In most cases, summer is the time of year when solar lights and other solar products for the home and garden work their best.
Just like every season, you need to do a few things to get the best performance. For example, there’s usually lots more sun and more hours of sun. Still, you need to look out for how the shade changes in the summer.
Heat, pollen and dust are also issues that require a bit of your attention to get the best performance out of your products.
Here’s our top three things to do to get the most out of your solar lights and other solar products this summer.
Make Sure Foliage Isn’t Blocking Sunlight
While there’s certainly more sunshine in the summer than spring or fall, trees and shrubs are far thicker in the summer.
For sure, it’s best to have an idea of how sun and shadows falls on your property year round, especially for any solar light that is not easily moved.
Even if trees are pruned or thinned out, remember remaining trees and branches get bigger, healthier and therefore more lush, changing how shadows fall and may make them larger.
What You Can Do:
If you solar panel is flexible, many panels that get 6 or more hours of direct sunshine a day can be placed to a “flat position.”
If you notice that the very light that provided exceptional light in October or early April is a bit dimmer right now, see if you can move the solar panel to a place where it gets more light (many solar products have cords between the solar light and panel).
If foliage creates excessive shade for part of the day, you can also tilt the solar panel so that it directly faces the sunshine for the hours it is available.
Accent lights, in particular, are close to the ground and seasonal changes of a perennial or growth of annuals can mean frequent changes to the shade.
We move our accent lights around to highlight certain plantings, and to “fill in” areas that aren’t as interesting once the blooms have faded.
They also add some color and interest for fall and late summer bloomers like flox, asters and Black-Eyed Susans.
Check for Pollen and Dust after Stretches of Dry Weather
If you get regular rain in the sun, then most pollen and dust will wash away on its own.
You may have to check after periods of exceptionally high pollen (when things are covered with yellow dust) and spray or wipe off that pollen due to its sheer density, but after summer starts pollen isn’t much of a pollen.
Many of our solar lights, however, are sold in areas that often go long stretches without rain during the summer, especially in the many states in the sunbelt or in desert areas.
For these folks, solar panels should be checked periodically to make sure that there isn’t so much dust that it blocks the panel’s ability to create enough power for the lights to work properly.
Make Sure Water in Solar Water Fountains Doesn’t Evaporate
Solar water fountains, regardless of their style, are great choices because of the ease of installation and maintenance.
However, you do need to check the water levels on a regular basis and replace water that the sun’s heat evaporates. Like any pumps, running solar pumps outside of water for an extended period of time will burn them out.
Even though most solar fountains have large reservoirs that hold a lot more water than the pump needs, check water regularly levels and replenish so that the pump always is submerged.
If you are going away for a week or more, it’s best to turn the pump off and remove the water.
This way, you don’t have to worry about the pump and you don’t need to worry about standing water serving as the host for new generations of mosquitoes.