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PROTECT YOUR SOLAR LIGHTING
DURING FALL CLEANUP

Now that summer is over, it's time for many of us to start dealing with fall cleanup in our yards and gardens.

If you have solar lighting, or any landscape lights for that matter, it's easy to damage or even ruin lights once the rakes and leaf blowers come out.

Luckily, there are some very easy and quick things you can do to make sure your solar lights, fountain and other garden items survive fall cleanup!

Solar Accent Lights and Water Fountains

Most solar lights have a huge advantage over low voltage electrical lighting: they're easy to install and they're easy to remove and re-install.

Whether you rake or blow leaves yourself or hire others to do the job, whenever possible you should temporarily put away solar lights, solar fountains, pest control devices and solar lawn and garden products.

Even if rakes don't strike lights, raking or blowing alone can turn harmless rocks, sticks, acorns and other debris into high-powered missiles. Along with the lighting fixture itself, solar panels can be damaged.

If you hire someone to do your clean-up, we strongly recommend taking extra time to protect your solar lights. Many landscapers tend to "overbook" during busy seasons and often, the person with whom you arranged the job won't do the actual work.

Time is money, so most workers are told to go in, do the job as quickly as possible, and move on to the next customer. Unless you have it in writing, it's not their responsibility to protect any lights or garden ornaments. But you should make sure you know when the workers will arrive and prepare in advance. Like your mother said, "Better safe than sorry."

Protect Solar Fixtures that Aren't Easily Removed

Many people into solar lighting have solar lamps, lamp posts and security lights as well as accent lights. But while accent lights are relatively inexpensive, quality solar lamps and security lights can be costly.

Protecting your investment in cost-effective lighting is important, particularly for fixtures at the higher end of the spectrum.

Your solar spotlights or floodlights probably are located high enough to be safe without any action. However, if a leaf blower is used anywhere near your security lights, temporarily remove them if possible. If removal isn't an option, definitely cover the lighting fixture and the solar panel.

Solar lamps are a bit trickier, since they are permanently attached to fence posts, walls, buildings or mounted on posts set in concrete. Moving them isn't an option.

Whether your lamps have polycarbonate or glass panes or covers, all have solar panels. Our recommendation: cover them up!

Make Your Own "Hoodies"

Here's what we came up with when a pane in our old electric lamp post was broken by an acorn or rock when the lawn was mowed.

To be honest, our solution looks a bit ridiculous, but the technique is highly effective.

We took old comforters and cut out pieces large enough to completely cover each lamp. During yard work, we secure the covers with large rubber bands, tape or string. The result: a cushioned hood covering the lamp and solar panel with protection from flying debris.

Because comforters have some padding in them, they provide great protection. Towels also work but add extra padding like rags, crumpled newspapers or old bubble wrap.

We keep our "hoodies" in the garage and reuse them regularly. When the work is done, we just remove them and tuck them away until we need them again.

Today, all of our solar lights (and the remaining electrical fixtures) stand up well to fall and spring cleanup, as well as routine yard work.

This fall, take the time to make sure your investment in solar lights is protected!

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