Edison’s invention is about 100 years old. It’s about time we thought about using something a little more up to date.
Actually Edison didn’t invent the light bulb. He improved it, devising one in 1879 that burned for 40 hours, achieving 1,220 hours a year later (a number a little better than modern incandescent bulbs, 750-1,000 hours). GE patented tungsten-filament bulbs in 1906.
But all these still require a source of electricity. Batteries made the situation better, but they still have to be replaced periodically. They’re also not great for certain applications, such as the lawn where sprinklers can get them wet.
Enter: solar-powered lawn lights.
Though the initial cost is sometimes a bit higher than other lawn lamps, they make up for it in several ways. Since they’re stand-alone units, no wiring is required. No need to dig trenches and plug into the house current. They also out perform battery-powered units because, as noted, there’s no risk of internal decay. They’re well sealed.
With that degree of independence and functionality, solar lawn lights can be placed anywhere. If you later decide to expand the lawn, adding more is a snap. Just shove them into the new ground and you’re good to go. Ditto, if you decide to turn part of the yard into a walkway or patio. Pulling up solar-powered lawn lights entails no risk of hitting the wires and no need to re-wire an existing design.
That flexibility makes it ultra-easy to move lights. It makes it just as easy to replace them. They can last for 10,000 hours or more (that’s almost three years if they burn 10 hours a night, every night). But ultimately the batteries will need to be replaced. That’s super easy since you just pull one up and insert the new ones. With the rate at which people move houses today, they may well last as long as you own the house.
The Ni-Cad or NiMh batteries used in these units today have little or no ‘memory’ so they’ll recharge fully over and over again, even when the light doesn’t run out of power before dawn arrives. This can be an issue in certain Northern climates where, during the summer, there’s only a few hours of darkness.
By the same token, there might not be enough sunlight hours to fully recharge the batteries. The lights may not burn all night. Many people set a timer on wired lights to turn off well before dawn. So, as with any option, solar lighting is an individual choice.
There’s no need to turn them off and on, or even to set a timer. Sensors cause them to charge as long as there’s sunlight and to come on when the ambient light dips to levels at dusk. Most modern solar lamps will produce almost 7 watts for 8-10 hours. They can achieve that because most use highly efficient, low wattage consumption LEDs instead of incandescent bulbs.
They’re a great option, durable and attractive. Give solar lawn lights a try.