Do You Leave Solar Lights On All The Time? Should You?
Finding new, green ways to decorate your garden can sometimes be easier said than done. Do you want to look into buying solar lights for your walkway or other outdoor space but have no idea how they work? Is it normal to leave solar lights on 24/7?
Well, we've done some research and have the answer for you. Let's dive in!
Yes, technically, you do leave solar lights on all the time. That's because they won't turn "on" during bright hours when the sun is out, as this is when they charge. So, although your lights are always technically running, they only should produce light at night.
Of course, to test this, you can always simulate darkness around your solar light, which should prove our point.
As we start this article, we will cover everything about solar lights and discuss how they operate. Whether you're switching to a green garden, need help with current solar lighting, or have additional questions, we're here to assist. With that said, let's begin this post below!
Should The Solar Lights In My Garden Stay On At All Times?
Depending on how much sun your solar lights get each day, you should be fine to keep them on at all times. As we said, solar lighting doesn't produce light during the day, as this is when your fixtures will charge.
Therefore, unplugging them or turning them off isn't always necessary. However, if you notice your solar lights turn on during the day or have trouble staying on throughout the evening, they could benefit from a complete turn-off.
We say this because most, if not all, solar lights charge even if they're off. Especially if your garden is shady, your lights may need the occasional 48-72 hour charge while being completely turned off.
Again, this all comes down to your space and the sun exposure, so some people can get away with having their lights on all the time, while others may need to "deep charge" every few weeks.
What Happens If I Keep My Solar Lights On 24/7?
Generally, nothing negative will happen if you keep your solar lights on 24 hours a day. As we covered, your lights take the daytime hours to charge, so they aren't using energy.
You also might want to keep your solar lights turned on to prevent yourself from forgetting once the sun sets. Imagine turning on and off 10-20 lights every day: it doesn't sound fun.
That said, turning off your solar lighting for a day or two to allow them to charge fully can be helpful in some situations, so this is different for everyone.
For example, someone in Arizona won't likely need to worry about deep charging their solar lights, while someone in Washington might need to do this weekly.
The sun's power is unmatched, but shadier gardens can sometimes fall short.
How Long Do Solar Lights Take To Charge?
Although this can vary, most solar lights take between four and ten hours to charge fully. As we mentioned above, solar lighting takes daytime hours to charge and regenerate its battery.
So, throughout the morning and afternoon, it's common for your lights to absorb the sun and save that power for later. Depending on the size of your lights and their sun exposure, this charging period can be pretty quick, but this is tricky to measure.
According to Solar Us Shop, if you place their lights in the ground and they get full sun for the rest of the day, you should get light through the night.
This could be the same for other brands, so it can't hurt to test your product and see what happens.
Do Solar Lights Charge On Cloudy Days?
Yes! Even if the weather is dreary, your solar lights should be able to take a charge. Generally, the sun can penetrate through cloud coverage, offering a few UV rays for your lighting.
With that said, direct sunlight is the best and fastest way to charge solar lights. If it's always cloudy where you live, this could become an issue and lead to more frequent "deep" charges.
If possible, try and place your solar lights somewhere without trees or shrubs nearby and in a spot where the morning or afternoon sun hits directly.
By doing this, you can at least be sure your lights will charge during the morning or into the afternoon, so they can turn on and stay on throughout the nighttime.
How Long Should My Solar Lights Stay On?
Now that you know how long solar lights will take to charge, it's essential to understand how long they'll run. Although this varies, most solar light fixtures will stay on for eight hours on a full charge.
Considering that the sun may set around six or seven o'clock and then rise again at five or six in the morning, you can expect your lights to stay on for most of the evening.
Again, that won't always be true for your garden lighting. Suppose it was cloudy over the weekend, and your lights didn't get a full charge.
You may only see them stay lit for a few hours before dimming and ultimately shutting off. In this case, we recommend turning them off entirely, letting them sit and charge for 2-3 days, and powering them back on.
Doing this should give them a boost of energy to return to their preferred schedule.
Where Should I Put Solar Lights In My Garden?
For anyone needing ideas for where to put solar lights, this is easier than you think. In general, the best idea for solar lighting is to place them somewhere unobstructed.
So, your lights could fit perfectly on either side if you have a walking path to your front or back door. Furthermore, you can place your solar lights around the pool or towards your tool shed/garage to provide lighting during darker hours.
Think of solar lights as a great additional lighting source throughout the evening. Since most of us have exterior lights attached to our homes, you can use your solar lights in more hard-to-reach areas.
Many homes also choose to line the driveway with solar lights, giving your property a modern, classy look. Again, there isn't one way to do this: place your lights somewhere that needs them!
Can Solar Lights Get Wet?
As long as the solar lights you have are water-proof, they will be fine to sit outside during a rain storm. Considering that most solar light makers consider the elements, you will likely be fine to keep your fixtures out throughout all four seasons.
According to Solar Power Genie, solar lighting was initially created for outdoor use. Therefore, these eco-friendly lights were manufactured to handle the elements even in the beginning stages.
Like your other electric outdoor fixtures, solar lights will be made with special water-proof materials, allowing them to stay working through wetter conditions.
So, as long as your lights say they can handle the weather, they will be fine to keep outdoors in the rain.
How Close Can Solar Lights Be To Plants?
You can usually place solar lighting a few feet away from nearby plants. Since solar light fixtures don't harm vegetation, you mainly want to focus on how much sun they'll be getting in your garden.
As we said, if you have solar lights too close to plants, there's a higher possibility the sun won't reach them. That can become a long-term issue, causing your lights to shut off when you need them most.
On top of that, not placing your solar lights in a good spot makes them essentially useless. For example, having a solar light below a tree might be a good idea, but your tree's canopy will block most, if not all, of the sun during the daytime.
Instead, try and place your solar lights leading up to the tree. Create a pathway to your tree using the lights, which is both functional and pretty to look at.
Are Solar Lights Bad For Wildlife?
Although solar lights aren't necessarily "bad" for wildlife, having bright lights throughout your garden at night can cause confusion. According to WalkingSolar, too many solar lights on during the night can affect animals' physiology, navigation, breeding, and standard health.
Of course, you won't create devastating wildlife effects with a few solar lights, so don't beat yourself up over this. The main issue is producing too much light when the sun is down.
Wild animals won't understand this and will avoid your garden. On the other hand, that may be nice for anyone struggling with raccoons or coyotes, so there's a positive to having extra lights as well.
Suppose you have pets. Adding a few solar lights around the areas in your garden where they hang out can keep them safe during times without natural sunlight.
So, take that for what you will, but there's a security to having lights on throughout the evening.
To Wrap Everything Up
Whether you have solar lights in your garden or want to install some, it's essential to know how to use them. We found that you can keep solar lights on all the time, as they don't turn on during the day.
Generally, your solar light fixtures will charge during the daytime, absorbing as much sunshine as possible. Then, once night hits, your lights will turn on and provide lighting for around eight hours.
Again, everyone is different, so your lights may charge fast and stay on for ten-plus hours, or they may be a little less powerful. Regardless, don't be afraid to unplug them for a "deep charge" if it's been shadier/overcast.
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