Protecting Your Home with Outdoor Security Lighting

Most experts, including the FBI, agree that security lighting is the best deterrent to home break-ins. Security lighting removes dark shadows and areas of concealment that burglars use to cover their activities as they enter a home at night.

Home security lighting options run the gamut from simple to complex, but in the end, security lighting is a cheap investment to protect your home, property and family.

Security Lighting Options
There are a number of different outdoor security lights, including:

  • Spotlights - Although spotlights can be obnoxious if used to excess, they are the perfect way to make a statement to thieves to stay away. Spotlights can be a cost effective way to cover a wide area and are perfect for driveways, backyards and garage entries.
  • Porch lights - The humble porch light can be an effective tool for deterring burglars. To be most effective, porch lights should be in good repair and use a 60 watt bulb or greater. Make sure all of the entries to your home have porch-style lights installed.
  • Landscape lights - Landscape lighting not only creates a dramatic nighttime look for your home, it can be used to banish shadows around walks, entryways and windows. Most landscape lighting uses downward pointing bulbs, which are less annoying for neighbors and people passing by.

Once you've installed security lighting, you'll have to decide how to run your lights. There are several options for controlling security lighting, including:

  • Manual - Manual control of your security lighting can seem cheap, but it can end up costing you in electricity every time you forget to turn the lights off. Manual control can also compromise your security if you forget to turn the lights on at night.
  • Motion sensors - Motion sensors come in two flavors: physical and thermal. Physical sensors turn the light on when they detect movement across their sensors. Thermal sensors react to body heat and can be set to tell the difference between a person and you neighbor's cat. Whichever type of sensor you choose, motion sensors are a great way to utilize lights only when you need them.
  • Home Automation - Home automation systems use a programmable base station that communicates through the power lines of your home. With a home automation system, you can customize your security lighting to be on a timer or respond to motion sensors or both. Automation systems can also be used to control your lighting when you're away from home to give the illusion of someone occupying the house.
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