How To Choose An Outdoor Light

Discussion in 'Home Improvement' started by Sandy Wood, Sep 23, 2016.

  1. Sandy Wood

    Sandy Wood Active Member
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    Since my great excitement I have been trying to shed more light around my home to not allow any places for people to hide or create mischief. So I am going to put a light outside on back of house or front of garage. I have looked a solar ones but tend to like electric ones better then use a low-watt bulb. Does anyone have any ideas of what to look for as an outside light??
     
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  2. Frank Sanoica

    Frank Sanoica Very Well-Known Member
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    @Sandy Wood

    Sandy, the solar lights we have bought and been closely involved with can be summed up easily: Nice, ornamental, unreliable, and inadequate for providing enough light for security purposes. Unless you prefer to have a lot of light ON all night, which surely is one of the best deterring effects for intruders, one alternative is motion-detecting lighting, which has become nearly universal in recent years. These are installed at entry points, doorways, outside, and turn on a bright bathing light when motion of an object in the area is detected. A negative factor is pets. A pet moving about adjacent to the security light's scanned area, will be turning it on often. Also, wild roaming animals will activate them.

    Another, expensive, alternative, is to have motion-detected lighting installed of the highest degree of reliability, which signals a security company to immediately deploy to your premises.

    One often unmentioned security measure involves the use of a vicious watchdog, trained to respond with lethality to the sudden presence of an interloper. Many claim that professional burglars carry meat scraps, which often distract watchdogs effectively. My belief is that well-trained dogs ignore the hunger instinct.

    Another security method, which I employ, faces the interloper with a sudden burst of high-voltage energy in the form of three to four foot long blue sparks of electrical energy, generated by a Tesla Coil, the sight of such opposition being "other-worldly" to virtually all crooks. They choose to ravage elsewhere.
    Frank
     
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  3. Corie Henson

    Corie Henson Very Well-Known Member
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    We had tried solar lamps for the garden and it lasted only for a couple of weeks so I'd say do not use solar lamps for now because it appears to me that it is for a novelty only.

    For an outdoor light, it's either a spotlight or the open bulb CFL (compact fluorescent lamp) which is efficient in electric consumption. We have a spotlight trained at the front yard garden that we seldom use, it is only for emergency lighting at night when we suspect of an intruder. All the other exterior lights are CFLs and we never use LED lights which claims to be more efficient and thereby can save you in terms of electric consumption. But the cost of the LED bulbs is exorbitant and the durability is in question. By the way, we have a total of 4 outdoor lights that are in operation every night.
     
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  4. Sheldon Scott

    Sheldon Scott Very Well-Known Member
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    Those so called security lights that stay on all night only light the way for intruders who will know to keep in the shadows.

    A motion sensor light is much better as it will surprise an intruder and it will also alert you when it come on.
     
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  5. Debbie Seattle

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    We've got a security light by our back sliders. It's motion activated and has an 'announcement' that's says, "you are being video taped" quite loudly. Love the thing. It has other announcements but don't remember what they say. It's so loud and the lights are so bright, it'd scare the crap out of anyone.
     
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  6. Von Jones

    Von Jones Very Well-Known Member
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    I agree with @Frank Sanoica and @Corie Henson about solar lighting. Power lighting for outdoors is the best way to go. The only downside is changing the bulbs once they have burned out specially if in a difficult place to reach.

    There is also lighting where the wiring is buried underground.

    I purchased two solar lights for areas that I wanted to be lit and was very disappointed because they didn't last through the night. I use them now inside the house when there is a power outage. I was told by the salesperson that all solar lighting requires solar batteries but I have used regular rechargeable ones which work just as well.

    This is definitely 'old school' but for my backyard I use heavy duty extension cords which one is plugged into a socket extension in the front porch light. It started out as a temporary thing but it has been a couple of years now and without those lights it would be pitch black around the carriage house. The cords are hidden by artificial ivy garlands.

    Oh by the way, all items mentioned in this post were purchased at great prices from my favorite flea market.:D
     
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  7. Chrissy Cross

    Chrissy Cross Veteran Member
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    I just keep my lights on day and night outside, it doesn't affect my bill much. I also have ADT security system which will scare the bejeezus out of you if it goes off. It also alerts the police if i don't cancel it if I did it by mistake and I have some mornings.....poor Pickles almost peed stepping out the patio door.
     
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  8. Corie Henson

    Corie Henson Very Well-Known Member
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    Just recently, the bulb in our backyard gave up. It is one big problem because the exterior ceiling where the bulb is located is very high. Our ladder is not enough. However, the bulb can be reached using but with nothing to hold on, meaning the feet would be on the second to the highest rung. What my husband did was to get a pole and held on to it while climbing the ladder until he reached the bulb and had replaced it. What if he had not thought of using the pole? We night not be able to replace that bulb which was there for 15 years, I think.
     
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  9. Diane Lane

    Diane Lane Very Well-Known Member
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    That's a good idea. I used to work in office buildings and a mall, and had totally forgotten about those poles. I have one on the stairs here that's impossible for me to change. Thankfully, that's not one of the lights with the messed up wiring, that burns out all of the time. I know it was changed about 6 years ago when the landlady's grandson was here checking on something else, but i don't recall how exactly he changed it. I have one outside light that I have to get the neighbor to help with when it burns out. He is tall, so can change it using my tallest stepladder, but his wife (a friend) and I are unable to do so. Thankfully, that one doesn't burn out that often, because even if I had a taller ladder, it's very difficult to unscrew the glass globe over the bulb.
     
