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Posts Tagged ‘Snow’

Will Landscape Lighting Work in the Winter? (Photos)

Tuesday, December 6th, 2011

A common question I get is, “Will my lights work in the snow?”  Here in the Twin Cities and Minnesota we get a lot of snow each year and it gets piled on top of lighting fixtures.   Any 12 or 24 volt system using up-lights and halogen bulbs will melt snow.  Path lights will not melt large amounts of snow. Up-lights on trees or the side of the house will melt a cone of snow and continue working properly.  These are some pictures of up lights buried in 2 – 3 feet of snow and the result.

The Truth About LEDs and Landscape Lighting

Monday, February 1st, 2010

Is the future of landscape lighting in Minnesota going to be found in LEDs? Millions of dollars have been poured into research and design by lamp and landscape lighting manufacturers.  After doing a large amount of research and having used the latest in LED technology from a leading manufacture, the answer is clear. LED’s primary advantage is energy conservation. Unfortunately for those of us living in colder climates there are extra disadvantages.

Advantages

  • Lower electrical costs for running the system.
  • Smaller gauge wire is used allowing easier installation and lower wire cost.
  • Smaller transformer is needed because of lower wattage used by lamps.
  • Larger Voltage range allows greater flexibility in design.

Disadvantages

  • Whiter, “less natural” color temperatures.
  • Color quality degrades over time.
  • The entire fixture must be thrown away after the lamp dies.
  • Cost of fixtures is easily double to triple that of traditional fixtures.
  • Upfront cost is much higher
  • Initial costs are only pay off if the homeowner stays in the house for 15+ years.
  • LEDS do not melt snow!!

A leading manufacture’s website states that their fixtures stay at 60 degrees Fahrenheit even when it is -20 Fahrenheit outside.  This may be true that the side of the fixture get this warm but the front simply does not.  Having purchased and installed a brand new 8.5 watt LED in my yard, I can tell you LEDs do NOT melt snow.  Light flurries that occur when the light is running will melt off the top of the lighting. Snowfalls that occur when the light isn’t on or larger accumulations of snow simply do not melt.  The light fixture creates a hollow space in the snow around itself and the snow glows but your landscape will be dark.  Until LEDs can melt snow build up, LED landscape lighting systems are not worth installing in Minnesota.