Decoding Dim Landscape Lights: A Guide for Canadians

Landscape lighting is more than just an aesthetic feature; it’s an essential component that enhances the beauty, safety, and functionality of your outdoor space. For Canadian homeowners, it’s a way to showcase their property’s unique features, create a warm and inviting atmosphere, and ensure safe navigation after sunset. But what happens when these radiant beacons start to lose their lustre, leaving your yard in an unappealing dimness? It’s a problem that can leave many homeowners puzzled and frustrated. So, whether you’re a seasoned homeowner or a new property owner, this guide will equip you with the knowledge you need to keep your landscape lights shining bright. Let’s illuminate the path together and ensure your outdoor space continues to shine, no matter the season.

Dirty Light Bulbs 

Outdoor lights are exposed to the elements, and in Canada’s diverse weather conditions, this exposure can lead to a rapid accumulation of dirt and debris. Rain, snow, wind, and even insects can contribute to this buildup, which forms a layer of grime on the surface of the light bulbs. This grime can significantly obstruct the light output, causing the lights to appear dimmer than they should be.

Regular cleaning is a simple yet effective solution to this problem. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to do it:

Switch Off the Lights: Always ensure the lights are switched off before you start cleaning. This is not just for your safety, but also to prevent damage to the bulbs.

Let the Lights Cool Down: After switching off the lights, give them some time to cool down. Cleaning hot bulbs can lead to burns, and the sudden temperature change can damage the bulbs.

Remove Any Loose Debris: Before you start cleaning, remove any loose debris from the light fixture. You can do this using a soft brush or a can of compressed air.

Clean the Bulbs: Use a soft, damp cloth to gently wipe the bulbs. Avoid using harsh chemicals or abrasive materials as they can damage the bulbs. If the dirt is stubborn, a mild soap solution can help.

Dry the Bulbs: After cleaning, make sure to dry the bulbs thoroughly before switching them back on. Any residual moisture can damage the bulbs or reduce their lifespan.

Check the Fixtures: While cleaning the bulbs, it’s also a good idea to check the fixtures for any damage. Cracks or gaps in the fixtures can allow water and debris to get in, which can cause the bulbs to dim or fail prematurely.

a landscape light at night.

Voltage Drop 

Voltage drop refers to the reduction in energy as electricity travels down a wire. This can occur due to the resistance encountered by the electrical current as it moves along the wire. The longer the wire, the greater the resistance, and the more significant the voltage drop. This can result in your landscape lights appearing dim. To mitigate this, consider using thicker cables or installing multiple transformers throughout your landscape.

Improper Bulb Placement

The placement of the bulb in the socket can also affect the brightness of your landscape lights. If a bulb is not properly seated in the socket, it may not receive full power, resulting in a dim light. It’s a good idea to check each bulb and ensure it’s correctly placed in the socket. Also, consider the positioning of your lights in the landscape. Lights that are placed too close together can create areas of intense brightness and dark shadows, while lights that are too far apart may not provide sufficient illumination.


Overloading happens when too many lights are connected to a single transformer, exceeding its capacity. The result is a drop in power supply to each light, causing them to dim. To resolve this, you may need to reduce the number of lights connected to a single transformer or upgrade to a transformer with a higher capacity. It’s always a good idea to consult with a professional electrician or landscape lighting expert to determine the best solution for your specific situation.

a lawn with lighted spheres in the grass.

Improper Voltage 

Improper voltage can also lead to dim landscape lights. If the voltage supplied to the lights is too low, they may not shine as brightly as they should. This is often a problem with low-voltage landscape lighting systems, where the lights at the end of the circuit receive less voltage than those closer to the transformer. To fix this, you may need to adjust the voltage at the transformer or reconfigure your lighting circuit.


Dim landscape lights can be a result of various issues, from dirty bulbs and voltage drop to improper bulb placement and overloading. By understanding these common problems, you can take the necessary steps to ensure your landscape lights shine brightly and enhance your outdoor space. Regular maintenance and proper installation are key to keeping your landscape lighting in tip-top shape. With a little effort and knowledge, you can enjoy a well-lit and inviting landscape that adds beauty to your home after dark.

Curb Wise