November 3, 2014

You’ve gone to great efforts to make your home attractive inside and out, and outdoor lighting lets you show off your good taste after the sun slips over Lighting_largethe horizon. The right lighting can improve the safety and security of your home-sweet-home too. Strategically placed lights not only help prevent trips and falls but also deter break-ins and burglaries. From fixtures equipped with motion sensors to lighting that switches off automatically at daybreak, outdoor illumination can help keep your household safe without sending your electric bill soaring.

Shedding Light on the Problem

According to FBI statistics, a burglary takes place in the United States every 15 seconds. More than two million burglaries occur each year, and the average dollar loss per offense is $2,230. It takes an average of 60 seconds for an intruder to gain entry to a home, and most criminals choose their targets from the street. Poorly lighted properties are more likely to be chosen than homes with adequate outdoor lighting.

Getting the Light Right

Outdoor lighting doesn’t have to be over-bright to be an effective deterrent to would-be intruders. A carefully directed light fixture with the right cover, deflector or reflector can make an area safer while bathing landscape features with soft, ambient light. The types of bulbs and controls you choose can help you keep energy bills under control too:

  • Compact Fluorescent Lamps (CFLs): CFL bulbs use as little as one-fifth the electric power as incandescent bulbs.
  • Light Emitting Diode (LED) Bulbs: Long-lasting LED bulbs offer up to 50,000 hours of illumination.
  • Motion Sensor Controls: Motion-activated light fixtures provide illumination only when people are present.
  • Photosensor Controls: Fixtures with photosensors turn on automatically at dusk and stay on until sunrise.
  • Timers: Connecting a fixture to a timer lets you select the precise time for the light to turn on and off.

Scouting for the Best Lighting Locations

light-editedA stroll around your property after sunset can reveal locations that need additional illumination. Pay extra attention to areas around doors and windows. You may discover that oversized foundation plants or tree branches too close to your home are the greater security risk. Consider combining landscaping and lighting improvements to optimize your safety. A gravel bed under a bedroom window, for example, makes it difficult for someone to move around without being heard. Make sure that the following locations have adequate lighting:

  • Front Door: Experts recommend installing porch lights on either door of the door.
  • Garage and Driveway: A flood light with a motion sensor mounted high on the wall is ideal.
  • Steps and Walkways: Stagger ground lights to avoid an airplane runway effect and direct lights downward to eliminate glare.

Nothing compares to the feeling of being safe and secure in your own home. With the right landscaping and outdoor lighting, you and your family can enjoy a higher level of home security while enhancing your property with artful illumination.