Why Do My Outdoor Lights Keep Tripping? (6 Common Problems)
Yup, we’ve all been there. The circuit breaker keeps tripping and it’s driving you crazy. You might have even Googled it on how to fix the problem. While you might be tempted to call an electrician right away, there are a few simple ways you can troubleshoot it yourself. In this post,
I’ll show you why your outdoor lights keep tripping and how to resolve the issue with the help of 6 common electrical problems.
What Are the Common Causes of Outdoor Light Tripping?
Outdoor lighting can brighten our pathway home or scare away potential burglars, but at times, it may also lead to light trips. Why do outdoor lights trip? Here are some of the most common reasons:
Reason1: Water Damage
If water gets into your home or garage, then chances are that it will also get inside your light fixtures. This is especially true if they are not properly sealed from moisture. If you notice any signs of mold growth in your lighting system, then you should immediately contact a professional for repair services.
Reason 2: Frayed Wiring
This happens when one wire touches another without being connected together. It could happen due to loose connections, damaged wires, or corrosion. When this occurs, electricity flows through both circuits instead of just one. As a result, the entire fixture shuts off. To prevent short-circuiting, make sure that every connection is tight and secure. Also, check whether the wiring has become frayed over time.
Reason 3: Worn Fittings
Worn fittings cause sparks which eventually lead to shorts. They may look like normal but they aren’t. Check them out carefully before replacing anything.
Reason 4: Bad Grounding Systems
Grounding systems ensure safety by preventing dangerous surges of electricity. But if they fail, then they allow excess currents to pass through. That leads to overheating and eventual damage.
The most common cause is a loose connection in the wiring system or an open circuit somewhere else on your property.
If you’re not sure where it might be, here are some tips for finding out:
- Check all electrical outlets near outdoor lights. If any have tripped recently, check them again.
- Look at the wires that connect the light fixture to its power source. Are there any exposed connections? Is anything dangling from those connections?
- Is the ground wire connected properly?
- Does it touch something solid before going into the earth?
- Does the ground rod extend far enough away from the house so that no one can trip over it when walking around outside?
- Do you see any signs of corrosion on the metal parts of the fixtures themselves? This could indicate a problem with the grounding system.
Reason 5: Faulty Switch Boxes
A faulty switch box causes power surges. These occur because of worn contacts within the fuse box. A surge can damage sensitive electronic equipment such as computers, TVs, stereos, etc. Make sure that the switches work correctly by testing each outlet individually.
Reason 6: Electrical Load More Than The System Can Handle
Overloading means having too many appliances plugged into outlets at once. For example, if you plug two lamps into a single socket, then only one lamp would turn on while the other wouldn’t. The same thing applies to sockets where more than 2 devices can be used simultaneously. You may need to use separate sockets to make your outdoor lighting stop tripping.
What Can I Do to Get Rid of Outdoor Lighting Tripping?
The most common cause for outdoor light trips is when one or more bulbs in your lighting system fail. This could happen if they burn out due to age or because of improper installation. If any bulb fails, that will create a short-circuit which causes the entire fixture to trip off.
It doesn’t matter whether you use incandescent, CFL or LED bulbs; each type has its own unique failure rate. For example, LEDs tend to last longer than other types but still have their share of issues like flickering and dimming over time.
So, before calling an electrician, try these steps first:
1) Check Your Bulbs – First thing you should do is check your bulbs. Make sure none of them are burned out. Also make sure they aren’t loose as well. Loose bulbs pose a fire hazard so don’t leave them unattended.
2) Inspect Fixture – Next, inspect your fixtures. Look at the wiring connections and ensure they haven’t come apart from the socket. If everything looks fine, then move onto step 3.
3) Test Circuit Breaker – After inspecting your sockets, test the circuit breaker by turning it back on. If nothing happens, then turn it off again and wait 10 minutes. Turn it back on once again and see what happens. If the same thing occurs, then something else must be wrong. Call an electrician immediately!
4) Reset Switch – Finally, reset the switch. To do this, simply press down firmly on both sides of the switch until it clicks into place. Once done, flip the switch up and down several times to confirm it works properly.
5) Clean Out Sockets – Now that you know where the problem lies, clean out the sockets thoroughly. Remove dirt and debris that may prevent proper contact between wires and contacts. Use a wire brush or toothbrush to remove anything stuck inside the holes.
6) Reinstall Socket Cover – Lastly, reattach the cover plate to the base of the socket. It helps protect against moisture damage and prevents dust buildup.
If you want to fix problems with your outdoor lights without hiring an electrician, here are some quick tips to help you get started:
• Replace Incorrect Wires – Before replacing old wires, disconnect the existing ones. Then, look closely at how the new wires connect to the outlet box. The correct way to install wires is shown below:
Once installed correctly, reconnect the wires using the screw terminals located near the bottom of the box. You can also replace damaged wires by cutting away the bad part and splicing in fresh copper wire.
• Repair Damaged Connections – When repairing damaged outlets, start by removing the screws holding the faceplate together. This allows access to all parts of the connection.
Next, carefully examine the electrical components for signs of wear. A worn plug or faulty ground fault interrupter could cause intermittent power loss. In addition, if there’s corrosion around the pins, consider having the outlet replaced.
Alternatively, you can watch the video below for a more detailed instruction: