It can be frustrating when your landscape lights stop working for no apparent reason.
When this happens, it is been my experience that the best place to start is troubleshooting your low-voltage landscape transformer.
Before we get into this, I should first mention that it’s always a smart decision to get a professional involved if you don’t feel confident working around electricity.
If your landscape lights are struggling, the best place to start is at the transformer.
We’re going to focus on a very specific point about troubleshooting a low-voltage landscape transformer: Restoring lost power. You’ll need to locate your transformer to get started.
Here are a few places to check if you aren’t sure where your transformer is located.
Once you’ve located your transformer, the first thing you’ll want to do is establish whether or not your transformer has power.
One of the most common problems we come across with 12V outdoor lighting systems is a lack of power on the 120V side.
If the transformer isn’t receiving power, it can’t redistribute 12V power out into the landscape to the lights.
How do you figure out if the transformer is getting power?
Your transformer will be plugged into an outlet.
If the outlet doesn’t have power, the transformer won’t have power either.
To test your outlet, plug in an electrical device and see if it works.
If there is power from the outlet, then you know that the problem is somewhere in your lighting system.
If there is no power, you’ll need to restore power to the outlet.
If your outlet doesn’t have power, you’ll want to look closely to see what kind of outlet you are dealing with.
There are two different kinds of outlets: the standard, and GFCI.
What’s the difference?
GFCI stands for Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter.
Unlike your standard outlet, a GFCI senses if any sort of current runs through the ground wire (if there is a short of fault) and turns the outlet off.
If your GFCI is shut off, try pressing the reset button to see if it restores power.
Often, there is a small green indicator light that will illuminate after the GFCI has successfully been reset.
If your GFCI reset button doesn’t want to reset, then there is likely also a tripped breaker switch in your home’s breaker panel that will need to be reset to restore power to the GFCI.
If a GFCI doesn’t have power, it won’t reset.
Go to your breaker panel and try to locate the flipped breaker switch.
Look closely, sometimes a breaker switch won’t flip all the way after it is been tripped.
Be sure to check ALL your breaker panels.
If you are able to locate your tripped breaker switch and reset it, your GFCI should reset.
If you’ve managed to restore power to the outlet for your transformer, open your transformer up and hit your control timer’s switch.
As frustrating as this can be, if you are dealing with a standard outlet without power, you are still very likely dealing with a GFCI issue.
I don’t blame you.
If there is a tripped GFCI on the same circuit as your standard outlet, neither the GFCI nor the outlet will have power.
How do you find the tripped GFCI?
You’ll have to play detective.
Here are a few places GFCIs are often found in the home.
In addition to these common places, remember that GFCIs can also be found in odd places.
If you get frustrated trying to locate the tripped GFCI, just remember, look in the places you wouldn’t normally think to look.
If you manage to find the tripped GFCI, reset it and go back to your standard outlet to test it for power.
If you have power, you are all good to go.
At Landscape Lighting Pro of Utah, the art of outdoor illumination is a real passion we work to perfect. Designing elegantly bespoke landscape lighting systems is simply all we do.
For over 20 years, our award-winning team of designers and craftsmen have striven to bring the best outdoor lighting experience possible to people’s homes and businesses across the Wasatch Front & beyond.
Located in Midvale, Landscape Lighting Pro of Utah installs, maintains, and repairs lighting systems throughout Utah’s residential areas, including Salt Lake City, Park City, Draper, Davis, and Utah Counties. If you have an upcoming project you’d like help with, call (801)440-7647 for more information, schedule a free consultation, or feel free to simply fill out a contact form on our website.