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Shine the Right Light on Your Home Security Lighting

From critters to creepers, home security lighting can deter a lot of unwanted visitors, as well as give you some peace of mind as you sleep, vacation, or simply step out into the night. Motion-sensor lights, for example, can light your way from a driveway or garage after dark without the added hassle of flipping a switch. Lights also can tell you when someone is walking up to the door, like the pizza delivery person, or when a raccoon is heading toward your trash cans. The benefits to home security lighting are many but are most effective when you select the right type and place them optimally. Here are some considerations when thinking about your home security lighting project.

Why Security Lighting is Important


Security lighting at your home can bring you just that – a sense of security. Lights that come on automatically at dusk, or when motion sensors are triggered, can illuminate an area where someone is walking (invited or not). They also can turn on while you’re not physically at home, deterring unwanted visitors who may be interested in checking for unlocked doors or open windows. While you’re away from home, your security lighting is always on the lookout for you.

Home security lighting can deter criminals who aren’t sure if a person flipped that switch on or if it was automatic. They also won’t be able to tell if you’re away from home or if you’re physically in the house, about to notice their activity. They’d rather move on to other “easier targets” than a house with security lighting.

Exterior lighting that lights up anywhere you want to walk (whether through motion-activation, a timed lighting plan, or manual controls) can also offer real peace of mind that you’re not going to make a misstep and hurt yourself just trying to take the trash out after dinner. In addition, it can help visitors – who are less familiar with your home’s layout – navigate dark stairs, dimly lit patios, or poolside areas around your home. Just shed a little light on the situation, and you’ll feel better.

Considerations for Home Security Lighting


While home security lighting could theoretically light up every square inch of your property, you probably don’t want to plan a football-field level light spread on your street. Your neighbors wouldn’t appreciate your blazing white house covered in a million beams of light, nor would they like it if your motion lights come on every time a bunny nibbles grass by their bedroom window. There is such a thing as too much security lighting, believe it or not. When planning your home security lighting project, take into account where and when the lights would shine.

  1. Are they going to wake the neighbors by shining into their house every time a branch moves in the wind?
  2. Will the lights turn off when someone is halfway up the dark walkway?
  3. Will they catch movement from traffic on the street and not from the porch when someone’s waiting to ring the doorbell?
  4. Can you utilize landscape lighting as security lighting on your home, and if so, where could you install them?
  5. Do you want to be able to have both automatic, and manually controlled lights?

All these considerations should be mulled over before you head to the store.

Different Types of Home Security Lighting


  • Lightbulbs: Consider the types of lightbulbs to use in your security lighting based on the harsh, outdoor conditions they’ll be operating in. LED bulbs, for example, last longer than other types of bulbs, such as halogen or incandescent (and they also use less energy). LED security lights can withstand lots of temperature changes, and still run for up to 50,000 hours, while halogen bulbs only last for 10,000 hours and incandescent bulbs just 1,000 hours.
    • If you choose a home security lighting system that includes dimming options, you’ll also want to ensure your bulb is dimmable – something it should note on the box.
    • In addition, consider the lumens, or brightness, of bulbs you choose. Pitch black country homes need more bright light outside than a path that also gets some illumination from streetlights and the neighbor’s porch light.
  • Types of fixtures: Depending on your needs, you could choose more utilitarian security lighting styles like a simple pair of motion-activated flood lights. Or, if you’re trying to blend in your exterior lighting with your landscaping, you’ll need something like walkway lights or spotlights you stake into the ground. Simple outdoor porch lights can serve as types of home security lighting, and you may want to include ones that match your home’s design and aesthetic. You also can consider lights that are hardwired into your home’s electrical system, those that are plugged in (usually where they are installed or close by), or those that are solar powered for areas far from any electrical box in areas with plenty of direct light to charge up the solar cells.
  • Remote control options: Even with motion-operated lights, and other security lighting, you can utilize tools like dimmers or timers to adjust home security lighting to your needs. Timers can be perfect when you’re out of town but want to create an appearance of a bustling home full of people. They also can provide lighting when you’re arriving back home after dark and would like the house to feel alive and welcoming (not to mention, not tripping over your own feet getting to the door in the dark). Remotes can let you dim the brightness to create more of a casual mood, such as for a nighttime gathering or barbeque, and they can be integrated into home lighting systems, or into “smart” systems you can operate with apps on your phone.
  • Lighting angles: Good lighting is all about the angles. Remember your neighbors and don’t angle your security lighting into their windows. Also remember that you can use security lighting to beautify your home, showing off interesting architecture or landscaping. Adjustable home security lighting setups let you tweak the angle of the light, letting you dial in the perfect security setup.
  • Weatherproofing: Home security lighting is almost completely housed on the exterior of your home, and therefore must withstand the highest and lowest temperatures Mother Nature can throw at it. Make sure the systems you use are properly installed to prevent precipitation from getting in and ruining your hard work. Areas that could sit under inches of flood water may not be the best for fair-weather solar stakes along the path to your home. Consider the conditions that your home security lighting system will need to withstand, and it should last a lifetime.
  • Cost: While most home security lighting systems are very affordable, prices do range depending on the size and amount of lights you’re installing. You should always consider your budget and start out with what you consider absolutely necessary for your plan and budget. If you want to browse some of what a McCoy’s near you has in stock, you can check out our selection of home security lighting online.

Where to Place Your Home Security Lighting


As you’re considering what home security lighting is right for your property, walk around outdoors to think about various places that lighting can be put to work for your house.

  1. Start with parking: Consider lights on your driveway, or areas where cars commonly park, such as by the road or in the garage. This would be someone’s first entry onto your property. What will help a guest get from their vehicle to your door? It may be walkway lighting or post lighting at the end of the driveway.
  2. Motion sensor floodlights: These can be incorporated just about anywhere, but typically are installed high up on the corners of homes or outbuildings. You can also consider them around pools (as an added health and safety measure) or at doors to help shine light on keyholes or guests as they arrive.
  3. Mounted luminaries: Small sentries, these shorter but still more casual lights can be incorporated into your landscaping including around walkways or paths. They also may take the form of decorative lighting sconces at doorways or along railings on a patio or porch. There also should be consideration taken for dark stairs (like those from a deck) to make sure your steps are clearly lit, for this problem, specialty outdoor stair lighting can be a solution.
  4. Landscape luminaries: Low to the ground, these security lights can be installed flush with the ground or on stakes. Frequently these lights “hide” beside dense landscaping like shrubs or rocks. They can shine on a home, instead of away from it and can add a bit of flare to an external lighting plan as well as a sense that no dark corners remain for anyone to lurk in.
  5. Recessed lighting: Finally, you can hide lighting in recessed “can” fixtures. These are similar to indoor recessed lighting, but built to withstand exterior heat and cold, and still have a motion sensor turn them on. Consider this for walkways under an overhang, such as a long porch or portico, or to illuminate covered patios.

McCoy's Has What You Need to Help Keep You Safe


Choosing home security lighting can seem like a daunting task, but our experts at McCoy’s can steer you in the right direction. If you have questions on installation for a security lighting project, we can talk to you about what you have planned, and outfit you with the right tools for the job. We live where you live, after all, and we want your family to be as safe as our own.