Solar lights are a versatile option for lighting dark pathways and illuminating your garden. Besides, they are inexpensive and keep the cost of your electricity down providing you value for years after purchase.
Generally speaking, when well maintained, outdoor solar lights can last you a long time. The LED lights can serve you for more than ten years but the batteries need replacement after two years.
In the course of their life time, you may encounter some common problems that include the batteries dying, poor sunlight absorption and dim lighting. A little maintenance ensure optimal brightness at minimal expense. Here are six tips that will make your outdoor solar lights last longer.
#1. Clean the Solar Panel Housing Regularly
Overtime, outdoor solar lights seem to lose a little of their brightness. Additionally, environmental factors such harsh weather affect the performance of the lights altogether. Dust, dreg and other accumulated deposits can affect how the solar panels charge as they block the sunlight.
Their performance can decline as a result if the solar batteries are not charging correctly. For optimal performance, you need to clean the solar panel housing regularly by ensuring that you remove the coating layer that block the sunlight.
Remove the lid from eash dim light using a screw driver and wipe any debris accumulated inside the solar panel housing using a clean dry cloth or a damp paper towel. If you find corrosion, remove the battery and use a sand paper to gently sand the terminals and remove the corrosion. Clean the Solar Panel Housing Regularly
#2. Pay Attention To the Location of The Solar Lights
When you’re installing your outdoor solar lights, you should place them where they can adequately charge under direct sunlight for at least four hours. This ensures that they give optimum light at night between 6-8 hours.
Check if the cleaned lights are blocked by any shade or stray plant leaves. If necessary, you can move the light that is not getting enough sunlight at a position where it will receive full sun exposure.
#3. Replace Old Batteries
When you purchase solar lights, they often include rechargeable batteries in the fixture. Batteries have a lifecycle of between 3-4 years before they can be replaced. You can test if the batteries are still working before replacing them.
Most solar lights include 1-4 batteries to work. They include AA size NiCad 1.2v/500 to 900mA batteries or AA size NiMH (Nickel Metal Hydride 1.2v/1000 to 2000mA batteries. When you’re replacing the batteries, your choice plays a crucial role to enhance the performance of your solar lights.
NiMH batteries cost a little extra but feature three times more capacity than the NiCad batteries. Besides, they’re more environmentally friendly and can withstand greater temperature fluctuations than their cousins. In terms of performance, NiMH batteries charge even on cloudy days to with better performance than NiCad batteries.
#4. Mind the cold temperature effect
It’s common to see outdoor solar lights labeled as weatherproof, meaning they can withstand any outdoor weather conditions, but is this always the case?
Most models are not equipped to withstand freezing temperatures. As such, if you want your lights to still give you decent lighting hours and also increase their durability, always store them inside over the cold winter periods.
Again, if left outside when snowing, these lights will be covered by snow and the solar panel won’t get the best exposure for proper charging. And, keep in mind that when over exposed to cold temperatures, the lights batteries will be affected, hence less lighting time.
#5. Don’t install them near street lighting
Most outdoor solar lights have auto on/off function that goes on or off once it detects any lights around. As such, you might find that your light goes off even at night simply because its light sensor has detected street lights whose light level is above what’s registered in its memory.
Therefore, it’s important for one to choose a spot further from street lights or any other night light sources.
Similarly, if you are using the motion detecting solar lights, they need to be located perfectly for them to quickly detect motion. Otherwise they won’t serve the purpose.
#6. Should be outdoor friendly, get solar light casings, and waterproof them
There is so many options in the market, and even those sold as outdoor lights might not be fully equipped for the outdoors. Since you will be using these lights all year around, it’s best to go for the best brand and the best option according to your area’s weather conditions.
Some of the weather conditions to have in mind when shopping for one is how strong the winds get in your area, how heavy the rains get, the humidity, snow, etc.
However, even when you are sure that your lights are outdoor friendly, it’s advisable to go a step further and place them in casings. These casings come in different designs and you can get one that fits your home.
With these you are sure to get the most out of your lights as they will be protected from the usual wear and tear, harsh weather elements, little animals, and they will also look much better.
Lastly, consider waterproofing your outdoor solar lights. Water and these lights have never been friends. Thus, the only sure to prevent water from getting under your bulbs, get them water-proofed. Remember that apart from spoiling the bulbs and affecting their lighting time, water in a bulb is a fire hazard as it can cause them to explode.
When properly installed and taken care off, outdoor solar lights will sever you well for a long time and help you cut on electricity bills immensely.
The above 6 tips to make your outdoor solar lights last longer are among the many measures you can implement to get the most out of your lights.
Apart from lighting for decent number of hours at night, your lights should be durable enough to give you value for money. The first step should be to get the best outdoor solar lights, then take the recommended measures to make them last longer.