Outdoor security lighting fitted to the wall of a house

How to Install Security Lighting

If you’re keen to boost the safety of your home, yourself and your family, installing security lighting is a move that you simply cannot ignore.

They provide two key functions; they offer an added layer of protection and enhance visibility across your outdoor spaces. Simply put, they help you move freely, safely and securely through your front or backyard at night and can effectively discourage potential intruders.

However, if you’re a homeowner in Australia and are thinking about a DIY installation, think again. In this country, only a licensed electrician can legally install lighting. In this article, we’ll explain why this law exists and how you should approach the installation process.

Why You Need a Licensed Electrician

At this point, you might be asking: “Why can’t I just install security lighting myself?” The reasons are clear and come down to safety, legalities, and quality. Firstly, your safety takes priority, especially around electricity.

A licensed electrical contractor undergoes extensive training to safely and capably handle the installation of your outdoor sensor lights. This enables them to minimise any major risks of potential shocks, fires, and serious accidents.

DIY Installation and Australian Law

Secondly, it’s a legal matter. The laws across all Australian states and territories state that only licensed electricians can legally install fixed wiring and lighting (both indoor and outdoor). Though the wording and specific details may vary slightly between the various regions, the essence is the same.

For example, in South Australia, you must use a licensed electrician to carry out any electrical work between the SA Power Network’s point of supply, up to and including the electrical wiring on your property. Disregarding these laws can lead to substantial fines, possible injury (or worse) and potentially invalidated insurance claims.

Finally, a licensed professional ensures quality work. A reputable electrician will instil confidence that they will complete the job correctly the first time and save you from future stress and costs.

Electrician working outdoors in the front yard of a person's house. At the foreground of the photo is a blue van with Metropolitan Plumbing, Electrical and Air Conditioning branding on it.

Choosing Your Security Lighting

Before your electrician arrives, you need to pick the right security lighting for your needs. Consider the following:

  • Coverage: Look at the area your light will cover. For large outdoor spaces, you might need multiple lights to maximise movement detection.
  • Brightness: Ensure your security lights are bright enough to illuminate large areas without causing light pollution or annoying your neighbours.
  • Colour temperature: The colour temperature of your outdoor lighting is measured in Kelvins (K) and significantly affects the quality and perception of illuminated outdoor spaces. Cooler temperatures (5000K or more) deliver a bright, white light that improves visibility and recognition, making them ideal for security purposes.
  • Energy efficiency: Opt for LED lights if you want long-lasting, energy-efficient options.
  • IP rating: The IP (Ingress Protection) rating measures the resistance of your lighting to dust intrusion and water. Given that outdoor lights must withstand a range of weather conditions, a higher IP rating ensures that the lights can endure rain, dust, and even jets of water. Ultimately, this makes them more durable and reliable for outdoor security use.

The Australian Government’s Your Home guide provides valuable information on choosing energy-efficient outdoor sensor lights. Always remember, the right choice depends on your specific circumstances. It’s worth discussing your needs with your electrician, as they can offer personalised advice.

The Outdoor Lighting Installation Process: What to Expect

Though you won’t be installing the security lights yourself, understanding the process can help you make informed choices and ensure you’re happy with the completed job.

Here’s a brief step-by-step rundown of what typically takes place:

  1. Initial consultation: Your electrician will evaluate your property, discuss your security needs, and suggest the best outdoor lighting solutions.
  2. Quote approval: After the consultation, the electrician will provide a quote for the job. Once you approve, they will schedule the installation.
  3. Installation of security lights: Your electrician will install the security lighting, ensuring optimal coverage and effectiveness.
  4. Testing and cleanup: After the installation, your electrician will test the lights and tidy up the work area.

Remember, each electrician might have a slightly different process for installing outdoor sensor lights. However, these steps provide a general idea of what you can expect.

Setting the Security Lights for Optimal Performance

Determining the best timing for your security lights can optimise their efficiency. It may be easy and tempting to leave them on all night, however, this could lead to unnecessary energy use and potential light pollution. Instead, consider the following:

  • Dusk-to-Dawn: Implement photoelectric sensors to activate lights from sunset to sunrise.
  • Motion sensors: Set your sensor lights to turn on when they detect motion. Outdoor sensor lights are ideal for placement in areas like the front porch, as well as any space you seldom use around the perimeter of the building.
  • Timers: Schedule your lights to turn on and off at specific times.

Have a conversation with your electrician about these options to make your security lighting as effective and energy-efficient as possible.

Outdoor Sensor Lights and Your Neighbours

Outdoor sensor lights certainly benefit you and your home. But don’t forget that they can also impact the homes that surround you. Here’s how to be a good neighbour:

  • Direction: Make sure your lights point downwards and don’t shine directly into others’ windows.
  • Brightness: Choose appropriate light brightness levels to prevent disturbance.
  • Motion sensors: Adjust the sensitivity so they’re not triggered by minor movements, like a passing cat.

Striking a balance between security and neighbourly considerations will make your security lights beneficial for everyone. Always discuss any concerns with your licensed electrician, as they can offer valuable advice based on their extensive experience.

After Installation: Maintaining Your Sensor Lights

Once you’ve installed your security lighting, regular maintenance is crucial to ensure it works properly. Always check for:

  • Bulb life: Replace bulbs promptly when they burn out to maintain effective illumination.
  • Sensors: Regularly test sensor lights to ensure they’re operating correctly.
  • Cleaning: Regular cleaning is crucial, as dirt and debris can impact the light’s effectiveness.

Even with the best care, you may face issues with your security lights down the line. Common problems include flickering lights, reduced brightness, or non-functional sensors. If these occur, make sure to contact your electrician for a professional evaluation rather than trying DIY fixes. Remember, in Australia, only a licensed electrician can handle major electrical maintenance and repairs.

Improve Your Security Lighting Around Your Property

The installation of security lighting is a powerful step towards enhancing your home’s safety, making it a worthy investment. But, it’s not a project to undertake lightly or without professional assistance.

It’s crucial to remember that, in Australia, only a licensed electrician can legally install these systems. This not only safeguards you from potential dangers but also ensures compliance with the law.

Your electrician isn’t just a service provider, but a crucial partner in your journey to secure your home. Involve them in your decisions, benefit from their expertise, and together, you can create a home that’s not only brighter, but safer and more secure for you and your loved ones.

Please note: This information is provided for advice purposes only. Regulations differ from state to state, so please consult your local authorities or an industry professional before proceeding with any work. See our Terms & Conditions here.


Published: 2023-06-30

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