If you’re thinking about installing outdoor lighting at your home, whether you want to boost curb appeal, enhance security, or create outdoor spaces for relaxing and entertaining, the first question you probably have is whether you should choose solar or wired LED outdoor lighting. At All Alliance Outdoor Lighting, we recommend wired LED for our lighting projects. It’s important to start by understanding the differences between solar LED and professionally installed wired LED lights.
APPEARANCE AND INSTALLATION PROCESS
Solar lighting is often a first choice for homeowners who love to DIY projects due to the its ease of installation. Solar lights require little to no wiring– just choose your fixtures, drill a starter hole, stake them into the ground, and you’re done. Solar fixtures also need to be placed in highly visible areas to ensure they receive enough sunlight to function. Dust, dirt, and changing landscaping (vines, overhanging leaves, growing flowers) can obscure the sun and reduce a solar light’s output. Cloudy, foggy, or rainy days can leave you without exterior lighting just when you need it the most.
SECURITY & LONGEVITY
Longevity should be one of the most important things to consider when it comes to outdoor lighting. When your exterior lights fail, everyone who passes by your home can tell. Not only does a burned out bulb create an unsightly gap in your overall exterior lighting, it can also create a serious security concern. Missing outdoor lights can signal to potential intruders that your home is unattended. They can also create additional shadowy spaces for someone to access your home without drawing attention from neighbors or security cameras. Solar LED lights do often have an edge over wired LED lights in that they are simple for homeowners to replace themselves. However, they tend to have much shorter lifetimes overall, requiring replacement more often. And of course, solar lights are prone to losing brightness (or failing altogether) when they don’t get enough sun exposure or as they near the end of their usable lifespan.
All exterior lighting requires occasional maintenance. Solar lighting systems tend to require simpler but more frequent maintenance: checking the panels for dust, dirt, or cracks; moving or re-angling lights that aren’t getting enough sun or aren’t illuminating the correct areas of your home’s exterior; and replacing lights that have become broken or worn down. The monetary maintenance cost for homeowners repairing and replacing solar LED lights is minimal (depending on how often lights need to be replaced), but it does require a regular investment in time to inspect and replace fixtures. Alliance Wired LED lights, on the other hand, are typically built to last much longer than their solar counterparts. That’s especially true with top-quality products like the Alliance Outdoor Lighting. All of the lights we carry come with (at minimum) a ten-year warranty, wired to a transformer that comes with a lifetime warranty. Ongoing maintenance for wired LED systems is usually offered by the installation company. Winter freeze and thaw cycles can cause light fixtures to shift from their original locations, as can heavy mulching or lawnmower impacts. We’ll check all of your exterior lighting to return fixtures to their original angle and location, or select a new location that may be better protected from movement. Clean fixtures & trim overgrowth – Leaf drop, mulching, and plant overgrowth are all factors that can prevent your landscape lighting from making its full impact. Our maintenance teams will verify that your lights are clear, and trim extra growth from plants and grasses that have grown up around your fixtures. Professional ongoing maintenance for wired LED systems will, of course, be more expensive than the DIY option that solar lights generally present. However, our clients have almost always found that professional maintenance frees up their time, grants them peace of mind, and helps stop service issues before they get out of hand.