Six Factors to Consider When Installing Security Lights

Security Lighting SF
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What Are Security Lights?

Security lights are outdoor lighting fixtures designed to illuminate spaces to enhance safety and security at night. They can deter intruders by making it hard for them to hide in the dark. It not only scares away potential trespassers but also alerts homeowners or security personnel to any activity. 

Installing security lights can be a simple way to improve the safety of a home or business. Here are factors to consider when installing security lights:

1. Lighting Location

The first thing to consider when installing security lights is the location. You want to make sure they are placed in areas where they can provide the most and maximum coverage throughout. Security lights are typically placed on the exterior walls or eaves of a building or on poles around the periphery of a property, overlooking walkways, driveways, entrances/exits, and other areas where intruders may access. 

Choosing the right location for your security lights is crucial to maximize their effectiveness. The first step is to identify the most vulnerable areas of your property. These could be entrances such as doors and windows or dark corners where intruders could hide. It’s also important to consider lighting up pathways and driveways to ensure safe navigation during the night. The most security lights around can be angled to illuminate potential problem spots.

The second consideration is the height at which the lights are being installed properly. Ideally, security lights should be placed high enough to prevent tampering. However, they shouldn’t be so high that they create shadows where someone could hide. Balancing these factors will help you find the optimal height. Also, remember to angle the lights properly to cover the intended areas.

Lastly, think about your neighbors when choosing locations for your security lights. You wouldn’t want to disturb them with bright lights shining into their homes. Therefore, make sure your lights are directed towards your property only. Consider using shields on your lights to control the direction of light and prevent unnecessary light pollution.

2. Brightness

Determining the appropriate brightness level for security lights involves balancing competing needs. Brighter lights increase visibility and the scope of the area illuminated, but excessive brightness can be disruptive. If it’s too bright, it could be blinding or cause glare. But if not bright enough, it might not deter potential intruders. It’s best to find a balance that provides enough light without being overwhelming. 

Brighter security lighting allows people to see more clearly anyone who enters the premises at night. It eliminates shadows or hidden areas where intruders could lurk. Brighter security lights also make the property more visible from a distance, signaling safety consciousness to deter potential criminals. Extremely bright lights may allow occupants to identify or describe suspicious people on the property at night. However, there is a point of diminishing returns where incrementally brighter lights provide less and less additional security benefit.

However, excessively bright security lighting above what is necessary can create glare that makes it more difficult to see. It can be energy and cost-inefficient. Bright security lighting may also bother neighbors by shining into bedroom windows or otherwise being a nuisance. Determining the sweet spot of optimal light brightness level requires balancing these safety and visibility enhancement benefits with intrusiveness downsides for each unique property situation and placement. Professional installation following guidelines for security lighting can help avoid issues.

While brighter security lights improve nighttime visibility to enhance safety, extremely intense illumination can cause disruptive glare or unwanted intrusions onto neighboring properties. Careful consideration of the various security needs, risks, and property layouts is needed to determine the appropriate lumens and placement of security lights for each setting. Following professional recommendations helps strike the right balance.

3. Types of Security Lights

There are different types of security lights available, such as: LED bulbs, halogen, fluorescent, etc. Each type has its own advantages and disadvantages. For example, LED lights are energy-efficient and long-lasting, but they can be more expensive upfront. Here are a few main types of lights commonly used for security lighting:

Incandescent Bulbs

In the past, traditional incandescent bulbs were widely used as flood lights. However, they have become less common for security lighting for a few reasons:

  • They are inefficient – Most of the energy is wasted as heat, not light. This leads to higher energy bills.
  • Short lifespan – Standard incandescent bulbs need to be frequently changed out due to burning out, which can be inconvenient and costly.

Halogen Lights

  • Halogen bulbs are more energy-efficient than old-fashioned incandescent bulbs.
  •  They produce bright, white light ideal for illuminating large outdoor areas.

– However, halogen bulbs also have a relatively short lifespan and higher energy usage compared to newer options.

