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Troubleshooting Low Voltage Landscape Lighting: [Typical Issues Fixed]

Troubleshooting low voltage landscape lighting does take some time, depending on how complex the task is. But sometimes, you’ll scold yourself for not noticing the issue beforehand.

For example, some solutions can be as simple as fixing a broken wire. But things are not always as crystal clear.

You’ll sometimes have to do lots of digging before you find the culprit.

However, don’t let that discourage you from getting stuff done.

That’s what we’re here for. We’ll lay out all the steps on the table so that you can find the culprit and fix it.

Why Install Low-Voltage Landscape Lighting at Home

If you’re new to installing landscape lighting, you’ve probably heard about “low-voltage” and how efficient it is.

But is it actually better than other traditional outdoor lighting systems?

Well, here are a couple of reasons why the low-voltage lighting is significantly better.

Safety

Ever installed outdoor lighting only to ask yourself if anybody in your family would accidentally run over it and cause a fatal electric shock?

This is everyone’s biggest fear when installing conventional outdoor lighting.

In recent years, we’ve seen just how common it has become to run low-voltage landscape lighting since you don’t need to worry about your family getting electrocuted.

Low-voltage lighting uses a transformer, which lowers the voltage from 120 volts to 12 volts. This is a lot safer than the standard 120 volts.

Flexibility

Another benefit to having a low-voltage landscape lighting system at home is how flexible it is, meaning you can make changes on the fly.

Since the system is low voltage, you can install other fixtures as the power is running.

With conventional outdoor lighting, this is impossible as you’d have to disconnect the system before making any changes.

Cost-Effective

Low-voltage power offers a great and efficient way to save a lot of money.

As you can imagine running that much power can cost a significant amount of money, and as beautiful as it might look, this is a huge turn-off for most people.

On the other hand, low voltage is an excellent alternative to a high voltage system since it’s more efficient and is not nearly as expensive.

Installation

The fourth benefit to using low-voltage lighting is how easy it is to install.

Since everything runs through a transformer, you have a much easier time plugging in all the wires.

In addition to that, customizing it is relatively simple.

Say, for instance, this year, you only feel like installing lights on the backyard, and maybe next year, you’ll get around to installing the rest of the lights throughout your house.

With low-voltage lighting, this is a lot easier compared to the other alternatives.

Brightness

It is easy to think that low-voltage lighting is inferior to traditional outdoor lighting.

But the truth is that it works just like other methods.

In fact, most people choose low-voltage lighting as it is super-efficient when reaching some areas that might be difficult to highlight.

Moreover, we’ve seen how more companies are getting into the low-voltage trend.

Even though the fixtures’ wattage is lower, they’ve managed to make it up for it by providing excellent light output.

Environment Friendly

Since the system does not need that much energy to run, it is a lot better for the environment.

If you care a lot about preserving the world as is, this type of landscape lighting is way more beneficial for both your family and the environment.

It’s a win-win at the end of the day.

How to Know if Low-Voltage Lighting is Broken

Not sure how to run a test to find what’s wrong with your connection? We got you. Here you’ll learn how to check a low-voltage system.

Check The Connections

The most common problem we’ve seen is the connections. It’s hard to tell what could’ve damaged the wires.

It could’ve been a dog chewing through the cables or water. The latter can be a problem if the cables are not water-proof.

As such, we suggest checking the connections. If you notice any damage to them, then you found the culprit all along.

Voltage Test

If you’ve determined that the wires are still in great shape, then perhaps the problem with low voltage landscape lights could be related to the transformer.

We suggest running a voltage test to find out if it has any power. If it does not, then that’s the problem.

Before running the test, you should check the transformer’s breaker.

There is a high chance that it’s on the off position. Switching it back on should do the trick.

Troubleshooting Low Voltage Landscape Lighting + Solutions

Finding the time and effort for troubleshooting low voltage landscape lighting can be very useful if you want to save up money.

You’d be surprised by how many times people throw away stuff that just needed some work.

1. Lights Will Not Turn On

So, did you light up your home and made it look amazing only to find out that there is something wrong with it?

Well, chances are the outlet is not working. Before installing any types of lights, we always recommend testing out the outlet.

But if it’s too late, don’t worry, though. Here is how you can check the outlet as well as some other culprits:

  • Head over to the outlet. After that, plug in a lamp or anything that has power. If you don’t have power, go ahead and find the circuit panel and make sure actually to flip the breaker to the on position.
  • If that doesn’t work, go back again to the outlet and find the GFI. The GFI stands for ground fault interrupters.
  • After that, you want to make sure that both the test and reset are set. Sometimes, these buttons get tripped. If that’s the case, you have to push down the reset button.

