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5 Outdoor Security Lighting Tips

One of the most important aspects of home security and safety is outdoor lighting and it should be at the top of your priorities.

There are other factors in setting up your home security – such as alarms, locks and cameras – but getting your outdoor security lighting right is one of the fundamental necessities.

Trespassers can take advantage of the darkness in your front and backyards in order to look into your windows, gain knowledge of when you’re home and test your security for weaknesses. Arriving home in the dark can also be dangerous for other reasons, such as the possibility of taking a fall when you can’t see the ground properly.

Home security systems have advanced a great deal in recent years, and outdoor lighting is a big part of that. Let’s focus on five of the key aspects of setting an adequate outdoor security lighting system for your property.

1. Use Motion Sensor Lights

The most obvious choice for outdoor security is motion sensor lighting. While it doesn’t have to be your only form of outdoor lighting, it is clearly the number one choice for security and safety.

Motion sensor lights essentially detect movement or heat. The light bulb connects with sensors that switch on the light in response to motion.The most common motion detectors are passive infrared, active infrared, microwave, photoelectric and dual technology.

Motion sensor lights are best used with other forms of manual exterior lighting, such as outdoor flood lights. That way you can light up your outdoor space for as long as you need to, rather than just relying on movement to keep the lights on.

The advantages of motion sensor lighting include:

  • Detects trespassers and potential burglars
  • Deters potential burglars
  • Helps householders and visitors to avoid accidents in the dark
  • Energy efficient – the outdoor lights are never left on when you don’t need them.

Make sure you have a good seal around all lights because they must endure all kinds of weather. It’s highly recommended that you get professional help and advice when it comes to planning and installing outdoor security lighting.

2. Make Sure You Light the Right Areas

Lighting just one small area of your property, such as the front door, is helpful but inadequate for security. It leaves too many dark spots for strangers and potential burglars to lurk.

If there are no motion activated lights on the side areas and backyard, then your home is still vulnerable to criminal activity. One motion sensor light might help you find your keys in the dark but it won’t be enough to keep your home safe.

Be aware that too much lighting can be annoying for neighbours, so be strategic in your approach to security lighting. Make sure you place motion sensor lights in dark areas which can potentially leave your property vulnerable. Here are the recommended spots to install security lights:

  • Above every exterior doorway
  • Above all ground level windows
  • In the driveway or wherever vehicles are parked on your property
  • Gates to your front, side and back yards.


3. What Height Should Security Lighting Be?

When it comes to security lighting, it makes sense to keep motion sensor lights (and other outdoor lighting) out of reach of potential burglars.

Recommended height for security lighting is 2.5m (8ft) to 3.6m (12ft) for the lights to work effectively while being too high to tamper with. A height of up to 7m (20ft) is acceptable, but if they are installed much higher the lights will fail to detect motion.

Another problem with lights that are mounted too high is that the area lit up is reduced and they become less effective.

4. Choose the Right Bulbs for Security Lighting

Choosing the best bulbs to use in your security lighting is crucial as they must be tough and durable. It is highly recommended to use replaceable LED (light emitting diode) flood lights, which will last much longer than standard incandescent lights.

You can choose a more focused style of lighting, which will shine an intense light on a small area, but from a security standpoint it’s better to illuminate a bigger area with flood lights.

The lights can be powered by batteries, which will require regular changing, or can be hot-wired to your home’s electricity, which is the recommended way to go. Solar powered outdoor lights can be effective but during winter months they can lose their charge and become less reliable.

Be sure to check that the bulbs are replaceable in your outdoor security lighting and, if they’re not, make sure to inquire about how long the warranty on the lighting is.

5. What’s the Best Power Level for Outdoor Bulbs?

There’s no point in installing low-powered light bulbs outdoors for security. If the area being lit up is too dim, the light loses its effectiveness as a deterrent to burglars and for other purposes as well.

The power of lighting is measured in lumens. The wattage depends on what kind of bulbs are being used, which is why LED lights are highly recommended. A 45W LED bulb will produce a powerful 5800 lumens, the equivalent of a 300W incandescent bulb (and LEDs are more energy efficient and last longer). It’s best to confer with a professional who can advise you on the brightness required for your particular property. Keep neighbours in mind when you’re considering the wattage of outdoor lighting.

There are other kinds of outdoor lighting, such as accent lights, which are likely to be low-wattage bulbs. These lights are ideal for illuminating a pathway or certain items but are not used as security lighting.

In Conclusion

To sum up, outdoor lighting is a crucial part of your home security. The bonus benefit is just how much the right lighting can make your outdoor area look attractive at night.

Choosing the right type of lighting and the appropriate wattage and installing it in the right areas will all have an impact on how safe your property is. It could be the right time to speak with a professional and upgrade your outdoor security lighting.

Published: 2022-09-06

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