Mercury Vapor and High Voltage Landscape Lighting Explained For Dallas Residents

There is a reason Dallas, Texas is known to be the Mercury Vapor moonlighting capitol of the world. The “architect” of utilizing high voltage lighting in residential landscape lighting applications founded the concept in Dallas, Texas over 50 years ago.

Drive by virtually any affluent neighborhood in Dallas, Texas such as Park Cities, Lakewood, or Preston Hollow, at night and you will see vast amounts of mercury vapor used for Landscape Lighting in Dallas.

The light rendering high voltage lighting gives off bluish green hue and has been coined the term “moonlighting” although in reality renders nothing remotely close too a natural soft moonlighting effect at night. Some folks think this type of lamp makes everything look ghoulish.

Drive by these same Dallas, Texas homes during the day and you will find lawns cluttered with bulky electric junction boxes, unnatural electrical conduit piping, dinosaur night light and beautiful native trees embarked upon with huge fixtures, tree mount boxes, j-boxes, and other unsightly power supplies and components.

Dallas landscape lighting home owners who have mercury vapor systems or high voltage systems installed on their property have recently come across a challenging predicament. The traditional mercury vapor bulb ballasts that are required to run mercury vapor bulbs are no longer being manufactured.

The U.S. congress passed, and President Bush signed into law, the Energy Policy Act of 2005 prohibiting the manufacturing or sale of high voltage lighting ballasts as of January 1, 2008. Mercury Vapor is being phased out to protect the environment and to promote energy efficiency in lighting.

High Voltage bulbs loose over 50% efficacy (A measurement of how many lumens a lamp produces per watt consumed) within 5 years. In fact mercury vapor technology is over a half century old and has the worst lamp efficacy compared to any other light source. Therefore, it was just a matter of time before this dinosaur of lighting was outlawed.

What challenges does this new law present for home owners who run this type of landscape lighting system in Dallas, Texas?

In a nutshell,

Once the lifetime of your mercury ballast has run its course, you will no longer be able to replace it.

So, what are my options you may ask?

Be cautious when your lighting expert/electrician tells you that you can simply change out a fixture: The fact is: mercury vapor or high voltage bulbs were only manufactured for use with mercury vapor ballasts.

Some will tell you that there is a comparable metal halide lamp. Compared to what? Metal Halide is nothing more than street lamp. Do you want a street lamp on your lawn or in your tree? A street lamp is street lamp no matter how you compare it, although it may be a great consideration if you are parking cars on your lawn.


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