Troubleshooting Landscape Lighting That’s Not Working

Landscape lighting plays a big role in your home, and it can be frustrating if it fails to work. This is particularly so because it costs a lot of money to install landscape lighting.

High-quality and well-maintained landscape lighting provides your home with security and improves its curb appeal. Once in a while, all or some lights may fail to work, putting you and your loved ones at risk.

It’s advisable to identify and deal with your landscape lighting problems as soon as possible before they get worse. The following are some problems you might face with your landscape lighting.

1. Some bulbs may burn out

Dealing with burned-out bulbs isn’t a big challenge. One or more of your bulbs may fail to work because they are burned out. All you need to do is to replace them. If you had installed low-quality bulbs earlier, you could replace them with high-quality bulbs. 

You should install LED bulbs because they last longer, produce better light, and don’t consume much power. The initial installation of LED bulbs may be expensive, but it will pay in the long run.

2. Connection Problems

Connection problems are also connected with bulbs failing to work. If you’ve noticed that some bulbs aren’t working, don’t rush to replace them. First, find out whether your connections are okay. You might be surprised to find out that the bulb is working, but the connection has some issues.

Poor connections may result from poor workmanship or using substandard materials. Let an electrician check your wiring system to identify where the problem is. The expert can reconnect the loose/worn-out wires or ask you to buy new ones. Let a qualified electrician advise you on the best way forward. 

3. Failed sockets

Once you are done with the bulbs and the connections, but the problem persists, your sockets could be the victims. Sockets are where your connection wires draw power that they transmit to the bulbs. If a socket malfunctions, your bulbs won’t light. Sockets get worn out with time or may get damaged when overloaded or struck with a hard object.

Disconnect your landscape lights from the sockets, then test whether or not the sockets are working. You may find the socket connections, or the seals have been compromised. If the socket can be repaired, you’ll have to buy new ones. When buying sockets, make sure they can accommodate the intended power loads. They can also burn out as a result of overload. 

4. Tripped Circuit

If one section of your landscape lighting isn’t working you could be facing a tripped circuit problem. This is particularly true if the other sections are working properly. Let a technician check your transformer. Maybe, the wires in the transformer are worn out. If you turn it on but it keeps tripping, then check the severed wire, it could be the problem. 

A circuit breaker may trip if it’s overloaded. That’s why you must balance the power requirement of your bulbs and the circuit breaker capacity. If your transformer can’t bear the amount of power your bulbs need, you can think about replacing it. Another option is to do away with some bulbs.

5. Short Circuit

A short circuit will affect your entire landscape lighting system. Meaning, if you have a short circuit, none of your bulbs will light. If this is the problem you are facing, you can start by checking and resetting your breaker. This should sort the problem. If it fails, then reset the GFCI outlet. If the outlets are ok, then have your transformer’s amperage and voltage checked by a qualified electrician. If all fails, then you have to replace the transformer. 

6. Improper voltage

You can know that you are feeding your bulbs with low voltage if they are not as bright as expected. For example, if the voltage across a halogen bulb is less than 10V, it will not shine brightly. Halogen bulbs work well at voltages of between 11V to 12V. If you have LED bulbs, then your voltage will have to be between 5V to 15V, depending on the power rating of the bulb. 

If only a few bulbs are not as bright as expected, then you have to deal with the particular bulbs. It could be that the wires leading to these bulbs are too old or damaged, or that section of the system is overloaded. If that’s the case, you may need to remove some bulbs so the remaining ones can shine brighter. 

Sometimes dim lights may mean loose connections. Check and ensure all connections are firm.

7. Non-waterproof connections

Non-water-proof connections are a source of many lightning problems. They can cause the wiring to corrode and wear off, make the lights to be dim, or cause short circuits. That explains why you need an expert electrician to wire your landscape lighting system. An expert will ensure that all connections are secured so that water cannot find a way into your wiring system.

When water gets into contact with electrical wiring, you and your loved ones will also be in danger. Water is a good conductor of electricity and can cause electrical shocks, some of which can be fatal.

8. Too Many bulbs

In the hope of making your home very attractive at night, you might be tempted to use too many bulbs. This will not only overload your lighting system but will also be a costly affair because of the inflated power bills. Have your system designed by an electrician to ensure you get the optimum number of bulbs to save you on costs, while at the same time ensuring all the bulbs produce enough light.


Troubleshooting a landscape lighting system isn’t entirely a DIY project unless you are a trained technician. There are simple problems you might notice, like dim lights, but solving these problems may need an expert. 

If you aren’t sure about what needs to be done, hire an expert to do the job. And you should act fast. The faster you solve the problem, the higher the amount you’ll save in the form of costly repairs. 

Leave a Reply