Outdoor lighting is essential for the safety and security of your home. Like every other product you have in and on your house, exterior light fixtures and wiring need to be maintained in order to function properly and maximize their lifespan. If it's been awhile since you've inspected your outdoor lights or you've noticed your system is behaving oddly, here are three signs it may need repairing.
Noisy or Dancing Lights
One of the most telling signs your outdoor lighting system may need some attention is light bulbs that make noise, are too bright or too dim, or flicker. The exact repair needed depends on the type of symptoms the bulb is exhibiting. A bulb that is suddenly burning too bright, seems dimmer than when you previously looked at it, or making a humming sound typically indicates it's about to blow out. Go ahead and swap the bulbs with new ones to avoid experiencing any gaps in the protection provided by your outdoor system.
Flickering lights can mean the bulb is about to extinguish too. However, it can also indicate the bulbs may be sitting loose in their sockets and need to be tightened. However, if you check and the bulbs appears to be secure in the sockets, then flickering lights may indicate a problem with the circuits, particularly if you're experiencing flickering lights in or around other parts of your home. It's essential you have a professional electrician look at the circuits connecting your outdoor lighting. A loose connection can cause injury to you, your family, and your home.
If you live in an area where you get quite a bit of rain or recently experienced flooding, you need to check the outdoor wiring on a regular basis for water damage. Generally, the wires used to hook up outdoor lighting are covered in weather-resistant materials. However, these materials can degrade over time and/or be damaged by environmental elements. In particular, wire housing can be damaged if it's exposed to water for long periods of time or the water is contaminated with chemicals, salt, oils, or other harmful substances. For instance, the Seaside Boardwalk caught fire in part because the saltwater brought in by Super Storm Sandy corroded electrical systems.
The two main things you want to look for when you inspect the cords and wiring to outdoor lighting is pooling and buzzing. Any wiring that has been submerged in water should at least be inspected by a professional who will determine if the wires need to be replaced, especially if you notice cracks or breaks in the housing.
If you hear a buzzing noise coming from some wires after it rains, have an electrician come out immediately to deal with them. Do not handle them yourself. This type of noise usually indicates the wires are holding a charge, and you could receive a nasty shock from them if you get too close—particularly if there are pools of water around.
Ant Nests Around Lights
A third thing that may indicate your outdoor lighting needs attention is if you find ant nests around your lights. Fire ants in particular can be very harmful to exterior lights and other electrical equipment. These little bugs don't think twice about climbing inside fixtures, outlets, and transformers and can cause a lot of damage to those items, increasing the risk of a fire or other hazards.
If you notice fire ant nests around your lights, get your property treated as soon as possible and then have an electrician come out and fix any damage these pests may have caused.
For help with fixing problems with your outdoor lights, contact a local electrician from a company like Lowry Services: Electric, Plumbing, Heating & Cooling.