Tips to Prepare Landscape Lighting for Winter

As we prepare to turn the clocks back, days are shorter, and our homes are surrounded by more darkness. Just like checking the batteries in your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, you should ensure your outdoor lighting is ready for winter conditions in New Jersey.

Reprogram the Timing for Your Exterior Lighting Systems

Falling back doesn’t just mess up your car’s clock. It also confuses your outdoor lighting. If your lighting system has a timer, make sure to update the turn-on and turn-off hours to reflect shorter days. 

Inspect Your Lighting Zones at Night

As the days grow darker, it’s time to review your exterior lighting zones and fixtures for maximum aesthetics and safety. Walk your property and ensure you don’t have any burned-out bulbs or gaps in lighting coverage and that the light pattern is sufficient for the thickest snowfalls. 

Inspect and Clean Fixtures During the Day

It’s time to take another walk around your property. This time, take your stroll during the day. Remove the light covers, check the condition of the cover, socket, wiring, and bulb and ensure the components are not damaged. If you find damage to sockets or electrical wiring, hire a professional to perform the repairs safely.

During the summer, light fixtures accumulate dirt, dust, leaves, and cobwebs. Critters build nests and webs too. When the weather turns colder, we recommend turning off the power to your outdoor lighting and giving the fixture and bulbs a gentle cleaning with a manufacturer-approved cleaning method and product.  

Store Fixtures not Rated for Winter

Not all outdoor lighting fixtures are built to endure New Jersey winters. If you have decorative lights that are not rated for winter, it’s time to store them until spring. If you have delicate fixtures that are vulnerable to extreme winter conditions, remove them and replace them with a more durable fixture. If you cannot safely remove the delicate fixture, turn the power off to the light and place a protective cover over the fixture.

Light Bulbs for Freezing Temperatures

Not all light bulbs operate well below freezing. Standard Compact Fluorescent Light bulbs (CFL)  are ineffective once temperatures drop below 40 degrees. Fluorescent lights do not generate enough heat to work properly in temperatures below 50 degrees. The light bulb might flicker or not work at all during winter months. Halogen light bulbs burn too hot for freezing temperatures. The filament becomes brittle and susceptible to breakage if the bulb is continually exposed to below-freezing temperatures.

The best light bulbs for cold weather are Light Emitting Diode (LED). They are long-lasting, cold-weather friendly, and save you money on your energy bill. Switching to LED bulbs helps offset the costs of keeping your home cozy during the winter.

Best Types of Outdoor Lighting for Winter

Outdoor lighting isn’t just important in warmer months. During darker and colder months, outdoor lighting brightens the drab and blah winter months. Winter lighting provides essential security functions too. Well-lit homes deter criminals and help avoid winter hazards like slipping and tripping.

Spot Lights

Spotlights are perfect for highlighting your home’s architectural features, walls, patios, flags, fountains, statues, and any exterior feature you want to illuminate. Spotlights come in an assortment of styles, colors, and brightness. 

Flood Lights

Flood lights are effective for brightening larger areas. Floodlights are a great choice when you want to light up your entire driveway, patio, walkways, and steps. Putting flood lights on a motion sensor adds to their effectiveness in brightening an area for added security and safety.

Path Lights

Path lights illuminate and define your walkways. Most path lights are mounted on stakes and make positioning easy. Path lights come in solar and hardwired options. Solar work just fine in the winter as long as they receive ample sunlight to charge. Hardwired lights require connecting to a power source. Make sure you bury the wires deep enough under the ground if you choose the hardwired route.

Outdoor String Lights

String lights aren’t just for summer barbeques. Weather-resistant string lights brighten up your home’s exterior and are available in various styles and colors. Nothing helps you celebrate your favorite holidays like fun, festive string lights. Check the packaging to ensure the lights will withstand winter weather.

Smart Lights

Smart lights are a growing trend. Smart lights are available in multiple lighting types and are controlled by a smartphone app or a voice assistant, such as Alexa or Siri.

The smart light app provides tremendous flexibility for placing the lights on a schedule or turning them on and off from anywhere. Some smart lights work in conjunction with other smart devices like security cameras. Smart lights provide a great combination of decoration and function. 

Call A Professional

At Tanzer Inc, we’ve provided New Jersey residents with our trusted and expert service since 1982. Contact Greg Tanzer Sprinkler today for a free outdoor lighting design, installation, service, and maintenance estimate.