2. Some Fixtures Work But Some Do not

It feels horrible when you’ve spent all this time setting up your lights only to find out that not all of the fixtures work. You can’t help but feel frustrated.

But sometimes, you’d be surprised to find out that you made a mistake along the way, which caused all this mess.

Down below, you’ll find a couple of ways on how to troubleshoot low voltage landscape lighting:

  • Check the fixture. If all the lights are working except for one fixture, there is a high chance there is something wrong with it. All you want to do is make sure the bulb is seated correctly.
  • You also want to make sure the hole is clean. Perhaps dirt got in as you were installing it, which stopped the power.
  • If the hole is clean and properly seated, we suggest changing the bulb as it probably went bad. However, before you get a new one, remove the “bad” one and put in one of the bulbs from the other fixtures to make sure the problem lies within the bulb.

Didn’t that work? Well, here is a method that might get you out of all this mess:

  • Get a voltage tester to find out whether there is electricity flowing through the base where the bulb goes. Head over to the fixture and hook up the voltage tester to the base.
  • After that, turn it to the voltage test. On the screen, you should be able to see the voltage of the unit.

3. My Lights Stopped Working

Unlike the previous issues we’ve covered up until now, this one is a little bit stranger since you actually managed to get them to work on your first try only to find out they stopped working after a while.

When this happens, it just isn’t a random fixture, but rather it is something that is affecting the whole system.

To troubleshoot this issue, check out the steps down below:

  • Head over to the transformer. On the bottom of the transformer, you should be able to find a button. Pressing this button will reset the entire system, which will fix the problem.
  • Still not getting any power? Well, you want to head over to the transformer again and make sure that the low-voltage cables have been properly attached. Since you’re at it, it would be best to check that the copper from one side does not touch the other one.
  • Another thing that could cause the system to malfunction is an object covering the photocell. When this object is being obstructed by something else, it cannot detect when both dusk and dawn occur. So, make sure nothing is covering it. Also, check out that it is plugged in.

4. How To Repair Low Voltage Landscape Lighting Wire

It isn’t abnormal when one of the wires get damaged. After all, they are exposed to several outside factors that could damage them.

When one of them goes bad, your entire system could stop working all of a sudden.

If you’re not sure whether the wire is no longer working, here is how you can troubleshoot these issues:

  • Grab the wire and slowly pull it back towards you. As you’re pulling it, look for any signs that might indicate the cables got damaged. We suggest paying close attention to those areas that are exposed the most to the public.
  • If you found that the cable got cut in half somehow, you can still fix it. Grab a wire stripper and grab onto it. After that, pull the casing back. Now the wires should be exposed.
  • Take each induvial wire and twist them together while matching the other end of the cable. This means that you must link each color to each color. Red with red, yellow with yellow, and so on.
  • Now grab your electrical tape and put it in-between so that it continues to be a nice and straight wire.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Still not satisfied with all the content we’ve covered so far? Well, here is some information you might find useful:

Why do my low voltage landscape lights flicker?

Flickering lights are almost always caused by minor issues. Most of the time, simply replacing the bulb is more than enough to stop the problem.

However, sometimes you might have to clean the transformer to eliminate the problem.

How do I know if my low voltage transformer is bad?

If the outlet where the transformer is plugged in and is exposed to water, it’ll damage the transformer.

However, sometimes, when water comes down the outlet, the transformer will automatically switch itself off.

So, open it up and find out if the breaker is on the off position. If that’s not the case, then the transformer went bad.

How long do low voltage transformers last?

National Electric Code recommends that you should not exceed 80% capacity.

If you’ve followed those guidelines, you should expect your transformer to last up for about 20 years.

How many lights can you put on a low voltage transformer?

Find out how many watts each fixture uses.

Once you’ve figured that out, multiply the watts by the total number of fixtures, meaning if your fixture uses 4.5W and you want to use 8 of them, you’d use 36W.

If you did not exceed the transformer’s 80% capacity, you can fit all those lights into the transformer.

Conclusion

Each character begins with the basics, such as troubleshooting low voltage landscape lighting.

Before getting new fixtures and whatnot, you should run a little test to find out the state of your wires.

Tracking down the main problem might take a while, but it feels gratifying when you do so.

As you know by now, you can even solve the problem by replacing a bulb or cleaning the base where it goes.

There are just so many ways to fix your landscape lighting.

A new problem might arise in the future, but you’re now confident enough to troubleshoot any issue you might face on your own.