Originally Posted by bcg
Jim, why aren't you dropping LED retrofits in those instead of replacing them? If something is already there and the bones/design are good, retrofits are a very cost-effective way to go to LED.
There are a lot of reasons. First (most common reason) is sometimes the customer is just totally fed up with their old halogen system. The person who installed it over-volted it and they are changing bulbs every 3 months, etc. They hear that I have something available where they won't have to change a bulb for 15 years and they're sold. It's not a matter of money or being cost-effective for some people. It's a matter of convenience. So many people want the outdoor lighting system but hate the maintenance of having to replace bulbs. If I do a retrofit, I can't really guarantee them the lamps will last much longer than 3 years. Sure, the new LED MR-16s have good color temperature and a great heat sink. That's great for gettiing the heat away from the lamp - until you trap them in a fixture that doesn't release much heat. Then all bets are off. That's why companies like Unique and Brilliance aren't offering anything more than a 3-year warranty. They know this is a problem as well. You won't have to change lamps as often - but you're still going to need to after a few years.
Other times it's a matter of we're ripping out the entire [old] landscaping and installing everything new. And the old system had bad connections (old grease nuts that are out of grease and water is intruding into the wire), loose connections, wasn't installed correctly to begin with (daisy chained, when they should have used the hub system), too small of wire, etc. So it's just better to redo all the wiring. And as long as we're redoing all that and also installing a $20,000 landscape - why not just go for another couple thousand in new lighting? Then you're starting new with a new landscape and lighting system - one I can guarantee for a long time.
Other times it's just a matter of the [rich] customer is convinced that they need a new system. They've been hearing all the buzz about LED lighting from their friends at the golf club or Audobon society or yacht club and they start to think maybe they don't have the newest best thing. Same reason people upgrade the TV they just bought 5 years ago. Sometimes people just want the newest, best stuff.
I'm not saying I don't do retrofits, because we do a fair amount of those too. Especially for people who have a well installed system and are on a budget. But sometimes a full replacement is in order. And I'm not going to talk someone out of a full replacement if they're interested in it. I'm in business to make money, Honey!