A common misconception that our team encounters is that outdoor lighting becomes useless as soon as snow begins sticking to the ground. This could not be any farther from the truth. A well-designed landscape lighting system will provide value to homeowners year round. Sure, some fixtures focused on specific task lighting will not be utilized as much (i.e. undercap fixtures lighting a firepit). This temporary loss-of-function is unavoidable in task lights; however, ambient and accent lights still play a major role in how you view your property in the winter.
Most uplights will give off enough heat to burn through snowfall and still give off plenty of light. This is especially true for halogen fixtures, but since LED fixtures work more efficiently and give off less heat it may take longer for the fixtures to melt through deep snow. Due to this, it can be helpful for homeowners to be conscious of where they dump snow in their yard and avoid shoveling it directly on top of fixtures. If there happens to be a night of heavy snowfall there’s no need for homeowners to go dredging through their yards just to uncover their fixtures. Instead, simply turn on your landscape lighting system in the morning so that it runs all day; this should give LED lights enough time to heat up and melt through the snowfall.
There are also some minor design-alterations that homeowners can make if they want to get the most out of their landscape lighting system in winter. If the system uses variable-intensity fixtures that can adjust various aspects of their lighting effects (i.e. power output, color temperature, etc.), then homeowners should take full advantage of that control. When snow has finally stuck it makes the ground a brighter color than it is during the warm months, therefore the ground plane reflects a lot more light. This can sometimes make downlights appear overly bright and distracting, so homeowners with variable-intensity fixtures can dim their downlights to an appropriate intensity for each season.
Unfortunately, the reality is that most existing landscape lighting systems do not use these adjustable fixtures. Nevertheless, homeowners with standard fixtures can still be festive with their landscape lighting and change with the seasons. Our team of technicians can come out to a property and switch out the bulbs in all the uplights with colored-bulbs for specific holidays. This is a unique way to decorate for the holidays, and will save homeowners the time and trouble of stringing along traditional holiday lights on the roof, only to take it back down in a couple months.
The final winter tip we will give to all homeowners is possibly the most important: watch out for the snowplows! Every spring we receive dozens of calls about broken fixtures and stakes due to snowplows running them over. For the most part this is unavoidable, but it can’t hurt to give the plow company some fair warning of fixture locations near the driveway or to put some warning flags in the snow where fixtures are located.
Call us at 952-474-4536 to schedule a design consultation, or a service appointment of your existing outdoor lighting system!