will check the entire system, including:

  • Transformer – timers set correctly, blocks securely fastened, photocells and line balances checked.
  • Fixtures – lenses will be scrubbed and scraped clean, vegetation will be trimmed back and cleaned up.
  • Each LED is examined during the annual maintenance service. If one is found faulty (if it has a burned out diode or other issue) it will be replaced under its warranty.
  • Wire – All exposed wire reburied.

Why Servicing Your System Is Important

Servicing your system and keeping it maintained is the key to ensuring that you will continue to enjoy it. If you wait a long time or just simply keep putting off servicing your system, it will require a lot more work and time to get everything back to the condition it was in when the system was first installed.

If you think your landscape lighting system is in need of a tune up or servicing,  call Harold at  561.204.3000 or fill out our consultation form here. One of our lighting experts will do a free consult and evaluation on your lighting today.

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10 Landscape Lighting Effects That Light Up Your Lawn

As homeowners, we work hard to select unique plants, trees, shrubs and flowers that make our landscaping beautiful. But there is one aspect of landscaping that is often overlooked. When night falls, without landscape lighting, the perfectly planned landscape design literally disappears.

Making Goals for Your Landscape Lighting

Is your goal to illuminate pathways and patios to prevent slip or falls when walking up to your home? Are you looking to light up your backyard space for weekend entertaining? Or are you  adding landscape lighting for increasing your home’s security.

Discover the best techniques for highlighting trees, emphasizing a fountain, or lighting
a garden path.

Download a landscape lighting infographic showing these effects in action.

Here are some of the amazing effects you can achieve:

Down-lighting also referred to as moon lighting, gives the appearance of a full moon shining down on your lawn. This gives a romantic feel to your landscape and is achieved by mounting lighting fixtures facing downward typically from a tree.

Up-lighting provides a bolder, dramatic effect by pointing lighting directly at featured elements within your landscape. This technique uses low-voltage light fixtures that light a tree from the ground up to show off its shape and trunk structure.

Cross-lighting provides your landscape with more depth by lighting featured elements in your yard from both sides. Cross-lighting works well to eliminate unwanted shadows.You don’t want to overdo this effect since that can lead to over lighting and a washed out look.

Silhouetting requires placing a spread light between plant material, sculpture or a fountain and an adjacent structure. The object is then silhouetted in black against a soft white background. Spread lights are halogen bulbs with a mirrored background. They create a wide band of white light, perfect for backlighting.

Shadowing involves washing a feature such as a tree or statue so that it casts a shadow on a wall or fence. The play of light and darkness can be quite dramatic.

Grazing involves spread-lights or up-lights placed right next to the wall with beams directed upwards. This casts shadows that capture the texture of the wall. This effect shows off your stone work on walls and pilasters.

Pathlighting used along paths and steps exists to keep the walker safe. YA carefully lit path can give a sense of romance or adventure – it should make the viewer want to go and see where the pathway might lead.

Spotlighting uses a fixture to highlight a focal point such as a flag, statue or water fountain.
Use one or two spotlights to highlight your favorite feature in the garden.

Pool Lighting is important both for safety and for aesthetics. You can also use underwater lights or ambient lighting in the surrounding landscape to make after-hours swimming inviting to you and your guests.

Washing involves placing the light to the side of what you want to illuminate and let the light “wash” over it, bathing an entire wall or row of bushes. This will create a soft glow over the whole area.

With a little imagination there’s no limit to the number of ways you can add magic to your nighttime landscape with outdoor lighting effects.

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How LED Landscape Lighting Keeps You Safe and Secure

security led landscape lighting palm beach

Properly designed landscape lighting can beautifully highlight architecture, gardens, trees, walkways, fountains and other interesting features of your landscape. [Read more…]

How Security Camera Systems Boost Your Company’s ROI

security camera systems

An extra set of eyes is never a bad thing. Video surveillance security systems ensure that your business has a watchful eye out 24/7. No matter what, why or when …  each part of your business is protected with real-time and recorded video.

The needs of every business are different. Some require surveillance across multiple locations, while others do not. Some businesses need advanced functionality, while others only require a basic system to capture and record footage.

The best security camera systems help small business owners deter theft from shoplifters and employees, stop property damage from vandals, assist in monitoring employee and contractor work, and document everything in detail so it is available for insurance providers or law enforcement.

Video surveillance offers many benefits to the business owner. It protects against outside break-ins and burglaries and also plays a critical role in sustaining your business, making it a safer place to work.

Prevent Employee Theft

According to the U.S. Department of Commerce, about 75% of employees steal. Unfortunately, one of the only ways to catch them in the act and reclaim your assets is with a surveillance camera. When employees know they’re under surveillance, they’ll think twice before taking such a risk.

Reduce Insurance Costs

Many insurance providers today offer discounted insurance rates when you buy surveillance cameras for your store or office. A dependable indoor or outdoor surveillance system assures your insurance provider that you’re taking the necessary steps to protect your business from theft, which in turn, makes their job easier. Your business suddenly becomes less of a liability on their end.

Employee Monitoring

Are your employees actually working the full 8-hour shift, or are they spending their time doing something else? With the right surveillance cameras, you can find out what your employees are doing, and if any measures are needed to boost efficiency. This is especially helpful for retail business owners that can use monitoring to find out if they’re over or understaffed.

