Landscape lights add aesthetic appeal, functionality, and security to your home. Unfortunately, they can be a bit of a mystery and a source of aggravation when they start blinking. It can get under your skin like a nagging toothache, especially when you can’t figure out the root cause or how to fix it.
Landscape lights start blinking due to loose connections, damaged wiring, overloaded circuits, or a problem with the transformer. Easy fixes include checking the connections, installing additional outlets, and replacing damaged wiring. More complex issues may require calling in a professional.
In this article, I’ll discuss some of the most common reasons why your landscape lights might be blinking and offer seven different fixes that you can try yourself. By the end of this read, you’ll be able to troubleshoot and fix your landscape lights so they stay on and shine brightly all through the night. Let’s get started!
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Why Your Landscape Lights Are Blinking
Nothing is more frustrating than having your landscape lights blink on and off, especially when you just spent a whole lot of time and money installing them. Your once well-lit yard turns into an eyesore and a source of irritation.
While it may seem like your landscape lights are possessed, the root cause is usually much more mundane. And before we talk about fixing the problem, let’s first take a look at some of the most common reasons why your landscape lights are blinking.
A tight and secure connection is essential when it comes to keeping your landscape lights on and shining consistently. Unfortunately, these connections can loosen over time and cause your landscape lights to blink.
When there is a loose connection, current flow is interrupted, which results in the lightbulb flickering or going off completely. Additionally, loose connections can create heat which can damage the socket, wire, and lightbulb, posing a fire hazard.
Another common reason for blinking landscape lights is dirt and debris build-up in the socket. Over time, dust, dirt, and even bugs can work their way into the socket and cause problems.
Such build-up can interrupt the current flow and cause the lightbulb to flicker or go off entirely. The dirt also creates a barrier between the electrical contact points, which leads to a loose connection.
Since the current flow is interrupted, your landscape lights don’t receive the power they need to stay on and will begin blinking.
Over time, wiring can become damaged due to weathering, animals, and physical wear and tear. When wiring is damaged, it can cause a break in the current flow, which will result in your landscape lights blinking.
In some cases, damaged wiring can also cause a fire hazard by creating short circuits. If you suspect that your landscape lights are blinking due to damaged wiring, it’s best to call a professional electrician to inspect and repair the damage. They have the knowledge and experience required to repair or replace the damaged wiring safely.
Since your landscape lights are powered by electricity, they need to be connected to a power source. If you have too many appliances or landscape lights connected to the same circuit, it can become overloaded.
As you keep adding lights or appliances to the circuit, the current demand increases until the circuit can no longer handle it. This will cause your landscape lights to blink as the current flow is interrupted. Overloading the circuits can also cause the fuse to blow or the breaker to trip, which will entirely shut off power to your landscape lights.
Your landscape lights need a transformer to convert the high voltage from the power source into the low voltage used by the landscape lights. If the transformer is not working properly, it can cause your landscape lights to blink (source).
When the transformer cannot properly carry out this conversion, it can cause an intermittent current flow which will make your landscape lights blink. A faulty transformer can also cause your landscape lights to burn out when not addressed on time.
Faulty Sockets and Electrical Outlets
Over time, sockets and electrical outlets can become worn out and no longer able to make a secure connection. This can lead to the same issues as a loose connection, including an intermittent current flow which will make your landscape lights blink.
Additionally, faulty sockets and electrical outlets can pose a fire hazard, so it’s essential to have them replaced as soon as possible.
A fuse is designed to break the current flow if it becomes overloaded. This is a safety feature that protects your landscape lights from damage (source).
If the fuse is blown, it allows current to flow freely, which can cause your landscape lights to blink. A blown fuse can cause damage to your landscape lights, so it’s crucial to replace it as soon as possible.
7 Quick and Easy Fixes for Blinking Landscape Lights
Fixing blinking landscape lights is often a quick and easy process. In most cases, you can fix the problem yourself. Here are seven quick and easy fixes for blinking landscape lights:
1. Clean the Sockets
One main culprit of blinking landscape lights is dirt or debris build-up in the sockets. Over time, dirt can work its way into the component, which causes an interruption in the current flow.
Any lightbulb inserted into a dirty socket will also have a shorter lifespan. Clogged sockets create a barrier between the lightbulb and the electrical contact, which prevents the full flow of electricity.
This can cause your landscape lights to flicker or blink. Follow these simple steps to clean your landscape light sockets:
- Turn off the power to the landscape lights at the breaker box. This is a crucial safety step as you don’t want to be working with live wires.
- Remove the lightbulb from the socket. Be careful not to touch the lightbulb with your bare hands, as the oils from your skin can shorten the lifespan of the lightbulb.
- Use a cotton swab or toothpick to clean out any dirt or debris from the socket. Gently insert the cotton swab into the socket and twist it around to loosen any debris clinging to the sides. You can use a can of compressed air to blow out the socket if you’re having trouble getting all of the dirt out.
