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Outdoor Lighting Fixtures | Home Light Fixtures | Outdoor Light Fixtures

Outdoor Lighting Make Your Home More Inviting

First impressions are everything, whether in business or simply greeting new visitors to your home. And if those visitors are arriving at night, having the right outdoor lighting fixtures is the difference between a welcoming and happy place or a dark and dingy space.

There are numerous types of fixtures to brighten up the outside of your home, and choosing the right one can sometimes be confusing. So let's take a second and look at some things you need to consider.

First of all, you should consider where the light fixture will be located. If it is underneath a covered area where it is out of the elements, it may not be necessary to buy a fixture that is weatherproof. But if the light will be exposed to the elements, you'll need to spend a few more dollars for quality. Even if the light is in a covered area, a weatherproof fixture may be a good choice since these fixtures are generally more durable.

Like all lighting, it should do more than just make it easier to see. It should add something aesthetically to your home. Be sure to coordinate your outdoor fixtures with the overall theme and décor of the space they will be decorating. Lighting is a very important aspect of any space, and an outdoor space is no exception. If you have contemporary home, you should choose a more modern fixture. If, however, your home has a country theme, more rustic fixtures would be appropriate. Whimsical hanging lanterns would be perfect for an outdoor garden seating area.

And don't neglect quality to save a few dollars. Sure, you can find fixtures that look good and are inexpensive, but the problem comes in the length of time you will be able to use it before it breaks or begins to noticeably wear. If you invest a little more money in a quality outdoor lighting, you will save money in the long run on repairs and replacements.

Obviously the best way to determine the quality is to examine the fixtures before you buy, but this may not be possible when buying online. So check out the reviews. Many websites offer places for customers to comment and leave feedback on items that they offer. Look for fixtures that have mostly positive feedback. Keep in mind that one person's negative experience may be an isolated incident if most of the other reviews are positive.

Another way to check reliability is to ask for recommendations from friends, family, and neighbors. If you see a fixture on someone's home that you like, ask them what their experience has been. It will help you get a good idea whether it is the right lighting fixture for you.

Finally, while looks are important so too is the amount of light the fixtures give. Make sure that any lighting that you choose will do the job that you intend for it to do. If the space that you want to light is large, then you may need more than one fixture. If your space is small, choose a light that is scaled to your space. Having too much light is just as bad as having too little light.

These are all pretty simple guidelines, but if you follow them, you'll come away with outdoor lighting fixtures that will perfectly compliment your home. And it's better to get it right the first time than it is to go back and have to replace something that clearly does not give the look or the amount of light you need.


Hinkley Outdoor Lighting

An Outdoor Sconce for Superior Lighting

As the days get longer, your exterior lighting scheme becomes more important to your overall home design. How you and your guests safely move between car and house, how your visitors see their way to your front door, how well your home is illuminated in the wee hours of the night, all of these things matter as summer turns to fall and winter.

The world of outdoor lighting fixtures is vast. You can decide to use outdoor wall lights, a suite of candle sconce lights, wired outdoor lanterns or traditional outdoor sconces. Depending on your property, you may decide you need to use two or three of the fixtures in tandem. For instance, you could use outdoor lanterns near the garage or driveway, outdoor lanterns at the side of the house as a theft deterrent and a set of outdoor sconce fixtures at the front door.

When working with a wall sconce design, it is important to measure the height of the current outdoor lighting fixtures. Are they in a good spot? In other words, can you swap them out, piecemeal for new fixtures? If you can simply unscrew the old fixtures (after you have cut the power to the fixtures, of course!), and install the new ones, you will save hundreds of dollars in electrician fees.

Not all exterior lighting is centered on the front entryway, of course. Outdoor wall lights to illuminate the driveway or outdoor lanterns to show off the back of the house are just as important. For the driveway you will want something sturdy and simple. A lamppost or wired candle sconce could be the perfect accent that far away from the house. You need a fixture that looks nice in light or dark. So many outdoor lighting fixtures look out of place in the daylight.

This is even more important in the backyard. These days the backyard is another room - just as important for entertaining as the living room. So how you light it matters. Depending on the décor, outdoor lanterns might fit in perfectly, complimenting the furniture and decorations. Some backyards are wired for outdoor wall lights and nothing else. Did you want to grill by the light of a flood light? How comfortable will your party guests be if they have to move between deep shadow and bright light? Much better to assess the area and plan for outdoor sconce groups every 8 to 10 feet. This sort of lighting invites quiet conversation and good times.

An outdoor sconce configuration will provide superior lighting for your home. Take you time and find just the right shape and style to match your taste and budget. These days that should not prove difficult. Home improvement stores and lighting superstores can be found in most towns. Enjoy the adventure of shopping around in search of just the right outdoor lighting fixtures. It is out there -- wait and see.


