How to Get the Most out of Security Lighting
By Chris Barry
Sep 08, 2014
Outdoor security lighting offers numerous safety benefits. But it is important to locate it in the right places for maximum benefit. It is also essential you follow a few recommendations and guidelines too.
Firstly you need to be sure that the lighting is installed by a competent person, as per Section 3 of the Building Regulations. The same regulations apply to the output of the lights you choose, which must not be higher than 150 Watts. Low wattage compact fluorescent lamps designed for purpose are the recommended choice.
Ideally you should be able to operate your external lights from inside the home, and you should always consider your neighbours and never install lights in a position where they may cause a nuisance.
If you engage a reputable security firm to install your security lighting for you then you will have peace of mind that all of the above will be adhered to.
Siting the Lighting
When it comes to positioning security lighting, there are certain places that will benefit from different types. Again taking professional advice will ensure you get the best possible results.
There are three main types of security lighting: permanently on, activated and switch controlled.
Permanently on or activated lighting are most advantageous in areas that are overlooked, whether by you, neighbours or passers-by. For example by an entrance door, above a driveway or alleyway gate, in a side driveway that is visible from the street, over a garage door or on a front driveway.
Many people think that lighting areas that are not overlooked will act as a deterrent; however all it really does is light the way for intruders. If no one can see the intruder, what is the point of lighting the area? In actual fact it is better to leave these places in darkness so that it is more difficult for intruders to see what they are doing.
Areas that are not overlooked, typically side and rear gardens, rear doors and outbuildings would benefit more from switch controlled lights.
Entrance Door Lights
Lights at entrance doors should be positioned so the caller’s face is illuminated, allowing you to easily identify them in the dark. A professional installer will know how to do this without causing partial shade over the face.
You can choose from switch-operated lights or opt for one that uses a passive infrared detector (PIR) to switch the light on as someone comes to the door. If you are going for one of these then always be sure to choose one you can adjust so passers-by or prowling animals don’t set it off. Another option is a ‘dusk till dawn’ light. These are designed to be economical to run and automatically switch on as it starts to get dark and off as the sun comes up.
The same sort of lights can be installed above a garage, although you need to be careful locating them if there’s an up and over door as some of the light may be lost when the door is up.
Front Driveway Lights
If your off-street parking is near a street light, it generally won’t be necessary to install any additional lighting. Also think about whether your porch or entrance door light is sufficient to light the drive as in many cases they are. If you do need additional lighting then always talk to a professional as some larger installations will require planning permission.
On a final note, one thing to always be mindful of if you are lighting your driveway at night is to never leave any belongings on display in your vehicles. Be sure to remove everything from sight every night!
Security Lighting Advice
External security lighting can be highly beneficial as a deterrent to intruders and also to your personal safety. It is also a great convenience. The key messages are to ensure you choose the right lighting for your needs and property, and position it so as to glean the greatest benefits.