Do you own a solar light that suddenly turned off after rain and wonder why it happened? Wonder no more! We've done our research to bring you an answer.
If your solar lights suddenly stop working after a rain pour, water build-up can be inside the device. This water build-up can damage electrical wirings and internal circuitry. You can check on this by removing the panel head and wiping the water with a dry cloth.
There are other factors why solar lights stop working. In this post, we are going to discuss them in greater detail. We will also discuss how to fix them and answer some frequently asked questions.
Why And What To Do When Solar Lights Stop Working After Rain
Solar lights are intended for outdoor use since they need sunlight to function. However, there are cases where solar lights suddenly turn off after rain.
The rain will not damage the device; they can help wash off dirt from the panel, but improper installation can lead to the solar light becoming useless. Your solar lights should be installed such that water will continue to flow down when it rains; otherwise, water will accumulate and build up inside the device.
The accumulation of water inside the gadget may harm the electrical wiring and prevent the solar lights from functioning. In this scenario, checking the device is the first thing you can do.
Detach the panel from its mounting to open the device. Then, wipe the water and moisten the inside panel using a soft dry cloth. If you plan to use a blower, set it to cold to avoid heating the wires. Be careful not to ruin the connections inside so it won't worsen.
Other Common Reasons For Non-Functional Solar Lights
Aside from water build-up inside the solar lights, there are other reasons to look for if you're experiencing a non-functional solar light. Here are some of the common reasons:
Not Enough Sunlight
From the name itself, solar lights need heat and power coming from the sun to function well. If you find your solar light not working, you might as well check the location of your device. The panel should be positioned in a place where it can get the most sunlight.
Rainy and cloudy seasons are another reason your solar lights don't receive enough sunlight. The sun during this time is not so bright that the solar lights cannot absorb enough energy from it.
Battery Needs Replacing
Many homeowners don't know that solar lights have batteries. The batteries inside the solar devices serve as storage of energy collected by the panel. Solar batteries can be too old or worn out, resulting in the solar lights not working. For newly purchased batteries, make sure that you remove the pull tab, or the solar light will not switch on.
Dirty Solar Panels
One of the reasons why any equipment isn't functioning correctly is because of accumulated dirt and dust. You need to ensure that your solar panels are not dirty because if it builds up and becomes thick, they will cover the panel and prevent sunlight's energy from passing through.
If the abovementioned reasons are not the problem, you must check if the panel sensors are still functional. A sensor will sense day and night. They will turn off the device during the day and turn it back on during the night. If they don't turn on at nighttime, this might be a problem.
How To Fix A Solar Lights That Are Not Working?
Since you already know the common reasons why your solar lights stop working, it's time to know how to fix them. Here are some ways on how to fix them:
1. Correct Positioning Of The Panel
To make your solar light function properly, ensure you install the solar panels in areas where they can receive the most sunlight. Make sure no large trees and buildings will block the sunlight. Although they will still charge in the shade, they will be at their best performance when charged under direct sunlight.
2. Check The Batteries
If the battery is a problem, they are either worn out or too old. Replacing them is the best solution. Replace the batteries in your solar lights regularly, ideally once or twice a year.
3. Clean The Panels
Your solar panels should be regularly cleaned at least every six months. However, if you're living in a dusty location, you should clean the panel twice every six months.
4. Replace The Sensor
To check if your solar light sensor is faulty, you need to create darkness by covering it with a dark cloth. If the light doesn't turn off in the presence of darkness, then there may be something wrong with the sensor. It would help if you replaced the faulty sensor so it will work again. You can check on your manufacturer if they offer sensor replacements.
How To Safely Clean Solar Panels?
Keeping your solar panels from working efficiently is keeping them clean. Aside from working efficiently, a clean solar panel can reduce home energy costs.
However, you need to know how to clean them safely to avoid ruining them with your own hands. Here are steps on how to do it.
1. Set A Cleaning Schedule
It is recommended to clean your solar panels during cooler seasons since they reduce the possibility of glass cracking when the water dries.
2. Turn Off The Panel
Before proceeding with the cleaning process, you need to turn off the system. Consult your manufacturer's guide if you don't know how to shut down your solar panels safely.
3. Clean From The Ground
It would be safest to clean your solar panels from the ground. You can use a hose that can direct the water to the panels. Also, it would help if you used a wiper with a long handle so you won't need to step onto the panel. However, if your panel requires you to go up to the roof for cleaning, you must wear gloves and proper safety equipment before proceeding.
4. Use Soap And Water
For grimes, you can use mild soap and water. Never use an abrasive brush because it can leave scratches and ruin your panel. Use a soft scrubber and soapy water when cleaning.
5. Call For Professional Help
If your solar panels require heavy and deep cleaning, you can call a professional to do it for you. Also, do not be stubborn about cleaning your solar panels if you're unsure how to do it. It will not be a loss to ask for professional help.
Can You Leave Solar Lights Out In The Rain?
Most solar lights are water-resistant because they are designed for outdoor use. That is why you can leave your solar lights out in the rain and still expect them to function properly unless they have moisture build-up because improper installation can cause them to malfunction.
Will Solar Lights Charge On A Cloudy Day?
Solar lights can still charge on cloudy and even rainy days since an amount of solar energy can still penetrate even if it is covered with thick clouds. However, the light it will emit will not be as bright as the light it can give off when it is charged on a bright sunny day. Depending on how much cloud cover there is, you can expect them to produce 10%–25% of their usual power output.
Do Solar Lights Work In Winter?
People living in areas covered by snow wonder if they can reduce home energy costs by using solar lights. Solar lights can work in winter if they receive enough sunlight to charge them. A 6-8 hours daylight charge is enough for the solar lights to fully charge and can be used to supply lights during the night.
How Long Do Solar Lights Last?
The lifespan of solar lights depends on how well-kept they are. Generally speaking, and assuming proper maintenance, the battery can last up to 3-4 years and the LED for 10 years. You will know when to replace them if fixing doesn't work.
Can You Use Regular AA Batteries On Solar Lights?
Solar lights absorb energy from the sun to convert it to electrical energy. These electrical energies are stored in a battery for future use. However, one concern of many homeowners is if they can use regular AA batteries to power up solar lights.
Solar lights can use regular batteries only for a short period. Generally, they cannot use regular batteries because such kinds are disposable. Since they are not rechargeable, using them to store energy on solar lights can only damage the whole unit.
Rechargeable lithium-ion or lithium-iron phosphate batteries can be used for solar lights. For smaller solar lights, you can use a nickel metal hydride battery.
The use of solar panels has been a great help to homeowners by reducing home energy costs. However, there are times when solar lights are not as efficient as electricity-powered lights because of some factors. Although they are made to resist rain, wrong positioning and installation can still ruin the solar device.
Additionally, make sure to clean them regularly to keep them working effectively. And if you're unsure of how to fix your solar lights, feel free to call a professional.
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