All you need to know about having a security light installed including costs of materials, labour and time frames.
Outdoor security lighting is becoming a popular addition to gardens and driveways in the UK. Security lighting can effectively deter would-be criminals while at the same time can light up your property to make you feel that bit safer when arriving home in the evening. But there are a number of different types of security lighting systems, each with their own power option and operating range - but how do you decide which is best for your household? Read on to find out which options are available and how to choose the ideal lighting solution for your home.
Motion sensor triggered lights are ideal for reducing energy as they are only in use when they are required, but there are other alternatives in terms of reducing energy such as timer units and even simple light-sensing security lighting which automatically come on at dusk. Light sources like halogen and HID offer powerful lighting but LED bulbs are a better option if you're concerned about the environment. PIR (infra-red) detectors are another option but they are very sensitive so can be activated by birds or cats, especially during the colder winter nights when they are even more sensitive to heat sources. Once you have figured out how you want to switch on the lighting, you also need to think about the positioning of the actual light units to determine the range. In addition, you don't want to upset your neighbours by shining powerful lights into their windows at night! So position your security lights carefully to avoid complaints. The best places for security lights are doors, garage area and the house corners.
Running costs can add up for security lights unless you use solar-powered lighting, though using LED bulbs can mitigate this somewhat. For best results, floodlights should be positioned at least 2 metres above the ground for best coverage and maximum effectiveness.
Most outdoor security lighting installations in the UK use motion sensors to activate them, so they operate only when there is movement in the vicinity of your home. There are two types of motion sensors available: active or passive. Active motion sensors are usually used as part of sophisticated security systems in commercial premises but are available for domestic installations. They work by outputting a beam between two points and when this beam is broken, then the light will switch on and an alarm can also sound. Passive motion sensors are the type most commonly used in homes and they monitor the heat levels in the environment via infrared waves. When the sensor detects the sudden change in temperature the light will switch on. Passive motion detectors will only sense objects which give off heat, so will not be affected by leaves blowing in the wind for example, which can trigger active motion sensors.
Some security lights are simply programmed to come on at set times and can also be switched on and off manually if required. Light-sensitive security lights can also be sued which come on when it gets dark, using a photocell to detect dropping light levels. But both of these options will have some level of light in your garden all night so will still use more energy and may be disruptive to neighbours. Solar lights can be just as useful as mains-powered lights but offer lower running costs plus of course, there's no wiring involved. On the downside, their lower output may not be ideal, though if used in conjunction with LED bulbs they are still effective in terms of securing your home.
Power options for home security lighting typically range from around 120 watts to 400 watts, though this obviously will depend greatly on the power source (typical garden solar lighting will not power a 400w light unit!). There is no doubt that a higher power output is better for deterring would-be burglars, but the type of bulb can make a huge difference. Halogen bulbs have a higher output than standard bulbs so are great for floodlights, as are high-intensity discharge bulb. But halogen and HID bulbs bulb get very hot and use a lot of energy. LED bulbs are much more efficient so are often used in solar lighting. Most security lights have a claimed range of 6m to 50m, but you will also need to consider the angle over which you want the sensor to detect and the light to illuminate. So security floodlights also usually have a degree-rating along with a range.
Most security specialists or electricians will work by themselves to carry out this sort of work, and will usually take just a couple of hours to install the security light. Most electricians charge around £150-£200 per day in labour and will normally work in half days at a minimum so you can expect a labour cost of around £75-£100. The material costs is where things can vary a bit depending on several factors, including how many lights you want, whether you want them wired into the mains, where you want the light and if you want a switch. Individual security lights can cost anywhere from £10 to £100, mainly depending on the wattage and overall spec.
Below are some estimated costs to supply & install an external security light:
|Job Description||Avg. Cost||Duration|
|Install 1 outside 30-watt security light||£125-£150||1-2 hours|
|Install PIR motion sensored light into the mains||£150-£200||2-4 hours|
Individual costs of installing a PIR 30-watt security light outside - Total Cost: £150