Why am I always replacing burnt out light bulbs? This is a common homeowner complaint about landscape lighting. This is a problem with many potential answers, and most are easy to correct. One of the most common problems is the homeowner is using the wrong bulb or one of inferior quality.
When you replace light bulbs in your home it is a fairly simple procedure, match the wattage and choose either an incandescent or a compact fluorescent bulb. Most people fail to realize that lamps have a much larger range of options in Landscape Lighting. MR-16s, one of the most common lamps and pictured below, have a wide range of options. There are many different angles of lens, wattages, xenon, halogen, LED, sealed or unsealed, and different lifespans. Your local hardware store does not usually stock a large variety. You should do your best to match the bulb you are replacing with one with the same angle, wattage, and voltage. All three of these specifications are printed on the outside of the lamp. Matching these specifications may require ordering a replacement bulb from a lamp and lighting distributor. If possible always buy as sealed lamp, pictured below, fixtures leak and water can cause a decrease in lifespan.
Now that we have establish how to pick out the right type of bulb we need to discuss the quality of the bulb. Lamp manufactures give an average life rating for the lamp on the back of the box. This can vary wildly from manufactures or even wattages from the same manufacture. Some MR-16s are rated for as little as a 1000 hours to 10,000 or even 40,000 hours in the case of LEDs. This is a HUGE difference! This hour rating is determined by putting 100 lamps in a room and turning them on, when 50 lamps are burnt out that is what the average life rating is on the back of the box. So if your lamp is rated for 2000 hours, you only have a 50% chance of each bulb lasting that long. You might even argue that due to the extreme Minnesota climate it is much less than 50%.
Keeping these facts in mind when you choose replacement lamps will help your landscape lighting system running as it was designed.