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  10. Ken Anderson

    Ken Anderson Veteran Member
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    We have a light above both of our doors that are activated by a motion sensor, but that's more so that we can find our way in from the car if we get home after dark, but I suppose it provides some sense of security as well. The next time we have an electrician over here, I'm going to have him add one on the fire escape as well. I have four battery-operated motion sensor lights in my office, where the cats usually hang out, but those are for the cats. The older ones don't see as well in the dark as they used to so I wanted to make it easier for them to find their way around after I've gone to bed.
     
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  11. Corie Henson

    Corie Henson Very Well-Known Member
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    When we moved to this house in 2001, we had no maid and both me and my husband were working. A neighbor advised us to install a sensor so the exterior light will turn on when it senses an object passing the sensor. We leave the house before 6am but it is already sunrise and we arrive home before 7pm which is already dusk. We thought hard and came to conclude that what we needed was a timer for the switch so the light would switch on by 6pm maybe.The light with motion sensor would not be that effective for our need. By the way, during that time, our dog took care of our house when we were away. Her bark would drive away people with bad intentions. And she successfully did her job during weekdays for several months until we were able to hire a housemaid.
     
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  12. Diane Lane

    Diane Lane Very Well-Known Member
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    When I moved in here, I went out quite a bit, and so I would try to remember to leave on the lights when I knew I'd be coming home after dark. In other places I'd lived, there were street lights, but there's only one at the corner here, and that is frequently out, and it's very dark at night in this neighborhood, unless there's a full moon. I always hated coming home after dark if the lights weren't on, because the carport is a tight squeeze, and I've scraped the side of the car a time or two on the bench that sticks out, in my effort to avoid the area where the house juts out on the opposite side. I have no idea who designed the carport, but it obviously wasn't someone who drove a full sized vehicle.
     
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    Last edited: Sep 26, 2016
  13. Ken Anderson

    Ken Anderson Veteran Member
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    We used to have street lights here but, several years ago, the town decided to cut every other light, or every third light, or something like that. Anyhow, we don't have a street light near enough to light up the front of our house.
     
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  14. Sandy Wood

    Sandy Wood Active Member
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    Thanks so much for all of your wonderful replies. Right now I have an odd ball arrangement set up to provide light in front of my house and out back. Out front I have a carport light that I use mainly if I am not home as it makes it easier to see the door lock when I get home after dark. However, mostly I have a lamp set up on my enclosed front sun porch that lights my entry way and the back and side of my car. This light has a 60 watt bulb in it and with reflections from windows it lights up my entire driveway toward the backyard as well.
    Out back I was going to set up a light from my garage (solar) not so good of idea. I really wanted a wired in outdoor light but my brother said the wiring in the garage was never updated, so I thought long and hard about it. Turns out there is a light fixture between the solid entry garage door and a outer storm door on garage. We put a low watt LED bulb into that and I leave it on all the time. It provides some light around the back steps and garage. I then took a piece of plywood the size of my house backdoor window area and mounted the board over the window area on the inside of door. One upper corner area was cut from the board to allow me to see outback and to allow the ceiling light on this back porch to shine out the hole and light up the back porch and steps, which is visible from both kitchen windows. This way I can see if anyone is on the back porch. Also should someone break the glass in the windows they will not be able to reach the locks to open them. I wanted a much better lighting system but so far have had no help in regards to getting it done.
     
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  15. Ken Anderson

    Ken Anderson Veteran Member
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    Hey, if it works, it works. Congratulations on finding a solution.
     
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  16. Von Jones

    Von Jones Very Well-Known Member
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    [​IMG]

    I purchased this new at the flea market with the plan to use it on my front porch then changed my mind. After reading @Sandy Wood last post I added an extension cord to it and placed it in between the space of the windows closest to the gate of the backyard. The storm window will protect it from the elements. The extension cord reaches an outlet just below the window. The outcome shown in the photos dispersed the darkness and provides light at the base of the stairs. Now we don't have to leave lamps on to see where we are going. This being an old house lighting is limited to the ceilings and I have lamps everywhere.:oops: Oh I should say that the 2nd photo is of the space between our house and the one next door. It always concerned me how dark that space was.
     

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  17. K E Gordon

    K E Gordon Very Well-Known Member
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    I really have to have the porch light on here if I leave and come back when it is dark. It is extremely dark here at night...as I am in the woods. On the few ocassions when the light has not been turned on or left on, I have had to use the headlights to illuminate the door, other wise I will be fumbling around looking for the right key forever and a day. I don't like that at all. We do use some solar lighting but right now, most of them seem not be lighting, need a new battery or are not getting enough sunlight or something.
     
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  18. Von Jones

    Von Jones Very Well-Known Member
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    Solar lights have rechargeable batteries. If the batteries are more than 2 years old you probably do need new ones. I would invest in a battery charger. If you are going to buy new batteries make sure they have the same mAh or a little higher noted. My garden solar lights use 600 mAh but I purchased 800 and 1000 mAh solar batteries which last 3 maybe 4 days if there has been a good sunny day. When there is not much sunlight it comes in handy. After they are recharged you may want to see how long the charge last to be able to recharge them to keep the lighting continuous. Hope this helps.
     
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  19. K E Gordon

    K E Gordon Very Well-Known Member
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    Yes, that is helpful. Actually, I should have said about the door, it isn't so much that I am looking for the right key, but trying to insert it in the lock is a problem with no light! Fortunately, we usually remember to turn on the light if we are going to be gone, or I will call roomie and have him put on the light for me. Sometimes he actually remembers himself. Roomie can be sweet, he can also be a real pain. You are never quite sure what you are going to get.
     
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