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8 Common Outdoor Lighting Mistakes You Should Avoid

outdoor security lights

Let’s face it: Setting up outdoor security lights with sensor capabilities isn’t always that easy and if done wrongly, it can have serious consequences or lead to huge losses. 

You don’t want that, do you?

Of course, not! And that’s why ensuring your exterior lighting is perfect and optimally positioned is paramount. 

Now, if you don’t know what to do or avoid, don’t fret. That’s what this post is all about. 

Here, you’ll learn of common mistakes people often do when setting up outdoor security lights, how to avoid them, and a few professional tips to help you through the whole process. 

So, let’s get down to business…

Top 8 Outdoor Security Lighting Mistakes You Should Avoid

1st Mistake – Using Traditional Lighting Fixtures

By “traditional,” I’m talking about incandescent bulbs, fluorescents, halogens, metal halides, and so on. Long story, short – it’s time to ditch them and switch to a more modern, secure, and economical lighting technology – LED outdoor security lights.

outdoor security lights

I know what you’re thinking; why LEDs? Or better yet, why should you swap out cheap and readily available traditional lights for fairly expensive LED replacements? 

Well, it quite simple. LED fixtures are better than any other lighting technology in existence. Here’s why LEDs are the best:

  • They Are Energy Efficient – Yes. With LED lights you can reduce your lighting costs by up to 80%. That’s due to the fact that these fixtures often use less power to produce more light. Plus, they don’t waste energy through heating. Therefore, with these lights, you can keep your security light on all night without having to worry about your utility bill skyrocketing. 
  • They’re Impressively Durable – While a standard incandescent bulb offers you 1500 hours of service – at best, an LED fixture will operate in full throttle for up to 100,000 hours. Typically, that’s around +20 Years of high-quality lighting. Therefore, once you install one of these fixtures, it will be a decades before you have to do a replacement. 
  • They Are Very Cost-Effective – It might be true that LEDs have a higher price tag than most other light sources. However, in terms of energy-efficiency and durability, these are the cheapest fixtures you can use to illuminate and secure your outdoors. 
  • Offer Better Light Quality – these fixtures have a higher CRI (Color Rendering Index: it’s the ability of a light source to show different colors correctly or as close as possible to how they look under natural light). Plus, you won’t have a hard time finding the right color temperature for your intended use. 
  • LEDs Also Offer Better Features – You might have noticed that most smart/automated security systems often come with LED lights. Why? It’s because these lights are more functional and offer a wide array of features including dimming, motion sensing, daylight sensing, alarm system integration and so much more.

Trust me, the list of benefits offered by LED outdoor security lights with sensor capabilities is endless. By now, I know you know why. Moving on…

2nd Mistake – Buying the Wrong LED Fixtures

Assuming you already knew about the benefits of LED lights and was planning to buy and install them, please ensure you get the right ones. 

Here, quality is all that matters; after all, you are paying for them, right? So, why settle for anything other than the best?

The wrong LEDs don’t last long, aren’t energy-efficient, offer poor light quality, and lack necessary security features. 

So, it goes without saying that you need to be very keen when shopping for these fixtures to avoid wasting your money on sub-standard lights. 

Pro Tip:

Before buying, always check or inquire about the fixtures’ durability, warranty, luminous efficacy, CRI, IP rating, and features just to make sure you are getting the best fixture. 

3rd Mistake – Failing To Plan Your Security Lighting

outdoor security lights
Image Source: unsplash.com

A lot of us often assume that installing exterior lighting is as simple as picking a spot, installing the fixture, and boom, they’re done. Well, I’m sorry to say that it’s not often that easy. 

Proper outdoor security lighting needs planning for optimal results. Think of it this way. Installing an outdoor LED motion sensor light needs to be done in a place that’s passable, accessible, or an entry point. 

For example, such a fixture becomes optimal when placed near doors, windows, facing the lawn, at the end of the driveway, or even close to your fence. These are places that robbers and burglars will probably use when trying to break into your home or business.  

Pro Tip:

Hire a professional to help you map out your lighting plan. They’ll be able to spot all the blind spots and critical areas that you may miss. 

4th Mistake – Buying Fewer-Than-Required Fixtures

In an effort to reduce costs, you might be tempted to buy fewer fixtures than what you need. Please don’t. That’s because doing so will affect the effectiveness of your outdoor sensor lights LED system. 

And while you may still have a decent amount of illumination outside, there will be a few dark spots; this will present burglars and intruders with unique opportunities to infiltrate your home without you noticing. 

Can you imagine saving a few hundred dollars in reduced costs only to lose thousands due to theft and damages?

It isn’t worth it, is it?

5th Mistake – Ignoring the Importance of Having an Outdoor Light with Camera

Do you really need camera LEDs? Yes, you do.

To fight modern thugs and intruders, you need modern tools and security features; the camera light is one of them. 

Nowadays, outdoor motion detector light systems come fitted with cameras that alert you and record any unusual activities around your property. 

A function that comes in handy especially when you are far from home and need to keep an eye on it from where you are. 

Take it from me:

It’s a smart way to combat today’s criminals and to keep them at bay, at all times.

Pro Tip:

When shopping for these kinds of security lights, always go for those that have night vision for improved surveillance results even during the darkest hours. 

6th Mistake – Failing To Properly Protect Your Fixtures

You should note that your outdoor lighting is always your first line of defense against intrusion. It will help you to see what’s happening outside and give you time to adequately react. 

But, this also means one thing… 

It will be the first thing intruders try to disable when attempting to gain access to your property. 

Therefore, failing to properly guard your exterior lights will make access to your home a walk in the park for thieves and burglars. 

Pro Tip:

To avoid this, ensure you protect your outdoor security light with camera by placing them high, in inaccessible spots or by placing a protective grill over them. 

7th Mistake – Doing Out-of-Range Installations

outdoor security lights
Image Source: unsplash.com

When installing outdoor wireless motion sensor light systems, you have to be very mindful of the range of your wireless network. 

Get this:

Your fixture won’t work as intended if it doesn’t have access to the security network. That’s because any data collected or videos recorded won’t be sent back to the server for storage. 

And that means that, in case there’s an incident, you may not be able to see what happened due to the lack of backup footage or stored recordings/logs.

Pro Tip:

Always check to see how big the wireless radius of your sensor light system is. That way you’ll know how far you can place each light without going outside the range. 

8th Mistake – Failing To Test Your Security System

Lastly, you should note:

Installing a high-tech, battery-operated, outdoor motion sensor light fixture isn’t enough – you need to test the system to ensure that it’s working. 

All you have to do is to switch on the lights and walk around or close to each fixture to see whether you trigger a reaction from them. 

For example:

Any outdoor motion sensor light bulbs should switch on as soon as you walk by them. Also, your wall light systems should turn on during sundown thanks to their dusk-to-dawn feature. 

Pro Tip:

Using battery-powered motion sensor lights outdoor systems is way better because it ensures your security remains in place even when there’s no electricity. Awesome, right?

 In Conclusion

It doesn’t take much to see why LEDs are the best outdoor security lights. They are efficient, cost-effective, durable, offer better lighting, and come with tons of cool and effective security features. 

All in all, make sure you avoid these eight mistakes at all costs. In doing so, you’ll have cracked the code on how to install exterior security lights like an expert.  

About the Author

Nat Huang is the Chief Marketing Officer for ShineLong, a Chinese manufacturer that specializes in providing LED Tri-proof lights and commercial lighting solutions to its global customer base through an official website. Follow him on Twitter @imrNat.