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THE SECRETS OF LANDSCAPE LIGHTING REVEALED
If you still have lighting in your backyard that you bought from the big box store five or six years ago, then you have been left way behind! Andrew Landscape has been installing landscape lighting throughout the Inland Empire, Orange County, parts of Los Angeles County and yes, even up into the San Bernardino mountains of Southern California, for over thirty years. And it seems like the lighting we installed six years ago is already obsolete. Now don’t get me wrong, the lights are still doing their job making the landscape look beautiful at night, but the efficiency, (and who’s not trying to be more energy efficient these days,) and quality of the light itself has changed so much in the last few years, you wouldn’t believe the difference.
We’re currently working on a job for a repeat, repeat, repeat customer. Part of the work includes upgrading and changing the old lighting. The owner told me we could probably just reuse the old transformer since it was still working. Oh my God! I took a look at the old lighting transformer from maybe fifteen years ago and couldn’t believe how old it looked compared to the new transformers. I don’t mean just worn looking. I’m talking about engineering! What a change!! One of the biggest changes is the timer that is part of most transformers. In the “old days” the timer was built into the transformer unit. When the timer stopped working you had to replace the whole transformer. That was nuts! I complained to some of the lighting companies for years about this. The timer would die but the transformer itself was still working just fine. With the broken down timer, now you had to go out and plug in the transformer when you wanted the lights on and go outside to unplug it when it was time to turn them off. That’s assuming you remembered to go back outside to unplug the transformer.
The new transformers don’t even come with a timer built in anymore. They now provide you with a timer that costs about $15.00 that just plugs into the unit. When it dies, you just go to the hardware store and buy a new timer and plug it into your $400.00 transformer. (Cost depends on the number of lights you’re working with). It only took me about fifteen years of complaining about timers, but they finally listened to me. In all my years of doing landscape and landscape lighting, I don’t think I’ve ever seen a lighting transformer stop working. Unless of course everything was wired up wrong and fried the poor thing.
You also need to see the difference with the new LED lighting. It’s hard to explain, but the light color is so much better than incandescent. What’s really neat with LED landscape lighting is the cost to install. We can use a much smaller transformer (big savings for the homeowner), and the wiring cost is also much less. It took us some time to get used to it, but the LED lights use such a small amount of power, the transformer size and wiring size and runs are greatly reduced. Now you do need to understand that currently the cost for an LED fixture is more than incandescent, but you do save money on the other components of the lighting system. And to make it that much better, there is a lighting company that is providing a fifteen year warranty on the LED part of the fixture. That’s amazing!! In that fifteen year period, if the fixture stops lighting up your back yard, they will replace the LED mechanism. Of course you need to realize that in fifteen years you’d probably want to upgrade your fixtures anyway.
Remember, when you spend a little money for some beautiful landscape lighting, you double the enjoyment time in your backyard. The money you spent to landscape your yard for all your day time use can now be used into the night and the difference can be magical. It’s time to enjoy those warm summer nights outside, and not just sitting in front of the TV in the house. Who knows, you might even want a TV in your outdoor family room. If you need some help planning and or installing your lighting system, give us a call here at Andrew Landscape Construction. Enjoy your time with your lighting system this summer, but most importantly, enjoy it with family and friends. Happy LED lighting!