How to Reset your GFCI Outlet

gfci reset buttonHave your exterior lights stopped working and you can’t figure out why?  As part of your troubleshooting, you should check your GFCI outlets.  A tripped outlet is often the cause of lighting issues and it is a simple fix.  To reset a GFCI outlet, you just press the red reset button on your outlet.

Here is the tricky part of the troubleshooting…you should check ALL of your GFCI outlets in your home.  Just because the outlet your transformer is plugged into isn’t a GFCI outlet, doesn’t mean it isn’t being protected by another outlet in the house.

One device will usually be protecting several normal-looking outlets downstream from it.  So if outlets have gone dead outdoors, there is a very good chance that a GFCI somewhere else has tripped off.  The search to find all possible GFCIs can be frustrating as the outlet may not be in a logical place or one you use often.  It maybe that the outdoor outlets are dead from the GCFI in your bathroom or an outlet never used behind a pile of boxes in the garage.

If you have checked all your outlets and/or you have found one but it won’t reset, it may be time to call in a professional to take a look. Landscape Lighting Guru does do service calls – just give us a call at 210-710-7737 to schedule an appointment.

 

Why is lighting maintenance important?

Well another poor tree that has grown over a ballast box due to lack of embeded ballast box 2 and 3maintenance.  If you have ballast boxes then please understand that they need attention at a minimum once a year.  They need to be backed off the trees to prevent a rot spot from growing on the tree.  Once rot happens this becomes a conduit for pest to get into the tree and eventually rot out the inside of the tree.  If you have ballast boxes, please contact the Landscape Lighting Guru for regular maintenance.  We will back your fixtures, wire, and ballast boxes off the trees, as well as insert 6 month fire ant pest shield to help prevent future damage to your system.

 

Its to late for this poor tree…we have to do a little tree surgery.  You may be able to greatly reduce the quantity of boxes if you are ready to convert to LED.  We have many different options available to you.  Please call the Guru at 210-710-7737 to find out which option is best for you.

Let custom light fixtures light up your world

LED fish baskets lighting We recently designed custom lanterns for a client using fish baskets.  The baskets were retrofitted to run 120 degree warm Low Voltage LED lamps for all weather safety.

The lanterns hang in this beautiful oak tree casting the most amazing shadow’s on the ground and on the tree as they sway in the breeze.

Do you have a custom lamp idea?  Get with the Landscape Lighting Guru to see if we can bring your dreams to reality with custom light fixtures.DSC_0192

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.