WHY YOU SHOULD
CONSULT AN EXPERT
BEFORE RETROFITTING SOLAR LIGHTS
Choosing solar lights over electrical fixtures almost always means that you'll save money on much more than just your monthly utilities. Choosing solar lights usually eliminates costs associated with:
• Hiring an electrician to install power to remote or unlit areas
• Repair landscape or hardscape damaged by laying the power lines, and depending on your property, this can be a lot of time and money) and
• Building permits and inspections.
But...there are rare exceptions when you should consult or hire a qualified electrician, plumber or even a lighting engineer. When you are retrofitting an existing gas or electrical lamp with an eco-friendly, cost-effective solar lights, you really should have a professional do the installation.
Retrofits Really Are the One Exception to the Rule
Many solar lights, like solar lanterns, can be hung or placed anywhere in your yard. And, most accent lights and spotlights are installed by sticking a stake in to the ground.
Other common solar lights (such as spotlights, flood and solar lamps and lamp posts) take a bit more time to mount in your yard or to a fence, wall, roof or other structure. The hardware is almost always included and the only tools needed are found in most household tool boxes: screw drivers and drills.
It's true that new solar lamp posts often need a small concrete base, but that's relatively easy. You need a shovel to dig a whole, a bag or two of quick set concrete, a level, and a drill with masonry bit.
Here's a Trick: If you don't have a masonry bit (which are about only about 5 dollars and fit any standard drill), stick a long narrow nail or even a thin pen or knitting needle into the concrete after it has set for a while but before it becomes rock hard.
Then, install the base of the post with the screws that come with the lamp when the concrete is solid enough to hold the weight but before it has completely dried. You should, however, have wait for the concrete to cure for about a week before putting up the entire solar lamp and post.
A Licensed Plumber or Electrician Must Terminate Existing Power Source for Safety
Whether you're replacing a dated and energy eating electric or gas powered fixture, installing the new solar lamp isn't the issue. (It's actually rather easy for someone who is handy.)
The thing you need to make sure of is that the original power source is properly done so there is no risk of electrical shock or a gas explosion during or after installation.
Bottom Line: Using a Professional Is Safer AND Protects You against Liability If the work isn't done properly, you risk of fire, electrical shock or even an explosion. Depending on your local building codes, you may not have a choice in the matter.
Capping an electrical source technically can be done by a skilled non-professional that has far more than a casual knowledge of electrical repairs, but we don't recommend it. And, DIY is never an option when capping a gas line.
When you do use a licensed professional plumber or electrician, make sure you actually see the contractor's license as well as both his/her liability and Workers Comp insurance certificates hiring them.
A professional plumber or electrician not only means you can be confident that your property, family, guests or customers are safe. Equally important, your insurance company won't blame you and raise your rates in the unlikely event the job isn't done properly.
By hiring a licensed professional with liability insurance, the cost and liability of repairs and damages is becomes the problem of the contractor and his/her liability policy.
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