Why use security lighting?
Security lighting at home offers a sense of safety. Many outdoor lights are available with motion sensors, meaning you will know when someone approaches your home. With security lights dotted around your property, you may also deter unwanted guests from coming too close to the house.
A light at your front door can add to your feeling of security, especially when answering the door when it is dark outside.
For even better efficiency, outdoor security lighting systems often make use of a light sensor that distinguishes between night and day, this type of light will come on when it gets dark and turn off again in the daylight.
Types of security lighting
Motion sensor lights
A passive infrared sensor (PIR) is an electronic sensor that measures infrared (IR) light radiating from objects in its field of view. PIR sensors each have a detection range and angle; if an object is detected by the PIR the light will turn on. Unlike other security lights that can be left on all day and night, motion sensors will only turn on once movement is detected. Depending on the type of light you are using, you can use any bulb as long as it is suitable for outdoor use.
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Solar PIR lights
Solar PIR lights are an effective way to turn sunlight into useful security lighting. Solar lights typically have an LED light source, and can last between 4-6 hours giving ample light to your outdoor space.
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LED flood lights
Using LED lighting to illuminate your garden is a great way to save energy. LEDs can be expensive at first, but will save on your energy bills in the long term, as they are very energy efficient.
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Halogen flood lights
This is the most common type of lighting for security lights but also the most expensive. Halogen bulbs although are very bright and light up your outdoor space with a strong white light.
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Where to place your outdoor security light
You don’t want to upset your neighbours, so place your security light somewhere that won’t shine into their garden or home.
PIR detectors are also very sensitive so just keep in mind where you position the light, as something as small as a bird or cat can activate the motion sensor. PIR sensors can become even more sensitive in the colder winter nights.
Ideal places to position your light include: Entrance doors, the garage area and the corners of the house.
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Things to consider when positioning outdoor lighting
- Look into running costs, which can add up, unless you go for solar-powered, or LED.
- Lights that stay on permanently have a measurable effect on wildlife: they can disorientate bats and night-flying birds such as owls, and cause day-flying birds to sing in the middle of the night.
- Floodlights should be placed at least 2 metres off the ground to ensure maximum effectiveness. Try holding lights up to test the position before making a permanent fixture.
- You may want to consider placing your light behind any plants or in some shrubbery to make a nicer effect than strong direct lighting, creating a specific mood.