Fall is beautiful. The crisp air and the vibrant foliage to indicate a change of season. Football, long nights and family gathering around the fire pit. There are so many reasons to love fall. But, those beautiful fall leaves in combination with your landscape lighting system can create a dangerous fire hazard in your yard that you may not have considered.
Last season, we received a call from a home owner informing us she needed a repair to her landscape lighting system that had been installed by another company many years prior. Her system had caught fire. She had pulled out of her garage in the morning and noticed smoke coming up from some shrubs in her front yard.
A closer look revealed a small fire smoldering in her front yard. The cause – dry fall leaves had collected in a landscape lighting fixture and heated up to the point of catching fire. Thankfully, the homeowner noticed the smoke and was able to put the fire out before it spread to her home. Here are some tips to make sure your landscape lighting system is an asset to your home, not a hazard.
- Keep the Fixtures Clear of Debris.
During the fall, make a point to check your fixtures, particularly uplights and fixtures mounted on the ground. Clear away pine needles, mulch, leaves and debris. This will not only prevent debris from heating on the fixture, but also keep the desired lighting effect.
- Have Covers Installed on Your In-Ground Lighting Fixtures.
A plastic or glass cover will add a layer of protection to your fixture and keep debris from resting directly on the bulb.
- Switch to LED.
One of the best investments you can make in your lighting system is LED lamps. LED lamps use significantly less energy, last 5 times longer and most importantly from a safety aspect, they burn incredibly cool. An LED lamp never burns warm enough to trap heat and light something on fire.
- Get Your System Serviced If it Is Not Working Properly.
If you notice a portion of your lighting or your entire system stops working, call a lighting professional and have the system inspected. Sometimes, the issue is simply a tripped circuit or a bulb burned out, but sometimes a non-functioning system is a sign of a potentially dangerous issue. Our lighting technicians have come across many situations where a dog or squirrel has dug up or chewed through live wire and left it exposed above ground. Having the system inspected is worth the peace of mind.