Those long days of summer are rapidly waning. With darkness creeping in at earlier hours on chilly fall and winter nights, you may be considering the addition of security lighting to the premises of your home or business. Security lighting can be a great asset – when properly installed and used - but like most improvements, it takes a bit of forethought and preplanning.
What advantages of security lighting would you like to take advantage of?
- A clearer view of outdoor home/business areas
- The increased feelings of safety better lighting has to offer
- Discouraging criminal activity
- Safety around troublesome areas like pools, stairs, and other trip hazards
- Controlling unwelcome pests that don’t like light (possums, skunks, raccoons)
The best of intentions
Security lighting can increase visibility, boosting feelings of safety, and is often installed to deter criminal activity. Poorly installed, however, security lighting can be counter-productive. What types of installation errors lead to poor results?
Lights that aren’t installed high enough or with proper protection offer criminals the opportunity to simply take securing lighting out of commission. Homeowners – and particularly businesses – should also consider the importance of a stand-by and/or isolated power supply, running electricity from a different line/circuit, or connections with locked meters.
Glare that obstructs vision not only renders security lighting moot, but can actively aid criminals. Design must be constructed specifically for human observation or closed-circuit TV monitoring. Lighting should be bright enough to serve its purpose – not as bright as you can afford to power. One-half watt per square foot is a good rule of thumb, but more specific applications may vary.
Multiple lamps of moderate brightness reduce glare, provide better illumination and reduce pools of shadow often created by over-bright security lighting.
Certain bulb types are not compatible with freezing temperatures. Others overheat.
Energy efficient and low-cost, an 18-watt CFL produces the same light as a 75-watt incandescent, lasting 10 times longer. You can’t buy any old CFL, however, some models don’t work below freezing, while others function well in sub-zero environments. To be certain, check box specifications for minimums.
A 14-watt LED offers is the equivalent of a 75-watt incandescent, and a long, 25,000 hour lifespan. Heat buildup in enclosed fixtures on warm nights, however, could reduce longevity, as LEDs require airflow around the bulb to reduce heat.
This non- visible lighting pairs well with specialty, closed circuit TV surveillance applications.
High Pressure Sodium (SON)
Great for general site, perimeter lighting and car parks, SON offer realistic uniform illumination, 100 lumens per watt, and a 20,000+ hour life expectancy. Great illumination in fog, though time necessary to achieve full brightness makes them poor for event-driven applications.
Metal Halide (HID)
These very bright and efficient lights emulate daylight, making them well-suited for security and inspection applications. A great option for warehouse and commercial settings.
Quartz or Tungsten Halogen
More efficient than HID, quartz and tungsten halogens offer instant light with superior color rendition and white light quality.
It’s important to remember, while security lighting offers a variety of benefits, it is not a one-size-fits-all security band-aid. Security lights will not deter daytime crime, and must be installed in highly visible areas to ensure their highest, best use, such as in areas where neighbors or passersby can see potential criminal activity – not in areas without a line of sight, which can undermine security efforts, instead benefitting burglars.
Looking to shed a little light on things? Contact Mr. Electric ® today to spotlight your perfect home or business security lighting solution.