Time is up – don’t use interior timer for outdoor systems!

This timer was found at a recent maintenance service call.  The reason it is all rurusted (indoor) timer boxsted and full of pests is because the previous lighting installation company used an interior timer (probably because they are less expensive).  Wet rated timers are a little more expensive, but its the only safe thing to do.

 

The Landscape Lighting Lighting Guru always uses wet rated electrical components when installing landscape lighting.  Seems like a no-brainer to us.

 

If your lighting components look anything like this, please give us a call.  We would love to prevent future damage to your system, or even worse a fire due to a short from corrosion.

Top Two Reasons Down Lights Go Out

With cloudtocloudthe recent rain events, we have had a few customers calling us to tell us that some of their down lights from their trees are not working.

We have found two main culprits for this issue.  One has been fire ants (see recent blog post) and the other has been internal damage to the micro processors from surges caused during cloud to cloud lightning strikes.  This rarely effects landscape lighting that is mounted on the ground, but seems to effect a few LED fixtures that are mounted high up in the trees.   Since this is one of the most beautiful way to use landscape lighting we are looking for a long term solution.

Depending upon the manufacture of those lights, if the damage was caused by lightning, or caused by fire ants the fixtures may not be under warranty.  So far, because of our relationship with Kichler they have warrantied their fixtures.  Other manufactures have decided that they can not control Mother Nature and have not warrantied fixtures.  One such job had 32 fixtures go out recently.  This customer’s only resolution was to turn in the invoice to their home owners insurance.  They received a labor discount because they are on our yearly maintenance agreement plan, but it was still a big hit.

For a limKich_Pres_Club Logo 4cited time Kichler has given the Landscape Lighting Guru a supply of EOS filters to protect older fixtures from this phenomena.  All you have to do is pay for the labor (regular service call rates apply).  Call 210-710-7737 if you are interested in protecting your investment with EOS filters or fire ant protection.

We currently install all new systems’s with 6 month fire ant protection and soon Kichler fixtures will come with then new EOS filter as part of the price.  Until then, we will continue to work with the manufacture to offer them in all our down light installations.

Previous posts on fire ants 

Additional Information on Lightning    http://www.nssl.noaa.gov/education/svrwx101/lightning/types/

Lighting Maintenance Disaster

Ballast embeded in a treeIt is important to have your lighting system installed and maintained by a qualified specialist.  It is also important to continue routine maintenance to ensure your lighting system is working properly and is safe.   The following is from a new clients service call to inspect a pre-exisiting lighting system. Unfortunately, we are called to make repairs on many lighting systems that weren’t installed properly or have been serviced incorrectly and the results can be dangerous.

This landscape lighting was neglected for many years and now this tree has grown over the ballast box.  In addition, when it had been serviced the wires were incorrectly stapled to the tree.   It is only a matter of time until one or both of the compromised branches fall in a big wind storm.  The tree would have to be removed for safety concerns if it was anywhere near a structure or where people congregate.  It it awful that this beautiful, mature tree will not live because of a poor lighting service.

The new homeowners weren’t the ones who ignored the maintenance but they will pay the price of losing a mature tree.  Call us today to find out more about our lighting maintenance plans.

Ants wreak havoc on lighting systems

IMG_3030Those ants may seem tiny but they can cause a huge problem to your outdoor lighting system. In the Guru’s experience servicing lighting systems, one of the biggest problems we see is ants nesting in one of the electrical components. It may not sound like a big deal, but the ants can actually ruin the equipment by either chewing through the components or bringing in dirt to create a nest leading to moisture issues.

There are various opinions on why the ants are attracted to electrical components but the key to fixing the issue is through prevention. We now have a 6 month ant preventative that we add to new systems and can maintain existing systems. They are added to every tree mounted fixture, every jbox, every power post and every transformer.

Don’t let ants ruin your professionally installed landscape lighting system. Protect your investment by keeping the ants out!  We offer lighting maintenance service plans for existing systems that includes the ant treatment.  Give us a call if you are interested 210-710-7737.

Outside is the new Inside

We recently had the opportunity to light up this irresistible outdoor living space for a client.  We love how the tranquil paths lead you to two distinct areas – one perfect for cooking and dining and the other to fun in the sun.

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Top Three Lighting Design Mistakes

Kichler-extra_sellsThere are many companies out there that can offer you outdoor lighting installation but there are few that deliver the correct design to make your home shine.  The Guru believes that the lighting design is just as important as the installation.  This doesn’t necessarily mean that it is more expensive but rather often is the opposite, a well designed system may require fewer lights and save you money!

The lighting guru has been doing this a long time and has had many opportunities to fix others lighting mistakes.  The Top Three Mistakes we see are….

1.  Overstated Lighting – the purpose of outdoor lighting is to compliment the best features of your home, not to make it a beacon in the night sky!  The Guru has seen houses that look so unnaturally lit that it takes away from the look of your home.  More is not always better.

2.  Focusing the Light – You can have a great lighting design and great fixtures installed but if they aren’t focused on the right things, it won’t look good.  It can also be an annoyance to others if the light is pointing at your neighbors home or into the street.  The Guru always makes a point after the full installation to focus each light and make sure it is highlighting what it was supposed to in the original design.

3.  Same Old Design – The Guru hates to see a beautiful home stuck with a basic, overused lighting design.  Some installers design one or two “designs” and use them over and over again.  The Guru truly believes that lighting is an art form and every property deserves a unique design created especially to illuminate its finest features.

Commercial Lighting Success

Warm LED up and down lighting

Warm LED up and down lighting

The Guru has been very busy lately!  We recently completed a project for C&C Groundwater Services installing commercial lighting.  We added warm up and down LED lighting showing off a beautiful 300 year old Live Oak tree over a newly landscaped courtyard.  We also added warm down lighting in a tree at a driveway transition point giving visitors a welcoming entrance.

 

Lighting Design: The Art of Light and Shadows

FLW Cricles Obelisk lcopyrightedAt Landscape Lighting Guru, we like to say outdoor landscape lighting is “The Art of Light and Shadows”.  What do we mean when we say that?

Outdoor Landscape Lighting isn’t only about security and safety of your home but also of illuminating the best features of your home and property.  It is not only about making the outdoor living space usable when it is dark, but it also sets the tone for your gathering.

The Landscape Lighting Guru loves contrast, texture, and beauty provided through shadows, light, and the absence of light.    When the guru does lighting design for a property, he not only considers how the light will illuminate but also considers the shadows it will have.   Landscape lighting done right is truly a work of art.

What’s behind the Gate?

088We recently completed an LED lighting project that really changed the look of their property and allows the client to truly enjoy their backyard at night.  What is behind the gate?  A beautiful courtyard with water features, statues, awindmill and beautifully landscaped beds.  This Fredricksburg property was one of a kind!

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Welcome!

The Landscape Lighting Guru and his whole team are so excited to launch our new website and blog.  We are so fortunate that our business has grown – thank you to all our clients for their continued support.  It has allowed us to make this leap to the next level of the digital world and social media.

We hope that our blog allows you to feel the experience of working with us on a project and enjoying the finished results.  We also hope that we are able to bring you news in the lighting industry and how it can benefit you.  As well as tips and tricks of the trade for the DIYers out there who like to tackle some projects.

Welcome to our website, we encourage your comments and look forward to working with you!