Lighting is a great way to enhance your outdoor spaces and improve your curb appeal. Not only is a well-lit home more beautiful at night, but it’s also functional. You’re less likely to slip, trip or fall when your walkways are lit up.
Choosing solar lighting for your walkways is a smart way to help the environment and reduce your electricity bill—but are solar path lights right for every home? Here are the pros and cons of choosing solar lighting for your outdoor spaces:
- Easy to install: Unlike hardwired outdoor lighting, solar lights are easy to install—you simply perform any assembly required, then push them into the dirt around your walkways. As long as they get enough sun to charge the batteries, that’s all you need to do to enjoy well-lit walkways on demand. Compare that to hardwired outdoor lighting, where the wires need to be connected to a power source and buried underground.
- Requires battery replacement: Although the sun is the primary source of power for your lights, they still use solar batteries to retain the energy and power the lights. Eventually, these batteries will wear out. You’ll need to replace them every two to three years for best results.
- Reduces electricity bill: Although your electric bill shouldn’t increase too much from outdoor lighting (unless you’ve decided National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation should reflect your everyday lighting goals), using solar power will cut down on the power you use.
- Needs frequent cleaning: One quirk that comes along with solar path lights is that the solar panels will need frequent cleaning. The more dust and grime that accumulates, the harder it will be for the sun to charge the batteries. You can avoid this by wiping down the panels once per week.
- Easier to steal: Unfortunately, since solar lights are so easy to install, they’re also a lot easier to steal. All someone has to do is pull them out of the ground—there are no wires to make it difficult.
- Requires judicious placement: Finally, solar lights require careful consideration before you choose their location. Placing them too close to buildings, shrubs, trees and other obstructions can block the sun. Even partially shaded areas can cause some solar lights to burn dimmer than others in full sun. Before you purchase solar lighting, make sure that you watch the areas where you’d like to place them, to ensure they get several hours of full, bright sunlight each day.
Solar lighting for walkways is easy and convenient, but it may not be right for your home. If your building is particularly shady or in an area where people help themselves to lawn ornaments, you might prefer hardwired lighting. In fact, installing solar panels and hardwired lights could solve all of your problems: cut down on electricity, get tax incentives from the state and federal government and prevent theft all at once.
If you’re considering upgrading your hardscaping, give the team at MSE Hardscape Design and Installation a call. We look forward to transforming your outdoor spaces.