We all take steps to make our homes safer from intruders and one of those steps is by installing security lights.
No intruder wants to risk being seen and so by installing security lighting around the home, there is less chance of your home being targeted. This being said, if they are not used correctly, they can light up vulnerable areas of your home and actually make breaking in easier.
While proper security lighting is important to home security, don’t forget that it’s only just a part of things you can do to keep yourself, your family and your home safe. Read on for our top home security lighting tips.
You generally have two options as to the sensors used for your security lighting and it will be down to personal preference as to which you choose:
- PIR sensor – detects changes in IR radiation. Any movement within a given range triggers light for a short, often adjustable duration.
- A photocell – measures ambient light levels and triggers light on and off at dusk and dawn, respectively. This creates the impression that a property may be occupied, acting as a useful deterrent.
Home Security Lighting Placement
When installing home security lights, it is important that you can actually see the light when it comes on. Not many people seem to think about this and will install a light and think that the job is done. The thing is, if you can’t see the light, then all you’re doing is providing helpful lighting to the crook!
You will need to take the time to find a good balance when installing your security lighting. If they are placed too low then the light can easily be vandalised by an intruder. If it placed too high then all you may do is annoy the neighbors. In most cases the optimum height is around 2.5m.
The important thing is that you get all of your bases covered without leaving any blind spots around the property. Many, not-as-bright lights do a much more effective job than one really bright one.
The main areas to have covered are the doors and main pathways to the property. Not only at the front of the property but at the back and the sides as well.
Security Lighting Glare
Many homeowners seem to be under the impression that they can just install a few really bright lights and that will be enough to deter burglars. This usually actually has the opposite effect.
A really bright light will cast a lot of shadows, giving a burglar many places that they can hide. It gets worse when they are also improperly shielded; causing a lot of glare. People don’t want to look directly at lights because it hurts the eye. So if your lights glare into your neighbor’s eyes, they aren’t going to ever be looking that way. So make sure that you have proper shielding for your lights, and also angle them away from others.
Security Lighting Protection
While your security light can do a great job of protecting you, who protects it?
As we mentioned above, you want your security light installed high enough that they won’t be tampered with. Another method that an intruder may use to get past your security lights is to cut the power going to them. Because of this, you should make sure that any wires are in areas that are harder to access, and that any power boxes you have also have their own security lighting to ward off people with intent to vandalize your security lighting.
If you don’t want to be dealing with wires at all then you could opt for solar powered security lighting instead which will make it much harder for somebody to tamper with.
Security Lighting Maintenance
You need to keep up a regular maintenance routine to ensure that your security lighting is working as it should. Too many times I see security lighting with bulbs that no longer work and the homeowners just can’t be bothered to deal with it.
If you notice any burned out bulbs in your security lighting, replace them immediately. Don’t wait for them to burn out, check them often. Along with this, your lighting will pick up dirt and dust from being outside so you’ll want to make sure that you clean off your security lights regularly to keep the light shining optimally.
When performing maintenance, keep an eye on the following:
- Clean dirty lenses with a soft cloth and mild soap
- Replace burned out bulbs
- Replace broken or damaged light fixtures
- Replace damaged electrical components such as photocells
- Prune bushes and shrubs near door and windows
- Trim tree branches to prevent light obstruction
- Remove any signs of vandalism
3 Tips for Using Lights to Deter Burglars
For many years, homeowners have been told to leave lights on in the home to deter burglars and many people are beginning to question whether this is actually an effective method.
When it gets dark outside and you look down the street at how many houses are illuminated, do you ever wonder what makes a home a target? Why does lighting even matter to home security?
Well lighting is still one of the most obvious ways to keep your home safe, but only if they are used correctly.
If your home is always dark, it would appear to a criminal that nobody is home and makes them want to take a closer look. At the same time, if the lights are always on in the property, this too could show a criminal that nobody is home and you are just trying to cover the fact up.
If you use lighting properly as a means to deter burglars, you introduce the doubt that someone might be home. Light up the outside of the home correctly and you give them no place to hide.
Here are a few strategies to help you make your home safer with your lighting system.
1. Don’t Leave Your Lights on 24/7
As it turns out, less is often more when it comes to using your lights to deter burglars. Leaving the lights on 24/7 can actually attract the attention of a burglar which is quite the opposite of what you want and in doing so, puts your house at risk of being targeted.
Even when you are going to be away from the property for long periods, you can use items such as timers and sensors so that the lighting comes on at set times without them needing to be on constantly.
Some of the most common options include:
- Light Switch Timers – This type of timer are wired into your existing lighting and will automatically turn your lights off and on either at set times or when it gets dark.
- Sensor Switches and Lamps – These turn an energy-efficient lightbulb on in low-light conditions and the time can be manually set.
- Plug-In Timers – These are perfect if you just want a lamp or other device to switch on and off at specific times.
2. Use Smart Lighting
Every complete home security system should feature mobile control apps. These apps allow you to interact with things such as your door locks, lighting, and thermostat, even when you’re away from home. A good system will allow you to program your lights for specific times so that you can mimic the behavior of someone actually being at home.
You must be careful however, don’t have them switching on and off at the exact same time every night or this may have the opposite effect to what you want. Make sure that you vary your programming a bit to make the lights go on and off at slightly different times.
3. Light Up the Outside
A criminal will assess the home from the outside and look for potential hiding spots before choosing a target. You need to make sure that they have no shadows to hide in and that anyone coming on your property after dark, will be seen.
While you can buy external lights that use timers, they are not recommended for outside as they will still leave your home in darkness. Instead, you should look more towards motion-activated lighting. These will switch on as soon as motion is detected and will alert others that people are on your property.
By using your lights properly you can deter burglars and reduce the chances that your home will be targeted.