5 Ways In-Ground Lights Can Go Wrong

In-ground lights are a great and modern way you can add dramatic up-lighting along walkways and garden beds.  Whether your lighting fixture is a new addition or have been up-lighting your foliage for years there are a couple of issues that you can experience. Below are the top five issues you could come across with your outdoor in-ground lighting fixtures.

Water From Below

The biggest issue with in-ground lighting is damage from water getting into the light bulb. As this light heats up, it expands and the air inside the fixture will escape either at the top of or bottom of the fixture. As the light cools down it contracts back down which creates a vacuum like motion. If the wiring at the bottom of the fixture is not properly sealed then moisture from the ground could get in the lighting and cause corrosion and shortages.

To prevent this from happening you will need to make sure that during installation, the fixture is place in the right material. Gravel does not absorb rainwater so it is the perfect material to install this fixture into. If your exterior has no gravel you can put sealant to block any potential access points for moisture.

Water From Above

If you have an old lighting fixture of if your lights run on the cheaper side then you may come across this issue with in-ground lights.  In either of these cases the seam where the lens cover and trim meet may not be properly sealed or the seam is starting to disintegrate. This broken seal will allow water to enter your lights when it rains or snows outside.

To prevent this from happening, you need to purchase fixtures that have a flush seam as this type of seam will prevent any type of fluid from getting inside. Some fixtures will come with a curved lens cover which are perfect  to prevent water damage. This is because the curved edges allow for the water to roll off the lens.


In-ground light fixtures tend to flood if they have poor sealant and if they are exposed to heavy rain. This is true for any type of light fixture exposed to excessive amounts of rain.  To fix this issue, wait until the rain has stopped and everything has dried up. You can then cut off the power and check for any damages before you turn the lights back on to see if the bulbs need to be replaced.

Glass Cover Breaks

As with all types of glass, they have breaking points and can only withstand a certain amount of weight. This goes for in-ground lights as well as their glass lenses are not made to be walked or driven on. However, accidents do happen and you may come across a broken glass lens. To prevent the glass from breaking, you may want to install these lights at a slightly elevated position to prevent people from walking on them. You could also create a barrier around the light to protect the glass lens.


Overheating could cause damage to the wiring of the fixture or the bulb and result in a decreased lifespan of your in-ground lighting fixture. While lights are made to withstand high temperatures while being on, they are not equipped to handle excessive heat as well. For fixtures placed in an area that gets very hot during the summer you may experience some overheating issues.

While there is no real solution to overheating you can prevent it from happening with the right equipment. When you are shopping for fixtures and bulbs to go in them, be sure to read the packaging. This will tell you if the bulb will be able to handle high temperatures in and around the fixture. You can also prevent overheating by avoiding installing these lights in areas in direct sunlight for long periods of time.



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