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Posts Tagged ‘Minnesota’

Winterization – Sprinkler System Blowout

Wednesday, October 8th, 2014

Every year we hear a story of someone moving to Minnesota from somewhere warm, Texas, Flordia, California.  Usually the person moves into their residence in the summer or fall and doesn’t realize their sprinkler system needs to be blown out before the Winter hits.  Inevitably they discover should have been winterized only after the pipes freeze and break.

Some things to remember if you are new to Minnesota:

1.)  Late September/October is the best time to get your system blown out or winterized.  Once November hits the chances of the temperature dropping below 32 degrees is very high.

2.)  Once your system is blown out do not turn your system back on if it warms up.

3.)  Your sprinkler system needs to be in working order before winterization.  Broken or cut lines can allow water to get back into the system and potentially damage the system.

4.)  Schedule your winterization in September even if you don’t want it blown out until late fall.  Trucks fill up quickly and it is less likely you will be able to get someone to Winterize your system if you wait too long.

Lighting and LEDs – Part 2

Monday, September 3rd, 2012

In the past LEDs in Minnesota, did not work well, they were very expensive and did not melt snow. The prices have come down over the last two years and for a couple of specific uses are now a useful/viable option.

Downlighting out of trees – A costly and time consuming activity is switching out lights that are mounted high up in trees. By switching the lights to LEDs you can forget about having to replace bulbs for a couple of decades.  The only caveat being that you need to make sure you have a good watertight fixture or you risk water damaging your new expensive LED bulbs.

Path or Area Lights – These often use bi-pin style bulbs and manufacturers now have LEDs that will fit most area lights we use.  The biggest savings with these lights is if a system is designed around using LEDs.  If designed for LEDs, the system can use a smaller transformer and wire size, creating potential saving the customer money on the orignal install and on electricity use of the system.

All this comes with the knowledge that LEDs are a still relatively new technology, and it will take some time to see if they really last decades outdoors.

Winter is Almost Here – Time to Check Your Lighting

Friday, October 21st, 2011

The Minnesota Winter is almost here and soon temperatures will be dropping below zero.  This is your last call for any repairs to your outdoor lighting systems.  Once the ground freezes it is almost impossible to repair broken or cut electrical lines.  The decreasing daylight hours in the winter means you will see your landscape lighting more now than you have all year.  Nothing is quite as frustrating as having your system down all winter long.

While you are thinking about your lighting, when is the last time you changed the bulbs?  The tree lights are going to be near impossible to change once it snows. Any fixture using an MR 16 (see below) should really be changed once a year and fall is the best time. So go to the local hardware store or lighting supplier and get those bulbs changed before it snows.

Winterization – Part 2

Thursday, December 2nd, 2010

A friendly reminder, don’t wait until it below freezing to get your sprinkler system winterized.  It is important to try and schedule your winterizing at least a week before the temperature drops.  If you are unable to get your system winterized before the first hard freeze, wrap the vacuum breaker with a blanket or towel.  This will help prevent the copper pipes from freezing and breaking.

Soldering Wire Connections in Landscape Lighting

Sunday, August 1st, 2010

Poor wire connections can causes major maintenance headaches for homeowners.  The problem is they usually occur after the warranty for the original work has run out. It is easy to cut corners in landscape lighting, poor design, low quality lamps, poor connections all do not cause major problems for several years after the system is installed. This is why some contractors do not spend extra time ensuring good connections.  In fact many contractors do not offer service plans or even service the lighting systems they install.   Homeowners should always inquire if a contractor will provide a service plan or services landscape lighting systems.  If the answers is no, this should be a cause for concern.  It is from our experience servicing other contractors’ work, that made us decide soldering wire connections provide the highest quality final product.

Splices in landscape lighting can be a serious maintenance hassle years after a system is installed. This is because wire connections in landscape lighting are very important.   Corroded connections can cause improper light temperature and decreased voltage to the fixtures and every time a splice is made you have the potential for a short and extra voltage loss.  Soldering together  wire splices and then inserting the connections in a waterproof grease cap, solves a lot of common service problems.  We believe a well designed lighting system deserves good connections.  Homeowners want a system that does not need constant maintenance and solid connection eliminates some future problems.  If the connections are strong and well waterproofed, the system will last much longer without the need for a major overhaul.  It can cost hundreds of dollars to redo corroded and frayed connections, so why not prevent future headaches?  Soldering together wire splices are worth the extra time and provide a better quality product.

If you have any questions about how we solder wire splices or want some more information please leave a comment below.