The technology is a bit sophisticated, really. The batteries recharge during the day. The lights turn on in the dusk. Do you wonder “Why do my solar lights come on during the day?” We’ll find it out.
The Need for Solar Lights
Do you live in a northern state? Is your house located in a village or in a distant area? Why does your garden have to be in complete darkness during the night? You can install some solar landscape lights.
These perfect lighting sources are commonly installed:
- in the garden;
- in the yard;
- along the pathways and driveways;
- above the front entry.
They can be built-in right into the deck. Why do you need them? The lights that come on at dark help you to find the way, if you need to go somewhere. Maybe, to the restroom. Are there any other reasons to install the lights?
Benefits of Using Solar Lights
The main reason for using lights is safety. It means that you easily find the path in the yard. And not only. The solar light that stays on all night:
- enhances the house appearance;
- increases its value;
- promotes deterring crimes.
Your home, garden, and garage look beautiful even at night. The best solar landscape lights make it look pretty decorative. Your property is attractive. Meanwhile, any obstacles in the yard or garden, such as a hose or sharp stones are visible. Falls on the staircases are successfully prevented. Additionally, if the burglars or the other intruders enter the yard, you or your neighbors see them in beforehand. No painful surprises!
Advantages of Solar Lighting
Everybody knows that these outdoor lamps are:
Using renewable solar energy is obviously beneficial. This technology is green and innovative. Meanwhile, the blinking solar garden lights are easy-to-maintain. Their operational costs are pretty low. Quite naturally, you save on electricity bills.
Overnight Illumination Drawbacks
Are there any downsides? These fixtures demand regular cleaning. They might be not as bright as you want. Is that all? Nowadays, multiple large solar panels are widely used for street lighting in large cities. They are installed in public places, such as parks, gardens and along the streets.
According to James Madison University, it may cause light pollution. Why is it dangerous? The research, conducted by its scientists and students is 2012 shows several undesirable health effects.
It emerged that darkness is necessary for our biological welfare. Violation of the day/night cycle may cause:
- sleep-phase syndrome;
- heart diseases.
Even obesity or diabetes can be attributed to circadian rhythm disruption. Additionally, melatonin is produced at darkness. This anti-oxidant is important for human immune responses and metabolism. So, just don’t let the lighting to be abundant at night.
How Do Solar Lights Work in the Garden?
Commonly, solar light is a small and quite simple lighting fixture. It includes:
- a rechargeable battery;
- a LED bulb;
- a charge controller or electronics;
- a motion sensor.
It looks like a miracle. The sun energy or rays are collected during the day. It is used to feed the battery. The power is stored within the rechargeable battery.
What are the Batteries Used?
The batteries commonly used belong to the lithium-ion type. They are:
- sleek by design;
Replacing solar light batteries may be necessary only in several dozen years. They last for more than 5000 cycles. They commonly discharge and charge completely. It is performed automatically. So, as soon as you buy the lighting fixtures, you can forget about them for years. They demand virtually no maintenance. Dead battery issues still happen. So, initially, check the charge.
What is the Trigger?
The system is triggered by the controller. That is, by the piece of electronics. I guess, if you use small garden lamps, it’s very simple and intuitive. A kind of sensor or photoreceptor determines if it’s a day or night. When it’s getting dark, the lamp is turning on.
Does the sensor light stay on during the day? It shouldn’t be on when the sun is shining. Some appliances may turn on only when somebody is coming. However, it depends on the solar light fixture type.
How to Make Daylight Sensor Work at Night?
It might be possible to change some controller settings. Professional services would be necessary in this case.
Meanwhile, if you see your solar lights not working at night, it can be a temporary issue. If you buy a small and simple garden fixture, the batteries might be not too powerful. They commonly hold only a one-night charge. In winter, or during a dull day, the amount of sunlight can be sparse. It might be not sufficient for the whole night illumination.
However, try to check the photoreceptors. Are they clean? What if something shadows the sensor or the panel? Maybe, a plant or a tree?
How to Clean Solar Lights?
The fixtures are located outdoors. That’s why they depend on the environment. Some debris may be accumulated on the surface. Thus, the light cover would require some maintenance. It should be made of glass or plastic.
To clean it:
- Wipe the cover with a cloth or a paper towel.
- Use a screwdriver to disassemble the lamp.
- Make it clean from inside.
- Reassemble the light.
Additionally, the solar panel might require cleaning. Brush off the debris. Clean the surface with a damp towel. Apply some soap, if necessary. Remove the soap. Make sure, the panel is not cloudy now.
How Long do Solar Lights Last?
The appliances are durable. They last for decades. The batteries last for several years, at least. The charge can be low. In this case, recharge the batteries by a suitable recharger. Otherwise, replace the batteries.
What are the other parts? The LED bulbs? How long do they last? The lifespan is up to 50,000 hours. How to check it?
Do Solar Lights Charge on Cloudy Day?
Fortunately, there are precious few cloudy days in California. In San Jose, we experience only about 62 rainy days per year. Nevertheless, they happen. From November till March, precipitation is considerably high. In winter, hours of sunshine are also shorter than in summer.
You need to illuminate your garden and pathways all year round. It goes not only about Christmas celebrations. During long, dark and rainy nights, tripping and anti-theft security are essential. How to resolve the issue?
Actually, solar panels are sensitive to luminous intensity/light density. During a sunny day, they collect enough energy to charge a battery. Clouds diffuse sunlight strength. They reduce charging efficiency. But it’s not heavy.
Direct sunlight heats the panels. It may impair charging. Clouds can increase the amount of power your solar panels absorb. Additionally, they don’t cover the sun completely. They only diffuse sunlight. So, 6-8 hours of diffused sunlight would be enough to store power.
Is it Possible to Charge Your Solar Lights without Sun?
If you live in a cold and cloudy city, don’t lose courage. Your garden badly needs illumination at night, especially in winter. First of all, opt for the most efficient panel technology. Thus, mono-crystalline panels are more efficient than poly-crystalline. Batteries and lighting fixtures also matter.
Try to charge your disc solar lights in another way, like:
- using incandescent or LED batteries;
- through windows;
- removing and charging the batteries in a special smart charger.
Incandescent bulbs produce light waves. Solar lights convert them into energy and collect it. But it’s not a very efficient method. You are to use hella bright bulbs. They require a lot of power to burn and use too much electricity.
LED bulbs produce light waves similar to ultraviolet. Their spectrum resembles those of sunlight. So, the illumination might do the job. Your solar panels might get enough sunlight through the window. But it’s still easier to charge them outdoors. Just leave them under the sun, direct or diffused, and they absorb its power.
It’s just a bulb life example. It means that the LED bulb doesn’t burn immediately. It produces 85% of its output (lumens) in 23,000 hours. In 30,000 hours, it produces 70% of light. In 50,000 hours of operation, the bulb is half-bright.
Why are my solar lights not working? Are they dull? Maybe, the old LED bulbs are the reason? If you are using them for about 20 years, it might happen.
So, what to do, if the solar light won’t turn off? Check the sensor, the battery, the bulb. Clean the panel and the cover. Actually, the devices are extremely durable and long-lasting. They are designed for outdoor use. But what if the reason is in the controller? Ask the professionals to check the settings. If the electronics is not repairable, you would need to replace the controller. Or the whole solar light fixture.