A Safer Workplace

Protecting your employees is just as important as protecting your business. Security cameras should be mounted at entrances, exits, and in parking lots to create a safer environment for your employees. This security tactic also prevents vehicle break-ins, vandalism, and other petty crime activity around your office or store.

Security cameras can do much more for your business than catch criminals. They’re designed to secure, protect, and monitor your company and employees. Discover how easy it is to safeguard your assets, better serve your employees, and improve the day-to-day operations of your business with a surveillance camera that’s built to help you in many ways.

Our security systems work for you, keeping you and your business safe and secure. Installed by one of our trained professionals, our commercial security cameras can be as discreet or distinct as you like.

Choosing a camera system for your business is one of the most important decisions you will make. Securing your business with American Surveillance Cameras security systems couldn’t be easier. Set up an appointment, get a free quote and have ASC security cameras for your business installed. Give us a call at 561-204-3000 or contact us HERE.

Talk with us today about how we can provide 24/7 protection.

New Outdoor Surveillance Camera System with Your Smartphone

security cameras

Want to keep an eye on what’s happening at home when you’re not there? We have you covered!

Custom Lighting of America is proud to introduce the Dahua Technology [Read more…]

Why Turtle Season in Jupiter Gets Serious. A Cautionary Tale.

Did you know that the simple flip of a switch can spare countless endangered sea turtles?

Nighttime lighting tends to lure hatchling turtles to crawl inland instead of seaward after emerging from their beach nests. As a result, they often die from dehydration, get run over or become prey for raccoons, crabs or ants.

The 2017 sea turtle nesting season on Florida’s Atlantic coast begins March 1st! So from March 1 through Oct. 31, all indoor and outdoor lights visible from the beach must be shielded, repositioned, replaced or turned off from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m. Bright beach lights, flashlights, flash cameras, video recorders and other types of artificial lighting aren’t allowed either.

Disturbing a sea turtle, its nests or hatchlings also is illegal.

Those who violate local marine turtle lighting ordinances face fines of up to $500 and six months in county jail.

At night wild sea turtles weighing hundreds of pounds lumber out of the sea and onto the sands in an ancient ritual to lay their eggs. While on the beach, sea turtles are timid and vulnerable and can be easily frightened away if disturbed.

It takes between one to three hours for the female turtle to lay her approximately 110 ping pong ball-sized eggs.

Sea turtles, among the oldest creatures on earth, have remained essentially unchanged for 110 million years. However, they face an uncertain future. Illegal harvesting, habitat encroachment, and pollution (physical and light) are only some of the things sea turtles must face as each species struggles to stay alive.

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission helps to protect and conserve marine turtles and their habitat. You can help protect Florida’s endangered and threatened marine turtles by making a donation to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. Your donation will help fund research at the Florida Fish and Wildlife Research Institute and conservation efforts by the Imperiled Species Management Section. With each donation of five dollars or more, you will receive your choice of one of the waterproof decals featured. Current year marine turtle decals are available at Florida County Tax Offices.

Seeing a sea turtle crawl onto the beach at night and lay dozens of eggs is a special experience. You are witnessing one of earth’s oldest creatures perform a ritual that has been done for 110 million years.

It’s important for you not to disturb them, whether watching a large female turtle dig its sandy nest or the small hatchlings break out of their eggs and nests and head for the sea. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) reminds everyone not to get too close, shine lights on, or take flash photos of nesting sea turtles or hatchlings.

More Information:

Sea Turtles and Lights
FWC Approved Sea Turtle Lighting Guidelines

Remember to call Harold at 561.204.3000 for all your LED landscape lighting needs.

How to Create Patina on Copper Fixtures. An Easy Tutorial.

led outdoor landscape lighting palm beach county
This is one of the few times when natural aging is a good thing! Such is patina, that process when copper, left to its own devices, transforms itself from a bright, shiny new penny shade, to a burnished brown, and finally to a distinct green color.

This unique characteristic of copper is completely natural and actually preserves the copper and protects it from the outside elements.

Fixtures in natural copper and brass are a living finish and are intended to change color or patina over time. If you want to speed up the patina process, here is a tutorial on how to get the patina  look you want overnight.

** CAUTION – When handling and applying patina solution, wear gloves and safety glasses. Follow safety instructions carefully on the containers.

Spread newspaper under plant material to protect it. It is best to install pathlight fixtures first, then apply solution. Fixtures should be cleaned to remove oil and dirt with Windex®-type cleaner.

GREEN PATINA FORMULA

2 parts white vinegar
1 1/2 parts non-detergent ammonia
1/2 part non-iodized salt

Application:

•  Clean fixture with soft cloth Windex®-type cleaner to remove oil and dirt.
•  Premix patina solution in Windex-type spray bottle
•  Spray Windex® cleaner on fixture to break surface tension, leaving it on when you apply patina solution.
•  Apply patina solution by spraying onto fixture, preferably in the early evening on a high humidity night.
•  Allow to set for 1 hour, then reapply solution observing where you missed applying on the first coat. If there seems to be oil that is repelling the patina solution, clean it off with the Windex® cleaner.
•  Allow to sit overnight.
•  The result will be a bright green powdery patina. Do not rub off. In time (and re-applications) this finish will become permanent. The brightness will fade with time. To reduce green, cut back on the salt content. Color and effect is greatly affected by application ambient temperature and humidity.

** Courtesy of Unique Lighting Systems

Remember to call Harold at 561.204.3000 for all your LED landscape lighting needs.
– By Harold Salkin
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