Security Lighting Overview

Outdoor lighting is a simple, effective way to add to your home's security and safety. Home security experts agree that a well lit home can provide a powerful deterrent to burglars and other intruders. Such people prefer to conduct their activities in the dark.

There are three basic types of lighting that you can use to enhance your home's security and reduce the risk of break in: Continuous lighting, Motion activated lighting, and Hi/Lo motion activated lighting.

Continuous Lighting - This is the oldest method and it can still be effective. If your home is brightly lit all night long, that can prove a powerful deterrent to burglars. All this requires is lights that are activated by a darkness sensor. Or, if you prefer, you can simply remember to flip a switch every night and again in the morning.

Of course, burning lights all night can add a hefty sum to your electric bill each month. So continuous lighting is a technique to be used sparingly. A post lantern with a darkness sensor probably won't use too much electricity and will give a pleasing look to your yard at night as well. A series of landscape lights outlining the front steps can also look good without costing too much, especially if the lights are solar powered.

For other areas that you want to continuously light, consider High Intensity Discharge (HID) floodlights. These lights are almost 5 times as energy efficient as quartz or incandescents. Their drawback is that they don't come on instantly. They take a while to warm up. But for continuous lighting needs, this isn't a problem.

Motion Activated Lighting - This lighting is just what it sounds like. When a sensor indicates there's motion in the monitored area, the lights come on. A quartz or halogen bulb, or even a powerful incandescent will be up to the task of flooding the area with light. The lights then stay on anywhere from 10 seconds to 15 minutes, depending on the setting you choose. This allows you to keep your electric bill lower by having the lights come on on an as-needed basis. The bulbs last longer this way as well.

Motion Activated Lighting - This lighting is just what it sounds like. When a sensor indicates there's motion in the monitored area, the lights come on. A quartz or halogen bulb, or even a powerful incandescent will be up to the task of flooding the area with light. The lights then stay on anywhere from 10 seconds to 15 minutes, depending on the setting you choose. This allows you to keep your electric bill lower by having the lights come on on an as-needed basis. The bulbs last longer this way as well.

Hi/Lo Motion Activated Lighting - If you want the best of both worlds, Hi/Lo motion activated lighting is the way to go. A darkness sensor turns your outdoor lights on at dusk-but at only 20% capacity. This is enough to provide a pleasant glow that extends your living space by drawing your eye through the window. Then, when there's motion, the lights ramp up to full power, acting just like any other motion activated light.

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