Is Fire possible ?

Discussion in 'Landscape Lighting' started by David Gretzmier, Jul 10, 2008.

  1. David Gretzmier

    David Gretzmier LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,645

    can't go back to sleep. I just has a dream about a job I did a few months ago. 4 uplights on a very large oak tree from ground. 50 watt 60 degree mr-16's on brass stake lights in mulch bed. fall comes. leaves fall down. more leaves, more etc. leaves are 18 inches deep, dry and lights come on. poof. no more leaves, or tree, just ashes. I know the fixtures are rated for 75 watts, but I did a nighttime adjustment on those and those things were dang hot, even with leather gloves on. Given that leaves fall everywhere, has anyone actually had first hand experience with fire issues? I'm actually thinking of getting one of those laser thermometers just to see what temperature these lights actually are. anybody know ?
  2. irrig8r

    irrig8r LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,553

    If you used the Nightscaping 7840 safety switch you could sleep nights. It's standard on their well lights, optional otherwise I guess... It cycles on and off if the fixture gets too hot...

    Use the Nightscaping® brand Walliter to uplight trees, graze buildings or highlight walls. Above-ground shielding and a stainless steel gimbal ring that allows the lamp to pivot, enables you to precisely aim and position the light produced. Featuring Nightscaping's® exclusive 7840 safety switch, this fixture will turn itself off if obstructed by mulch or fallen leaves that can result in excess heat. And subsequently, turn itself back on once the lamp cools.
  3. NightScenes

    NightScenes LawnSite Silver Member
    Male, from Kingsland, Texas
    Messages: 2,214

    I actually had a client (their gardener) dump a whole truck load of mulch onto one of my fixtures that was under a tree. This fixture was a Kichler 15384 bullet light. I guess it blended into it's surroundings too well for them to see it!! Anyway, about a week later I get a call from my client asking me to come out and replace a fixture because it's been damaged and his mulch has been smoldering for days. It never actually caught fire but this was not leaves either. When I got there the fixture still worked although it had melted!!

    If you have these lights on extension rods above ground and they are bullet lights instead of well lights the wind should keep them pretty well cleared off. You may want to let the clients know to keep an eye on it though.
  4. Pro-Scapes

    Pro-Scapes LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,180

    We did just that one time. Placed the lights on 6 inch risers with perma posts and placed some small plantings to conceal them better.

    I know I got a pretty good burn when I played with a 50w fixture. I would assume dry leaves on a hot dry evening might be a bit of a concearn. This will be another area LED's shine thru. I have had an led fixture on for several weeks now and the fixture is still cool to the touch.
  5. JoeyD

    JoeyD LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,933

    Copper and Brass lights get extremly warm...definitley warm enough to smolder or even ignite dry leaves, brush, pine needles, etc........Although I have never seen a fire situation with a stake mounted fixture i belive it could happen undert he right circumstances. It is more of a concern with well lights. All fixtures should be routinley cleared of dry debris just for saftey.
  6. irrig8r

    irrig8r LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,553

    I went to do repairs and troubleshooting on a job where someone had re-lamped a PAR 36 unscreened well light with a plastic Malibu version... and then the kids buried it under a pile of tanbark.

    Basically created a mound of charcoal, much of which was stuck to the melted plastic lens.

    First, I wouldn't have put a well light so near a kids' play area...

    Second, If this had been in dry native shrubs or similar material instead of at the edge of irrigated turf (uplighting white birch trees) it could have been really bad....

    I'm thinking maybe I should be giving customers a list of maintenance tasks (lens cleaning, checking aim, re-lamping, trimming overgrowth and clearing debris, etc.) along with a maintenance proposal and as-built schematic... Cover my butt and make it sound like a lot of work at the same time... :)
  7. Pro-Scapes

    Pro-Scapes LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,180

    if you bury a stake mounted fixture in dry easily ignitable materials wouldnt it esentially be a well light ?

    I think this calls for a test.. any volunteers ? I think we need to place a brass uplight common variety rated for 50w. Fab a steel box up so its contained. Run the lamp at 11.5v and bury it in dry leaves and straw.

    I think we need a couple of fixtures. Something compact in brass... compact in copper and something a bit larger like the coppermoon bullets in brass and of course a well light.
  8. Lite4

    Lite4 LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,183

    do one in aluminum too for fun.
  9. NiteTymeIlluminations

    NiteTymeIlluminations LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 367

    I have mentioned numerous times on this site then I wil never ever recommend or install brass deck lights. Low voltage gets hot, brass even gets hotter, its recipe for disaster. I've seen brass delta stars melt kichler 15575 beyond recognition. I've seen siding meltd from a mulch fire due to a buried well light. I've seen wire burnt all the way back to the transformer due to a bureid well light, par38. Its scary. I dont use par 38 well lights and i dont use brass low voltage. Crap I work only in the Caribbean these days on island and I dont use brass. Fire, heck yeah you can start a fire...dont sleep...fix it.
  10. treegal1

    treegal1 LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,911

    Is there someone that would suggest a good salt tolerant well light with a good safety record, We have been entrusted to advise a good friend and client, he is a thrifty fellow, but knows a good thing when he sees it!

    Thanks in advance

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