- Once the socket is clean, reinsert the lightbulb and turn on the power to the landscape lights. You might need a new bulb if the dirt has damaged the old one.
2. Tighten Loose Connections
If your landscape lights are blinking, it could be due to loose connections. Over time, the connections between the wires and the light fixtures can become loose, which causes an interruption in the current flow. This results from normal wear and tear as the connections are constantly being used.
Corrosion, vibrations, and even temperature changes can cause the connections to become loose. Fortunately, this is an easy problem to fix and requires nothing more than a screwdriver and a bit of elbow grease.
- Start by turning off the power to the landscape lights at the breaker box. The last thing you want is nursing injuries from an electrical shock.
- Once the power is off, remove the light fixture from the socket. In most cases, you’ll just need to unscrew the retaining nut that holds the light fixture in place.
- With the light fixture removed, take a close look at the connections. Check the wires for any damage, such as fraying, kinking, or bare spots. If the wires are damaged, you’ll need to cut out the damaged section and use wire connectors to splice in a new piece of wire. For corroded connections, you can use a wire brush to clean off the corrosion. If the connections are just loose, tighten them up with a screwdriver.
- Tighten all of the connections with a screwdriver. Be careful not to over-tighten the screws, as this can strip the threads and make it difficult to remove the light fixture in the future.
- Reattach the light fixture to the socket and turn on the power to the landscape lights. If everything works correctly, you should no longer have blinking landscape lights.
3. Replace Damaged Wires
If your landscape lights are still blinking after you’ve cleaned out the sockets and tightened the connections, it’s time to take a look at the wires. Wires can become damaged due to weather conditions or simply old age. Damaged wires are a serious safety hazard as they can cause electrical fires.
If you suspect that your landscape lights are blinking due to damaged wires, it’s best to call in a professional electrician to make the repairs. They will assess the damage and determine if the wires need to be replaced or if they can be repaired.
However, before calling in a professional, research their credentials and check for reviews to ensure you’re hiring a reputable electrician. Compare quotes from multiple electricians to get the best price.
4. Upgrade to LED Lights
If you’re still having trouble with blinking landscape lights, it might be time for an upgrade. Traditional incandescent light bulbs are known for their high energy consumption and short lifespan.
On the other hand, LED light bulbs are up to 90% more efficient and have a lifespan of up to 50,000 hours (source).
Unlike incandescent bulbs that burn out, LED bulbs experience “lumen depreciation,” which means they gradually dim over time, so you’ll know it’s time for a replacement long before the bulb actually burns out.
Although LED light bulbs are often pricier than their traditional counterparts, they’ll end up saving you money in the long term due to their energy efficiency and long lifespan. They also produce little to no heat, so you won’t have to worry about them overheating and causing a fire. LEDs are available in various colors, allowing you to find the perfect lighting for your landscape.
5. Use a Surge Protector
Another reason your landscape lights might be blinking is due to power surges. Power surges occur when there is an increase in the voltage flowing through the electrical lines. This can happen due to lightning strikes, downed power lines, or faulty appliances.
Power surges can damage your home’s landscape lights and other electronic devices. You can use a surge protector such as the One Beat 6-Outlet Surge Protector (link to Amazon) to protect your landscape lights from power surges. Surge protectors divert the excess voltage from your devices and safely dissipate the surplus electricity.
6. Use the Right Bulbs
One of the most common culprits behind blinking landscape lights is using the wrong type of lightbulbs. Each landscape light has a specific wattage rating corresponding to the bulb type that should be used.
For example, floodlights and well lights require different bulbs than path lights and spotlights. Using a bulb with too-high wattage can cause the light to overheat and eventually burn out. On the other hand, using a bulb with too low of a wattage will result in a dim light that doesn’t provide enough illumination.
Check the wattage rating of your landscape lights before purchasing replacement bulbs. You can also check the manufacturer’s instructions to determine what type of bulb is required for each light. If you’re still unsure, you can always take one of the old bulbs with you to the store for reference.
7. Hire a Professional Lighting Specialist
If you’ve tried all the above tips and your landscape lights are still blinking, it might be time to hire a professional lighting specialist. A lighting specialist can diagnose the problem and recommend the best solution.
They can also install new landscape lights or upgrade your existing lighting system and provide you with a maintenance plan to keep your landscape lights in good condition.
Always ask for referrals and recommendations from friends and family, or search online for local lighting specialists in your area. Be sure to read reviews and compare quotes to get the best price.
Blinking landscape lights can be a nuisance at best and a fire hazard at worst. If you’re having trouble with blinking landscape lights, check for any loose connections, damaged cords, or bad bulbs.
You can also try using a surge protector to protect your lights from power surges. Be sure to use the right bulbs for each light and if you’re still having problems, hire a professional lighting specialist.