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Outdoor Security Lights & Security Lighting Information

Mar 29, 2008
Security lights are one of the most practical and effective ways to prevent crime in or around your home or office. In fact, statistics show that a well-lighted property cannot prevent malicious activity or guarantee personal safety, but crimes are less likely to occur because lighting is an excellent deterrent.

A security lighting system is a deterrent because it exposes the criminal, making them feel vulnerable and insecure. Criminals most likely look for areas with little to no lighting, for obvious reasons. Homeowners on the other hand, can benefit from a lighting security system that can detect and recognize movement in an otherwise overlooked and dark surrounding. Downward directed and shielded security lighting of medium intensity provides the best vision for outdoor lighting. In addition to the position of the security lights, controlling the glare is a major consideration. This is crucial because homeowners who can see the criminal can possibly provide authorities with descriptions, information, and other valuable clues.

There are many types of security lights and outdoor security lighting systems on the market today. To help you better understand the differences it is best to divide security lighting into two basic lamp categories: HID and Halogen or Incandescent.

HID or High Intensity Discharge - HID light sources are designed to operate by using magnetic or electronic ballasts in combination with a gas filled lamp. The purpose of the ballast is to convert the supply voltage to a higher operating voltage necessary to excite the gas in the lamp creating the light. Everyone is familiar with mercury vapor lighting. These are the blue-green colored security lights you have seen way up in the tree tops, or perhaps attached to your neighbor's house. Other types of outdoor flood lighting include metal halide, high-pressure sodium, and fluorescent. With the exception of fluorescent, all of these sources require a warm-up period and a re-strike time to return to full intensity should the power go off. They are not designed for instantaneous use and should be supplemented by other sources for panic or spontaneous lighting. High intensity discharge products are energy efficient, long lasting and very commonly used in landscape lighting.

Halogen or incandescent light sources - Halogen fixtures are designed to operate on standard house current. These light bulbs contain a carbon filament suspended on several supports within the lamp envelope, which glow when current is passed through the lamp. These lights which you see on everybody's house are typically referred to as floodlights and are perfect for continuous or instantaneous use because they require no warm up period. These security lights produce a white to yellow color and are less desirable for aesthetic lighting applications. These lights do work well in combination with tree lighting or moonlighting jobs as supplemental security lighting.

Another tool commonly used in security lighting is Motion Detectors, or occupancy sensors. These handy devices turn the security lights on and off when motion or movement is detected making them ideal for security lighting and energy management. Because they are constantly switching the lights off and on the lights, they cannot be used to control high intensity discharge sources. They are perfect for controlling halogen or incandescent sources. It is important to position your security lights out of arms reach so that they cannot be disabled or destroyed by intruders. Remember, the best position is a downward position, so mount them as high as possible on your house for safe, reliable operation.
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To learn more visit our outdoor security lights section or read more about security lighting information.
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