Small Business Outside Security Lighting
This web page provides general advice on outside security lighting:
- Outside security lighting – the types.
- Should you install outside security lights?
- Installation – the considerations.
- The rough costs.
Outside Security Lighting – The Types
Different types of outside security lights are available:
- Motion sensor – turns on when a sensor detects motion.
- ‘Dusk to dawn’ – turns on when it gets dark and off when it is light, that is from ‘dusk to dawn’.
- Pressure sensor – turns on when someone, or something, stands on a sensor.
- ‘Normal’ switched light – controlled by a light switch the same as a ‘normal’ ceiling light.
- ‘Combined lighting’ – turns on when a sensor detects motion AND from ‘dusk to dawn’.
Should You Install Outside Security Lights?
- Security lights remove the cover of darkness:
- Is darkness a factor in local crime?
- Is it better to hide (leave in darkness) the benefits of crime, for instance a shed or outside store?
- Will the light give criminals the light they need to commit crime?
- Security lights provide reassurance to poorly lit areas:
- Will the light illuminate an area of ‘vulnerability’, for instance a car park, driveway or doorway?
- Do people need reassurance?
- Will security lights attract people?
- People gather in well lit areas.
- Will darkness be a better deterrent?
- Will people respond to outside security lights coming on?
- Is their anyone nearby to respond?
- If people are nearby are they likely to respond?
- Is the outside security lighting a safety measure?
- Will the lighting light up a hazard, for instance hatches, chutes or garden equipment?
- Will the lighting light up a sloping path in winter to prevent slips and falls?
- What are the costs of installation, running and maintenance of security lighting?
- Would it be better to install other security measures?
- Can equipment stored outside be moved inside, for instance from a shed to a garage?
Installation – The Considerations
- Power of the light – many outside security lights are 500W. 500W is, usually, far too powerful.
- Angle of the light (‘line of sight’):
- The ‘line of sight’ of the security light should be pointing down to ensure the light lights up the area it is meant to (see below).
Correct – ‘line of sight’ pointing down – spread of light down.
If the ‘line of sight’ of the light is too high (see below ); light is wasted lighting up the local sky and, possibly, annoying neighbours.
Wrong – ‘line of sight’ pointing level – spread of light slightly down and upwards.
Positioning of the security lights:
- Do the lights light up places where burglars enter a building, for instance doors and windows?
- Will the light annoy neighbours?
- If using motion sensors will a neighbour, in their property, trigger the light?
- If using motion sensors will someone walking past a property trigger the light?
- Will the light shine into passing vehicles?
- Are the lights high enough so they cannot be tampered with from ground level – above about 10 feet?
The Rough Costs
Rough UK costs as of January 2015:
- One outside security light with Passive Infrared (PIR) motion sensor – £40.
- One outside security light with ‘dusk to dawn’ function – £35.
- One pressure sensor mat – £35.
- One outdoor security light (no sensors) – £30.
- One ‘combination light’ – motion sensor AND ‘dusk to dawn’ – £45.
- One security light – cabling and switches – £35.
- One security light – installation by qualified electrician (about 2 hours labour) – £80.
- Installation cost per light gets cheaper for more lights.