September 24, 2010
Outdoor Security Lighting Overview
Statistics show that crimes are less likely to occur in well lit areas, because a well-lighted property is an excellent deterrent against criminals. Although nothing is guaranteed to prevent malicious activity or guarantee personal safety, outdoor security lighting is one of the most practical and effective ways to prevent crime in or around your home or office.
An outdoor security lighting system is a deterrent because it exposes the criminal, who looks for areas with little to no lighting. Well lit areas increase the risk of detection for criminals and makes them less confident about taking the risk of entering your property.
The main objectives of an outdoor security lighting system are to illuminate dark areas and detect and recognize movement in the protected area.
The best vision with outdoor lighting is obtained from downward directed and shielded security lighting that is constantly on, supplemented with instant-on lighting triggered by motion detectors.
Note: It is important to position security lights high up and well out of reach, so they cannot be disabled by intruders. Overall, the best position is mounted as high as possible on your property in a downward position for safe and reliable operation.
You can buy many different types of security lights and outdoor security lighting systems, so it is best to divide security lighting into two lamp categories:
- High Intensity Discharge (HID)
- Halogen or Incandescent.
High Intensity Discharge Lights
HID lights are energy efficient, long lasting and for this reason are commonly used in landscape lighting. The most popular HID lights are the mercury vapor types, which are blue-green colored. The other common types of outdoor flood lights are:
All of these sources require a warm-up period in order to return to full intensity if the power goes off. As such they are not designed for immediate use for example with motion detectors and should be therefore be used in conjunction with other sources for instant on lighting.
Halogen or Incandescent Lights
Halogen lights operate on standard house current and are often used as floodlights. They are ideal for instant-on applications because they require no warm up period. These security lights work well in combination with HID lighting as supplemental security lighting. They are not power efficient so are less suited to continuous use.
devices sense movement and turn outdoor security lights on when motion is detected and are ideal for both security lighting and energy management. Because they switch the lights off and on constantly, they are designed to control halogen or incandescent sources and cannot be used to control HID lights..