This guide is for everybody who has outdoor speakers.
It doesn't matter if you have a warranty for your speakers, if you want them to last longer, then you need this guide.
Maintaining outdoor speakers is all about your consistency in applying these methods.
There are times where you're going to need to be inquisitive. You need to ask the right questions to answer specific problems we might not address here.
Maintaining your outdoor speakers is all about learning these techniques and applying them. But more importantly, you have to know what to do when you don't have the answers in front of you.
Here are the basic guidelines you need to follow to maintain your outdoor speakers.
The best way to prevent any further damage, or any damage to your outdoor speaker system is to have continuous inspection.
One way to do this is to check up on it every week. Check if there is anything unusual on your speakers. A big part of maintaining outdoor speakers is airing out the dust.
Even if you don't see anything unusual, airing out the dust is good for electronics. Dust can creep into electrical circuits and slowly degrade audio quality if it's severe enough.
A better way to inspect your speakers is to open up the grille to check inside.
Checking behind the grille lets you inspect the speaker cone better. Sometimes you'll see bugs creeping in there and that'll definitely distort the audio.
If you don't know how to open the grille, check your user manual. But if you threw it away, then your best bet is to look for the screws to open up the grille.
The catch to opening up the grille is to determine if it's sealed specifically for the different elements.
By forcing it to open up, you might damage its weather-resistance. And repairing the weather-resistance again might need more than home tools.
To prevent from making the mistake, do some research on how your speaker is setup. A lot of water-resistant speakers are made up of composite material.
This is exactly what the Bose 251 is made out of.
If you do have a water-resistant speaker, then don't use a hose to clean your speakers. Anything that emits water at high pressures can seep into the speaker.
You need to match the cleaning equipment to the speaker's cabinet finish.
Tools For Cleaning The Speaker's Cabinet
If your speakers have a wood finish, then you need to look into different waxes.
But don't be fooled by the different finishes. Sometimes speakers look like it has a wood finish, but it could be a vinyl-wrap to it.
You need to know what type of exterior you have so you don't pick the wrong cleaning solutions and damage the speaker's exterior.
If you don't know your speaker's cabinet, then do research and look at the speaker's manual or Google your product. A lot of the times, you can find your answer on the manufacturer's website.
Once you find out what your speaker's finish is, then find the right material.
A general rule of thumb for wood if you don't have a specific cleaner in mind is to use wood polish or wood oil.
Other than that, you can also use basic home detergents like soap or dish wash.
One big DON'T is to not use all-purpose cleaners. Look out for the labels that say "multi surface." Some noticeable brands which provide all-purpose cleaners are Mr. Clean, Purell, Clorox, and more.
Think of wood as a living organism. Adding chemicals like ammonia or chloride which are poisonous is going to naturally damage it.
How To Clean Your Speaker's Grille
A big principle to go by is to read the product manual if you don't know anything about your speakers.
Use it to understand what type of material your speakers are made out of, or any warning signs the manufacturer wants you to know.
If you find out the speaker grille is removable, find out how it can be taken down. The 2 most common ways a grille can be taken down is through prongs or screws.
If you have prongs, they can be taken down with your hands and they're located at the corners of a speaker grille.
Screws on the other hand need a screwdriver (obviously). What you need to remember about screws is actually remembering where you put the screws once you take them off. Many times, the screws themselves are small which leads to missing screws.
Whether you're working with prongs or screws, you need to be gentle while taking off the frames. If you pull too hard you can pull some gaskets out.
The same applies to cleaning the interior of the speaker. You need to be gentle all-around as we'll explain further in this article.
Similar to a speaker's cabinet, as you'll see later, you should use soft fabric while cleaning your grille.
Once you have a soft fabric of your choice, steadily clean the grilles while applying your liquid. While you're wiping, make sure you're wiping in a circular motion. Wax on, wax off style.
You can use regular soap to clean the grilles if you want. Remember to clean the front and back to make sure you don't forget anything.
If your speaker grille isn't removable, but still want to clean it?
Clean up the dust with a device that has suction. A hand-held vacuum will work, but also a fine brush can work if there's no alternatives.
