Solar Lighting Spring Checkup and Quick Tips for Best Performance


So many of us are finally tasting a very late spring and moving solar lights from storage to landscapes.

Luckier folks have been enjoying the outside and may  notice solar lights and other garden products just ain’t what they used to be.

Here’s some of the top problems along with how to avoid them, how to fix them (if possible), and when the fix just isn’t worth the cost or effort.

A bit of your time will mean a huge jump start for most most solar lighting fixtures or other solar products.

Lights Aren’t As Bright, Pumps Don’t Work as Long

Are Your Solar Lights Sluggish?

Are Your Solar Lights Sluggish?

If a solar light has been wintered, after the batteries go back in and the light’s outside, you may notice the light is dimmer than in the past or does not last as long as usual.

Lights often are less bright than normal after a long cloudy stretch or in early spring.  Or, you solar water fountain or pump isn’t pumping as long or reliably.

And when the products (or batteries)  are brand new, they have minimal stored energy.


The energy-storing battery has a weak charge.  It needs more energy that the solar panel has provided because:

  • Solar Battery needs to fully charge/recharge; or
  • Batteries are wearing out.

Easy Fixes:

Like some people, most solar batteries quickly  turn back to themselves after a few days resting in the sun.

Just turn the product to the off button for two days, and turn it back on after two consecutive days with 4 to 6 hours or direct sun.  If the light or fountain works normally after a rest, you’re done.

If you don’t see an improvement and there’s no damage to other parts of the solar lighting fixture, a rechargeable new battery should solve the problem.

Read on to find what other problems can and can’t be fixed.

Moisture, Dirt, Webs or Bugs in Product or on Solar Panel

Virtually all solar products have a seam or two where different components connect.

Moisture can seep in after strong rains or even due to humid weather. Dust and pollen sometimes work themselves in.

Wash Pollen and Dirt off of Solar Panel and Panes

Wash Pollen and Dirt off of Solar Panel and Panes

Droppings, webs, etc. from birds or bugs and spiders can get pretty anywhere outside without lots of pesticide.


  • The debris inside is ugly
  • The debris or humidity interferes the illumination from the LEDs and any reflecting devices
  • Moisture is temporarily interfering with operation
  • Moisture or insect damage has ruined components

Easy Fixes:

This is where keeping any instructions that came with your product comes in very handy.  You need to safely take apart the fixture (just like with most battery changes) to look at the components.

If there are no signs of rust to the solar panel, battery or any visible connections, it probably can be fixed.

Visible rust anywhere usually means the product is ruined.  (Note: the quality of the solar product directly relates to how soon things will rust. It’s one thing to consider when planning your lighting plan and budget.)

Cleaning Solar Panels and Interiors:

Yes and No Ways to CleanTo clean debris off of the solar panel, a quick spray them with a hose or a soft brush/rag usually takes care of dust and pollen.  Never use anything abrasive on any part of the solar lamp or panel.  If necessary, put wet rags or paper towels over caked bird dropping, grime or even some sap. When the stain is soft, wipe or rinse it off.

Let the Product Dry Completely


While most products are rust and water resistant, nothing’s perfect.

Try to avoid getting the interior of the light really wet. Instead of rinsing a small fixture in the sink, wipe the interior with a damp rag without any detergents or any solvents (natural or man-made).

Once all parts are thoroughly dry, reassemble the product. To minimize the chance of the same problem down the road, buy a small tube of clear acrylic or silicon caulking and place a small line over seams.

Know When to Hold Them and When to Let Them Go

moving_onDepending on how old the light is and how much you like it, you may want to take the extra efforts to bring solar lights back to life.

No matter how much you love something, it’s time to say goodbye.  So, it’s important to what can and can’t be fixed, how to tell.

And when it’s time to move along to new solar lights and solar products and how to make the best selections to replace some or many of your lights.

Other Posts You May Like:

Don’t Commit Assault With Your Batteries -The best battery is the same type and size battery that came with the product.

Get the Most Out of Solar Lights – Find out ways to get the best performance from solar products.

Solar Lights Not as Bright as They Used To Be? Quick Tips for Better Performance

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