LED Lights

LED security lights now dominate the market. Benefits include:

  • High energy efficiency – LEDs last for decades and use a fraction of the power of incandescent or halogen, saving significantly on electricity costs over time.
  • Durability – Solid-state LED lights have no fragile filaments or glass enclosures. Making them extremely durable and resilient against vibration, rain, wind, and external shocks.
  • Flexibility – LEDs can focus directional illumination precisely where it is needed. The light color and intensity are also adjustable.
  • Long operational lifespan – Properly installed and maintained LED security lights will reliably operate for 15-25 years with no bulb replacements required.


Fluorescent Security Lights

Fluorescent security lights were once common but have mostly been phased out in favor of better lighting technologies like LEDs.


  • More energy efficient than old incandescent bulbs, saving on electricity costs
  • Tend to have a lower purchase price than LED fixtures
  • Provide a relatively bright, diffused light 


  • More expensive to operate than LED fixtures, which have very low energy usage
  • Fluorescent bulbs have a shorter lifespan than extremely long-lasting LEDs
  • Light output and color quality from fluorescent bulbs deteriorate over time
  • Fluorescent lights function poorly in cold weather environments
  • The glass tubes are fragile and can break
  • Contain mercury requiring special handling and recycling

As fluorescent security lighting ages, maintenance costs rise, light quality dims, and replacement tubes can become hard to find. This has led to most outdoor security fixtures transitioning to solid-state LED lighting over the past decade. LEDs offer superior longevity, efficiency, durability, and customization of color/direction.

While fluorescent security lights are still available, LED fixtures have become the top recommendation from lighting experts. The only exception might be in some commercial/industrial spaces where old fluorescent security lighting fixtures are still being used until retrofitting can occur. But for most modern residential, commercial, and municipal security applications, LED technology is now the standard.

Smart Options 

Many LED security lights have smart technology built-in, such as sensors and WiFi connectivity, allowing remote control via smartphones. So LED lights provide an ideal intelligent platform for automated, self-adjusting security lighting systems.

4. Motion Sensors

Security lights with motion sensors can be very effective. They turn on when movement is detected, which can startle potential intruders and alert you to their presence. 

How They Work:

  • Motion sensor lights have a PIR (passive infrared) sensor that can detect the heat and motion from people, animals, or cars within the detection zone. 
  • When motion is detected, the sensor instantly activates the lamp to full brightness, illuminating the area.


  • Convenience – They automatically provide light precisely when and where needed.
  • Energy Savings – Stay off when no motion is detected, saving electricity.
  • Flexible Coverage – Various detection ranges (10 ft to 70 ft) are available to fit needs.
  • Deter Crime – Bright, unexpected illumination likely makes criminals flee rather than be recognized. 
  • Customizable – Most have adjustable light time durations (1 min to 20 mins) after activation and sensitivity settings to reduce false triggers.

Ideal Uses:

  • Outdoor home security lighting or outdoor security motion activated lights (outdoor motion sensor lights/motion sensor security light)
  • Business/commercial exterior security lighting
  • Driveways, pathways, entrances 
  • Remote detached garages or sheds
  • Backyards

With flexible detection ranges, minimal energy use, and automatic operation, motion sensor security lights are ideal for conveniently boosting home or business security with light. The sudden brightness when motion is detected often startles intruders and deters criminal activity. However, they can also be triggered by animals or even strong winds, so keep this in mind.

5. Power Source

Consider whether you want your security lights to be hardwired into your home’s own electrical wiring and system or if you’d prefer solar-powered or battery-operated lights. Each option has its pros and cons. Hardwired lights are reliable but require professional installation, while solar-powered and battery-operated lights are easier to install but may not be as reliable.

6. Cost

Finally, consider the cost. Security lights can range in price from affordable to quite expensive, depending on the features and quality. Remember, investing in good security lighting is an investment in your house, safety, and peace of mind.

Trust Andrade Link Electric for Your Security System Installation

  • We’ve been doing this for years. We know what works.
  • Our team is made up of experts who care about keeping you safe.
  • We only use the best equipment. It lasts longer and works better.

Ready to brighten your home and make it safer? Call Andrade Link Electric at (415) 305-7646. Let’s make your home the safest on the block!

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