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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.

Security light - spread of light correct




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.

Security light - spread of light wrong




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.


Judge Electrical Limited
15 Mulberry Court, Huntington, York, YO32 9TU
Telephone 01904 764845 (Landline), 07919 033113 Mobile)
Email info@judgeelectrical.co.uk
VAT No. 852917405. Company Number 6359328