Saturday, June 23, 2012

Malibu lights and suburban lawns

About every 6 or 7 years I have to replace all the Malibu lights around the house. It's an all day job. They used to be round, made out of cheap plastic and tough to attach to the wire, using a back clip that screws non to press the connector, pointed metal phalanges into the black wire. But they get dirty and rust quickly.

Now, they make heavy metal and wires that use clips hat lock around the wire. They're easier to replace, but still, only last a few years. The bulbs are expensive. It cost about $6 to replace each bulb. The light is only $10.

For some reason chipmunks like to chew on the wires, too. And if you have a gardener, they constantly screw up the lights. I tried talking with them but they don't always speak English and they don't care.

I used to use colored filters on the lights but eventually replaced them all with white lights only. The new transformers also go on at dusk and you can set the time limits. In the old days, you had to use a wheel timer with clips that kicked he transformers on and off at set times. Much more reliable today.

The solar lights are worthless and have to be replaced almost every year. The solar panels deteriorate quickly because of the weather.

But despite all the cost and the effort to install, maintain and replace the ones that break, they sure look great on a summer night. Beautiful.

- Ray Hanania

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