Hinkley Outdoor Lighting

Outdoor Lighting System Maintenance

ENSURE PROPER WORKING ORDER
Technically, your system functions properly because of proper wattage, voltages, amperages and circuit loads. When these are incorrect, due to faulty installation or changes made after installation, you need a professional electrician with a good meter to determine where the problems lie. Your electrician should test your voltages and amperages, troubleshoot your system and correct these issues to ensure your system is in proper and safe working order.

CLEANING
The maintenance should include cleaning your fixture housings and removing mineral deposits from the lenses. This can be accomplished by using solvents or by scraping them with razor blades. A good lens cleaning can make a big difference to the light output of the fixture - up 30-40%.

Clear away mulch or debris that has accumulated near the fixtures, or on the shields or baffles. Not only can this debris block the intended lighting effects, it can pose a fire hazard in some cases. Keep fixtures clear of debris at all times, and advise your landscape maintenance personnel to refrain from blowing leaves into or onto the fixtures.

ADJUST, RE-AIM & RE-FOCUS FIXTURES
Landscapes are organic and ever changing with plant growth and change of seasons. As plantings mature, it is often necessary to change the aim of the light beam or to make adjustments to the beam spread of the lamp selections. A good landscape lighting maintenance agreement should offer to relocate your fixtures to some degree, improving the appearance of the lighting and enhancing the appearance of the plantings.

ADJUST TIME CLOCKS & CONTROLLERS
Sometimes your system isn't coming on when you'd like, or your time clock needs to be adjusted for daylight savings or the change in the seasons. Have the lighting professional take care of making these adjustments for you, and leave the programming instructions with you. Do try simple fixes before you call for midnight help.

1) Has the breaker tripped? Reset it
2) Has the battery in the timer expired? Replace it
3) Is your transformer plugged in to the outlet? Replug it

REPLACE & LUBRICATE O-RINGS, SEALS & GASKETS
Some fixtures require gaskets, seals and o-rings to ensure a positive seal against the elements. These become worn with age, and are affected by heat. They crack and become brittle and need to be replaced and lubricated periodically.

REPLACE LAMPS
Maintenance is supremely important with halogen bulbs. Halogen MR-16 lamps are particularly susceptible to performance declines over time.

Tungsten-halogen lamps operate in a "halogen regenerative cycle." In conventional gas-filled tungsten filament lamps, the tungsten molecules evaporate from the hot filament and are deposited in a thin film on the inside surface of the lamp, reducing the lumen output and efficacy of the lamp in two ways.

First, the deposits of tungsten on the bulb wall builds up a film which reduces light output, and second, the evaporation of tungsten from the filament reduces the filament wire diameter, increases the resistance and conversely decreases wattage, lumens and color temperature.

We recommend replacing all lamps every 2 years, and replacing all lamps in the system if 1/3 have burned out. Any burned-out lamps will effect the operation of your low voltage lighting system. The application of "bulb grease" will help prevent corrosion on the electrical connections, and help improve conductivity.

LED retrofit bulbs can be used in some fixtures as an energy-efficient replacement for MR-16 halogen lamps. Size and shape of the fixture housing determine whether these are appropriate for your fixtures.

TRIM & PRUNE
As your plants grow and mature, they can block the light or obscure the fixtures. As ground covers obtain greater height or extend bloom stalks, they can compromise the intended appearance of the light path. During your maintenance, have your technician trim and prune the plant materials, which affect the light appearance, and add mounting stems to increase the height of ground-mounted fixtures.

Tree mounted fixtures require special attention to ensure that the tree can grow safely without damage and that the wiring is in good condition.

REPAIR & REPLACE FIXTURES
Finally, as with all electrical or mechanical devices, wear and tear, age and the effects of the elements can create damage that requires repair or replacement.

Some fixtures have replaceable elements such as sockets, screws, lenses and stakes, while in some cases, replacing the entire fixture is a more appropriate choice.

Your service personnel should offer choices and convenience for your maintenance plan, and your system maintenance should be customized to your needs. If you have your lights come on every night automatically, use your system often, or have many fixtures, you may choose to have maintenance several times a year to ensure perfect enjoyment of the lighting design. Systems used only for a few hours a few times a week might only need annual maintenance to stay in fine working condition. However often your have maintenance, be sure to have a professional do your work, and always insist upon a written agreement.

COSTS OF MAINTENANCE
Costs are usually determined on an individual basis, and are determined by several factors including the quantity and type of fixtures, accessibility of the wiring and the age and type of system. As with any service, don't pay in advance.

Starting with a reasonable Service Call fee and hourly troubleshooting charges, you should ask that the service provider give you a detailed listing of the work they recommend, a material pricing list, and a final detail of the work completed. In most cases, your payment will be expected at the completion of service.