Landscape lights are an excellent feature to beautify your outdoor spaces. When working properly, they should emit a gentle constant light that complements the surrounding landscape. Oppositely, when a fault causes your landscape lights to flicker, they create a much less desirable visual effect. You’ll want to take action to identify the cause of the flickering and remedy it as soon as possible.
There are several potential causes for flickering landscape lights, including loose, blocked, or worn-out connections between the fixture and its power source, an overloaded circuit upon which the fixture is running, or the fixture having a malfunctioning transformer. Many of these issues are easy to fix yourself or by a professional electrician to get your flickering landscape lights working as normal.
Common Issues that Cause Landscape Lights to Flicker
1. Loose Connections Between Lights and Power Source
For your landscape lights to shine brightly and consistently, they must have a secure, uninterrupted connection to their power source. Over time, the connections between the fixture and its power source can become loose, causing your landscape lights to flicker.
With a secure connection, the electricity flows in an uninterrupted path to the fixture. The lights stay consistently lit as they receive a continuous stream of power. Oppositely, if the connections are loose, the flow of power to the fixture will periodically drop out. This consequently causes the flickering of the landscape lights or their total failure. Beyond the inconvenience of the malfunctioning fixture, loose connections can create a fire hazard due to the heat they generate.
- Cut the power to the landscape lighting using your circuit breaker box.
- Remove the light fixture from its socket before closely inspecting its wires and connections.
- Use a screwdriver to tighten all of the connections, taking care not to overtighten them.
- Reattach the lights and reconnect them to their power source.
2. Fixture’s Connections Are Blocked with Dirt
The connections between the landscape lights and their power source can also become blocked over time. This is another way in which the flow of power can be interrupted, thus causing the landscape lights to flicker.
Dust, dirt, and other debris including bugs will inevitably work their way into the fixture’s socket over time. This buildup of physical matter creates a non-conductive barrier over the electrical contact points between the fixture and socket. The barrier impedes the flow of electricity between these contact points, resulting in the flickering and blinking of the lights.
- Cut the power to the landscape lights at your circuit breaker box.
- Remove the bulbs from their sockets.
- Clean the sockets gently using a cotton swab or toothpick.
- Reinsert the bulbs and reconnect the fixture to its power source.
3. Wiring of Landscape Light Fixture is Aged or Damaged
Another inevitability is the ageing of the fixture’s wiring. Several environmental factors can impact the condition of the wiring over time, leading to the flickering of the landscape lights.
General wear and tear and other acts of degradation like weathering or animal interference can all cause damage to the fixture’s wiring. Such damage will cause interruptions to the electricity flowing through the wiring. In addition to blinking, this damage can create a potential fire hazard by the wire short-circuiting.
Fix: If you suspect the wiring in your landscape lighting is damaged, it’s best to have this addressed by a professional electrician.
4. Electrical Sockets on Property Are Worn Out
Connection issues can arise with the electrical sockets into which the landscape lights are plugged. Like the effects of a loose connection, worn-out sockets will also impede the electrical flow to the fixture.
It’s natural for electrical sockets and outlets to wear out with usage over time. Worn-out sockets will fail to make a secure connection with the fixture, and thus the lights will flicker and blink. If you suspect the electrical sockets on your property are faulty, you must have a professional electrician inspect them as soon as possible.
Fix: Again, worn-out sockets are an issue that you should have a professional electrician assess and repair.
5. Landscape Lights Are Running on an Overloaded Circuit
The circuit upon which your landscape lights are running may become overloaded. The impacted flow of electricity from the circuit will cause the flickering or total failure of the lighting fixture.
Different parts of your home electrical system run on different circuits, all leading back to the circuit breaker box. The more appliances and devices you add to a circuit, the more of an electrical demand this puts on the circuit in question. When the circuit is overloaded with more devices than it can handle, each device will struggle to draw sufficient power. This results in faults like the flickering of your landscape lights. An overloaded circuit can also cause blown fuses or tripped circuit breakers, both of which will prevent the lights from working at all.
Fix: The most straightforward way to remedy an overloaded circuit is to reduce its electrical load. To do this, you simply disconnect appliances running on the same electrical circuit as the lights. If this doesn’t fix the flickering, contact a professional electrician to assess your home electrics instead.
6. Blown Fuse in Landscape Light Fixture’s Plug
Developing on the previous point, the flickering of your landscape lights could indicate a blown fuse in their plug.
Fuses are small parts that protect electrical appliances from power surges. They are designed to resist current up to a certain level, blowing when the current exceeds this level. Once the fuse blows, electrical current will flow freely from the power source to the fixture. Not only does this cause the landscape lights to flicker, but it can also damage the fixture.
Fix: Check the plug for the landscape lights to see if the fuse has blown. If so, replace the fuse in the plug before switching your lights back on.
7. Lighting Fixture’s Transformer is Malfunctioning
The transformer on the landscape lights can malfunction, either from the part being faulty or ageing. Again, this interrupts the flow of electricity to the fixture, which causes the lights to flicker in turn.
Lighting fixtures like landscape lights come with a transformer; this is a part which converts the power source’s high voltage into low-voltage power for the fixture. If the transformer fails to convert the energy properly, the intermittent flow of sufficient voltage can cause the lights to flicker. The bulbs in the fixture will eventually burn out if they continue to run on a faulty transformer.
Fix: The best course of action for a malfunctioning transformer is to replace it. Purchase a new transformer for your landscape lighting, then unscrew the old transformer to replace it with the new one.