Plenty of light inside and out, is an excellent deterrent.

A well-lit interior at night tells would-be intruders it's likely someone is home, and exterior lighting exposes them if they approach a house. So, not surprisingly, burglars don't like light. Evaluate and improve the lighting around your house- both inside and outside- to discourage prowlers and to increase safety.

Exterior Lighting

Select and place fixtures to provide an even blanket of light at entrances and to eliminate dark zones around the house where a person can hide. Brighter isn't necessarily better. Left on all night, glaring lights can annoy neighbors, blind visitors, and consume a great deal of electricity. Along walkways and in the landscaping, the artificial equivalent of a bright full moon (40-60 watts) is sufficient to discourage a burglar. For increased safety at entries, however, and for any security lights that you don't burn all night, use higher wattage fixtures. Follow these guidelines for lighting key areas:

At entry doors. Use fixtures with two bulbs or pairs of one-bulb fixtures at each of your home's exterior doors, including doors you don't often use. A second bulb provides a greater spread of light, and ensures that the door won't be in the dark when on bulb burns out.

At the garage door. Equipped with a motion detector, a fixture mounted above the garage door will turn on automatically every time someone-family, guests, or an unwanted visitor- enters your drive. Again, a double fixture provides both a backup and increased lighting coverage.

Along walkways and driveways. The path from the sidewalk or street to your home, and from a detached garage to the house should be well-lit. A post light at the end of the driveway or a short walkway will do the job. For longer paths, use low-voltage fixtures to light the way.

Under eaves. Use floodlights pointed downward from the eaves to wash the side of the house with light, and install them at corners to illuminate two sides of the house. Don't point lights away from the house; that leaves an unlit gap between house and light. And, where possible, place fixtures high enough to be unreachable by someone standing on the ground.

Under windows. Mount fixtures on the ground, directing light up through trees and shrubs, to illuminate windows. Use low-wattage lights so you can still see out.

Under the deck. A walkout basement or egress window that opens onto an area under a deck needs security lighting. For a door, a standard fixture with a motion sensor is a good choice. For a window, a low voltage well light will provide gentle illumination.


Tip: To control outdoor lighting, choose a grounded timer. To prevent anyone but you from changing the settings, be sure to place the timer inside a locked area, or choose a model with a locking cover.


Check back next week for interior security lighting tips....