How to Choose Solar Landscape Lighting
Knowing how to choose solar landscape lighting is important since there are so many choices making hard to pick the best options for your outdoor lighting needs. While it's important to find a style you like, there are other factors that need consideration. Below are some practical tips to help you meet your outdoor lighting needs.
Always Choose LEDs
Common Solar LED Landscape Light
It's important that the solar lights you purchase are using light emitting diodes (LEDs) instead of fluorescent or incandescent bulbs.
- LEDs Use Less Energy: This is important because the light fixture's solar cells convert the sun's energy into electricity during the day and store it in high capacity Ni-Cad or Ni-MH batteries to power the lights at night. Since LEDs have lower energy requirements, they can operate much longer on stored battery power.
- LEDs Last Longer: An LED can last up to 3 times longer than fluorescent bulbs and up to 50 times longer than common incandescent bulbs. This adds up to real cost savings when you need to replace bulbs.
- LEDs Are Durable: Their solid state composition makes them much stronger than fragile fluorescent and incandescent bulbs.
- LEDs Are Green Friendly: Compared to compact fluorescent bulbs, LEDs are very friendly to the environment. They don't contain mercury or similar toxic components making them easier to dispose with less effect on the environment.
- LEDs Are Safe: They are not hot during operation and there's no danger of glass fragments, or toxic materials being released.
Choose Durable Light Fixtures
Solar lighting fixtures made with stainless steel, copper, and plastics are very durable and will withstand harsh weather conditions. Stainless steel is an ideal material as it's maintenance free and doesn't need painting.
Copper is also attractive and durable, and it ages to a gorgeous greenish color when it's not painted with a clear lacquer coating. Plastic fixtures made from recycled plastics come in assorted colors, and are maintenance free.
Buy Extra Solar Light Batteries
Outdoor solar lighting is cost saving because it draws its power from the sun. The solar energy gathered is stored in rechargeable batteries that are often found in the fixture, though larger, commercial-style fixtures might have a separate battery container connected. Most solar lights use the small AA Ni-Cad batteries. They are rechargeable from the light's solar panel and can last up to two years before needing replacement.
- Buy Spare Solar Batteries: Plan ahead and keep a few batteries charged and ready to use, assuming you have a common battery charger. You never know when the early part of the day will be heavily overcast, and you won't want to sit on a darkened deck during a party. It's handy to have spare batteries for emergencies.
- Buy the Right Batteries: Rechargeable batteries for use in solar lighting come in a variety of sizes, and capacities based on the size of the light fixture and how long it will illuminate its surroundings. The fixture's solar panel is designed with a high enough output to charge the battery that's recommended by the manufacturer. Buying a larger battery will not give you increased lighting, so stay with the recommended battery size.
- Buy a Battery Tester: Some battery rechargers have testers built in, but if yours doesn't, it's always good to have a separate one. It'll give you peace of mind knowing your solar light fixtures contain fully charged batteries before special family events or for your solar security lights. Having your solar lights dim just when you most need them is something that can be avoided by the foresight of using a simple battery tester.
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