Outdoor lights not working? Usually, the first indication of an electrical problem is a light or appliance not turning on. When this happens, it can either be the device itself, a faulty electrical connection, short circuit or electrical overload.
To help determine the possible causes and potential remedies of your outdoor lighting problem, use the troubleshooting guide below.
Troubleshooting Landscape Lights
Light Won’t Turn On
Lights not turning on can be cause by a variety of things.
Burned out bulb – first, make sure the bulb doesn’t need replacing.
Faulty switch – contact an electrician to replace the defective switch.
Loose wiring – contact an electrician to tighten connections at the fixture or switch.
Short circuit – a short circuit happens when there is an electrical arcing situation from things like wet, frayed, corroded, and damaged wires. The flow of extra electrical current causes the breaker to trip.
Overloaded circuit – check your electrical panel to see if you’ve overloaded the circuit. If the outdoor lights continue to trip the breaker or blow a fuse, contact an electrician right away.
Damaged wiring – sometimes a gardener or animal can accidentally cut a wire. It’s always a good idea to inspect the wiring.
It can be difficult to distinguish between an overload and a short circuit. Short circuits will continue to trip the breaker so if it happens twice in a row, you may have a short circuit. Contact an electrician to diagnose the situation.
Short Circuit vs Overload
A blown fuse or tripped breaker is a clear sign of either an electrical overload or a short circuit. Inspect your receptacles, fixtures, and appliances that are connected to the blown circuit. If you see discoloration, burn marks, or any other clear signs of damage, that could be the cause. Contact an electrician if you notice any electrical damage.
If after restoring power the fuse blows or breaker trips, you probably have a short circuit.
If you suspect a short circuit, turn off power to that circuit at the electrical panel. Contact an electrician and don’t turn power back on again until a professional has deemed it safe to do so.
Learn more about overloads and short circuits.
Dimming and Flickering Lights
If one or more of your lights are dimming and/or flickering, there are many possible causes:
Loose electrical connections – first, try tightening any loose light bulbs. If that doesn’t work, inspect the area for frayed cords and other signs of electrical damage. When in doubt, contact your professional electrician.
Bad weather & power grids – dimming and flickering lights can be a sign of an impending storm. Also, if there is a lot of electrical demand on the grid, you may experience some dimming.
Learn more about the causes behind dimming and flickering lights.
If you have a light timer, switch it to the on/off override so you can turn the lights on and off manually. Contact your landscape lighting specialist if you have any questions about your light timers.
How to Prevent Outdoor Lighting Problems
The best way to keep the lights on is by having them installed and maintained properly. If your outdoor lighting has seen better days and is in constant need of repair, consider upgrading your outdoor lighting system.
It’s also a good idea to schedule regular landscape lighting maintenance. Ask us about our Lighting Maintenance Program.
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