When your outdoor lights go out, it’s easy to jump to conclusions and assume that a major disaster caused the problem. However, when we’re on service calls to fix lighting issues, we usually discover that there is a very simple solution.
To remedy an outdoor lighting outage, here are five items to check when trying to fix one or more outdoor lights that have gone out:
5 Items To Check If Your Outdoor Lights Go Out
Check the power at the outlet
You always want to rule out the simplest problem first, so before you go digging for wires, check to see if you have power at the outlet that is connected to your outdoor lighting system. It sounds obvious, but sometimes people forget this crucial detail.
Look for circuits or GFIs that may be tripped
If you have power, then the next thing to look for is circuits or GFIs inside your house that may have been tripped. First, open up your circuit panel to see if a circuit has been flipped. If it is not the circuit, then next check the GFI outlets and press the reset button.
When a surge occurs, it can cause circuits or GFIs to trip, and anything that is connected to that power source won’t function until power is restored. This could mean a random GFI in your garage might have lost power, causing your outdoor lighting system to go out.
If you have established that you have power at the outlet and no circuits or GFIs are tripped, then it’s time to call the electrician. But don’t panic yet – it’s probably a simple fix. You could have a problem with a GFI or another minor electrical issue.
Evaluate the secondary circuit in the transformer
After checking power sources in the house, it’s time to go to the transformer itself and take a look at the secondary circuit. Find a switch or button inside the box. If that switch or button is off, that means a circuit tripped. To resolve the issue, flip the switch back on – if it trips again, that means there is a short circuit somewhere in the wiring connected to the lights.
A short circuit is simply caused by two wires touching, which means a wire was cut. Figure out if anyone has been digging in your yard recently (a landscaper, irrigation company, invisible fence installation, etc), and if so, call your lighting company to have them find the cut wire and fix it.
An easy way to identify when a wire is cut in the future is to keep your outdoor lights turned on when a landscaper or contractor is digging on your property, even during the day. That way, if a wire is cut, the contractor will notice a light go out, and he can mark the spot where he was digging when the problem occurred. This will make it much easier for your lighting company to quickly identify the location of the cut and repair it.
Check the timer
Next, check the timer. See if the timer is correctly programmed and functioning as it should. If you’re unsure if the timer is faulty, unplug the timer and plug the lights directly into the power source and see if that solves the issue. If it does, then you may need to reprogram or replace your timer. Thankfully, that’s only a small expense these days – you can find a new smart timer for under $50.
Home automation is not just for the home of the future, it’s for modern-day homes, allowing your exterior lighting to be integrated into your smart devices.
Consider the worst-case scenario
So, you’ve established that there’s nothing wrong with the main power source from the house, the transformer doesn’t have any visible issues, and the timer is working properly.
Now it’s time to consider larger, more complex problems, i.e. the worst-case scenario. Your transformer could be completely blown, possibly due to a lightning strike, or all the wires coming out of the transformer could have been cut at once — your landscaper could have accidentally found the exact point before the wires start begins. Both of these scenarios are highly unlikely, but if you can’t find a simpler answer to the problem, call your landscape lighting company to find out if either accident could have happened.
Our team at Enlightened Lighting always works hard to ensure you won’t have any issues with your lighting system, but if any issue does arise, you can always call us. Our skilled and attentive maintenance team responds to inquiries quickly and we can get your lights up and running again in no time.