Well, it seems the future is here as far as LED lighting is concerned. You can find those LED bulbs almost anywhere. You can replace household incandescent or CFL bulbs with these LEDs and save money in the long run. I’ve recently replaced my long tube fluorescents in my garage and kitchen with LED tubes. I had to learn the specific modifications needed to make them work correctly. But that was just a small learning curve. The new challenge was fun and rewarding.
I’m here to talk about LED landscape lighting though. There is a lot of LED landscape lighting on the market at all the home stores and online. I’m a fan of the LED bulbs in general, but not in all applications. Especially LED landscape lighting bulbs as a retro-fit option or even on a new installation.
Most of the problems I’ve seen with landscape lighting fixtures is the socket. Over time, the socket’s tension springiness lose the ability to squeeze onto the bulb pins. This can prevent complete contact for the bulb circuit. The socket is also out in the elements indirectly or directly. Even though most fixtures may look weather tight with O-rings and rubber seals, they will still get moisture in them.
These fixtures are installed on a stake in the soil. The fixture stems are at least soil level or lower. Because of that, the moisture I’ve seen comes in where the wire enters the stem. The moisture is from rain or sprinkler water. Ants will also build around and in the fixtures sometimes, bringing in more moisture.
My point for all of this brings me to a landscape lighting fixture that is solid state. Meaning, no sockets and a completely sealed enclosure with the LED components built into the fixture. There are a few brands out there that do this. This makes the fixture virtually maintenance free. But the point where the wire comes into the stem is still a possible entry point for moisture. Although, I haven’t had issues with this yet.
So, nothing is completely weather tight, but by choosing a fixture without sockets, you will reduce the amount of moisture damage and socket maintenance in the future. This will reduce purchasing new bulbs, bi-annual or annually, due to burned out, broken, or fading illumination. And buying new bulbs that are out because of bad sockets.
No matter who you decide to use to install or retro-fit your LED landscape lighting, please consider using a solid state fixture to eliminate some headaches in future lighting repairs.
Feel free to email me if you have any questions.