When most people are interested in installing outdoor lighting, they often only think of the benefits that they will gain from them. However, it’s important to remember that such lighting can also be risky, particularly if you don’t approach the installation in the correct manner. For instance, there are many times when fires break out on account of the outdoor lighting. During the initial process of planning for the lighting, recognizing this problem makes it easier for you to mitigate it. This way, you will never have to deal with it.
Why such fires break out
Most of the time, fires due to outdoor lighting occur as a result of poor wiring. When the connections between the wires and the bulbs are not properly done, there is a risk of sparking when the lights are switched on. If the wiring goes around flammable materials such as dry twigs and grass, it could easily spread. This is why such fires tend to break out during the fall, when the vegetation is dry and more likely to catch fire.
In addition to the improper connection of the wires, other things that can lead to ignition of vegetation include:
• When the bulbs get too hot: If you are using incandescent bulbs, they tend to get very hot during operation. If you leave them on for a long time, they are likely to cause the items around them to become too hot as well, leading to fires.
• Melting wires: If very high resistance wires are used to connect the bulbs, they are likely to start melting when used for a long time. Wires of opposite polarity will then come into contact if the insulation between them becomes significantly molten.
Preventing such fires
After having understood the reason why such fires break out, it becomes very easy for you to know what to do in order to prevent them from happening. One of the most important ways to do this is by using the correct materials.
• The wires: The wires used for outdoor lighting need to be properly insulated. They should also be of the right thickness and made of the right material (preferably copper) to reduce the chances of them heating up too much and igniting the vegetation around them. The longer the wires you are going to use, the more important this becomes since long wires tend to have a lot more resistance than short ones. This means that if you are going to light up a large area, you would be much better off spending more on high quality wiring.
• The bulbs: You should get bulbs that emit enough light, but which emit very little heat even if they are left on for a long time. The LED bulbs are a perfect option. In addition to being energy efficient, easy to use and long lasting, they also happen to be very cheap.
• The vegetation: To reduce the risk of fires, you might need to think through your policies regarding where to place the lights. Placing them in areas with very dry leaves and vegetation is not a good idea. You should consider mounting them in areas where they will have little contact to such vegetation.
Other measures you can put in place
In addition to the above, there are other things you can do to ensure that in case of a fire, you will be able to control the spread of the fire to areas such as the surrounding buildings. These include clearing the areas directly around the buildings. You might also need to install a few fire retardation systems such as a fire extinguisher in a strategic location just in case. If you place one of these in the outdoors, you should consider having them housed in a small, easy to open cage to reduce the risk of them being damaged by the elements.
The role of your contractor
It’s entirely possible to do outdoor lighting on your own without any professional help. However, working with a contractor who has been providing such services for a long time is likely to turn out to be a great idea. The fact that they have a lot of experience in the above means that they would be in a good position to figure out the risks that face your specific project, and then account for them during the design. For instance, it might turn out that a factor completely different from all the above will put your outdoor lighting at risk of a fire. Working with an experienced contractor will ensure that a special fix is found to prevent this from happening.
In summary, as long as you use the correct techniques and materials to do the outdoor lighting, you should not have to worry much about the risk of a fire. This is especially so if you also happen to work with an excellent contractor who is well experienced.