We recommend a device with suction because it makes cleaning easier.
How To Clean The Speaker's Cabinet
Cleaning the speaker cabinets doesn't need anything special. Just don't use a towel which scratches the speaker's surface.
Think of cleaning your speakers like you would clean your car. You don't want to scratch the paint which means using unwanted shirts or soft cloths.
A perfect towel for this situation is a towel which you would use on your face. Something soft, but the exception is it's large enough to cover a wider surface area.
After you've figured out what you're going to use, it's time to start wiping down. Remember, you want to wipe with the grain. Even if you have wood veneer, it's important to wipe with the grain to maintain its appearance.
Don't forget to wipe down all areas of the speaker cabinets. People forget to wipe down the top at times because it's not visible.
In addition, don't forget the small crevices. For areas you can't reach with your towel, try using a q-tip or finding a slim tool and putting a piece of cloth at the end of it. You have to get creative with it for those awkward places.
Now, if you can take the speaker grille off, you have the opportunity to clean the speaker cone.
How To Clean The Speaker's Cone
If you can take off the grille, then you'll be able to get to the speaker cone.
There is a delicate balance you need to have when cleaning the speaker cones. This is due to the sensitivity of the speaker cone.
If you have a paper cone, you need to be even more gentle. Other types of cones take more force. Similar to cleaning your speaker's exterior, you need to use something soft.
You should look for a brush with soft bristles. This way, you don't poke a hole in the speaker cone.
A perfect example of this is a makeup brush. It's soft and easy to handle.
When actually cleaning the speaker cone you want to have gentle strokes. All you're trying to do is clean the dust off.
If you want to brush the tweeters, be extra gentle. We suggest not cleaning them as they're very sensitive, but if you have to, use the same materials as you would your speaker cones.
Don't use any liquids as it can seep inside the speaker obstructing the circuits inside.
Protecting Your Wires
We've given speaker wire tips before.
The main principle you need to stick with when it comes to speaker wires is to not leave them exposed.
Don't have them laying over your garden or walkways. There are too many variables which can damage your speaker wires. In our article on how to bury your speaker wires, it takes a lot of work, but it's worth it.
But if you didn't bury your speaker wires, let's give a couple examples of what could happen.
Leaving your speaker wires near a walkway exposes them to other people. There's a chance someone could trip over them which could snap the wires.
In addition, someone could get injured.
If you don't have the option to bury your cables, at the very minimum, place it out of harm's way.
Protection Against The Elements
Whether your speaker is weather-proof or not, it's a good idea to have them under something.
This could be a roof or under hang, all that matters is it has extra protection.
Another way you can protect against the elements is to cover them when you're done. This works against the rain, wind, insects, and cold temperatures. Now, if you don't use them for awhile, you might find spiders nesting there, but we can't guarantee anything.
Besides protection against rain or wind, how about itself?
If you have them mounted, you have to check the mounting to make sure they're secure. Check all the screws and the object it's mounted to making sure it's not going to plop over.
After this, you still have to worry about sunlight. But how you say?
Direct sunlight causes deterioration to a speaker. Even if you have it directly under something, the sun can cause damage to it if place directly on it.
If this is the case, think of another location which protects against the elements. Another solution to this is having a cover on it. But that doesn't guarantee protection as electronics can overheat.
Other elements like tornadoes, thunderstorms, or earthquakes are completely out of our hands. At the point, it's best to protect yourself.
Maintaining Your Outdoor Speakers
Before you do anything to your speakers you need to check your speaker's manual.
Reading the manual will help you identify what not to use with the speakers, and will also give you cleaning tips.
Even if your manual doesn't have any cautious tips, do your own research to see what chemicals can mix with your speakers.
After precautionary work, you need to check up on your speakers. Part of maintaining your outdoor speakers is using preventive measures.
An example of this is using a cover to keep debris out.
Another preventive measure is to check the mounting. If you hang your speakers, it's always a good idea to check the screws and the speaker's placement to see if everything is stable.
Once you check those, another way to maintain outdoor speakers is to clean all your speaker internally.
But this is only if you can remove the speaker grille which'll depend on the speaker itself.