Security Light Bulb Placement for Best Home Security

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By tom.baldridge

Having effective outdoor lighting is an important part of any home security plan. While security cameras and alarm systems are useful, strategic security light bulb placement can provide an additional layer of protection for your home. This article will provide tips on choosing and placing security light bulbs to maximize safety.

Why Exterior Lighting is Crucial for Home Security

Outdoor lighting acts as a deterrent by making would-be intruders feel exposed. Well-lit areas give the impression that a home is occupied and alert. Darkness can conceal criminal activity, so eliminating shadows and brightening dark corners helps reduce risks.

Studies show that proper outdoor lighting can deter over 50% of intruders. One report found that houses with security lighting experienced a 51% lower rate of burglaries compared to unlit homes.

Proper lighting at entryways helps deter intruders and illuminate visitors.

Choosing the Right Bulbs for Outdoor Security Lighting

To get the most security benefit from outdoor bulbs, certain features are preferable:


Higher lumen bulbs cast light farther and wider. 1000+ lumens is ideal for security lights. Lower lumens like 600-800 can supplement brighter bulbs. Brighter bulbs illuminate more area, eliminating shadows or blind spots.

Key Takeaway: Look for outdoor bulbs with at least 1000 lumens of brightness. Supplement with lower lumen bulbs.

Durable Exterior Bulbs

Look for bulbs rated for outdoor use with water/weather resistance. LED bulbs last significantly longer (25,000 hours or more) than incandescent bulbs (1,000 hours). This makes them ideal for security lighting that must stay in reliable operation.

LED bulbs are the most durable and long-lasting option for outdoor security lighting.

Color Temperature

Cool white light between 5000K-6000K brightness best illuminates the area while still providing accurate color rendering. This helps identify people, objects, vehicles, animals, etc. Warm white light distorts colors.

Motion Activation

Motion-sensing bulbs turn on when movement is detected, then off after a set time. This conserves energy and expands bulb lifespan up to 10 times compared to always-on bulbs. Motion activation also deters prowlers.

Motion activated lighting only turns on when needed, saving energy and bulb life.

Smart Bulbs

Smart bulbs can be controlled and programmed remotely via WiFi. Features like schedules, automatic adjustments, and integration with other smart devices make them very versatile. For instance, you can make lights turn on at sundown and off at sunrise automatically.

Where to Place Security Lighting Outdoors

Positioning security lighting strategically around the exterior is key for maximum effectiveness.


Illuminate front and back doors, side entrances, gates, garages, and walkways approaching entries. This allows clear visibility of anyone coming and going. Aim for a minimum of 60 watts (800-900 lumens) at entry doors.


Lights around the property perimeter provide full boundary visibility. This eliminates shadows or hiding places created by fences, sheds, landscaping, etc.

Perimeter security lighting leaves fewer shadows or blind spots around property borders.

Vulnerable Areas

Any secluded or obscured areas should have light coverage. Think under decks, storage closets, alcoves, dark corners of the yard, dense vegetation, or sites for HVAC units.

For example, a light under an exterior HVAC unit can deter thieves targeting copper components. Vegetable garden lighting scares off nighttime animal intruders.

Driveways and Pathways

Lights along driveways ensure vehicles and any occupants are visible at night. Pathway lights guide movement and prevent trips/falls.

Yard Spaces

General floodlights over lawns, patios, gardens, or open areas remove dark pockets a prowler could hide in. Position floodlights high up rather than ground level for best illumination.

Maximize the Effectiveness of Security Lighting

Follow these tips to get the most protection from outdoor security lighting:

Use Motion Sensors

Motion-activated lighting only turns on when needed, making it harder for someone to avoid detection. Motion sensors also conserve energy. Place motion detectors 15-20 feet high pointing down, with a detection range of 35-45 feet.

Choose Wide-Angle, Overlapping Lights

Position lights so their beams overlap to fully illuminate an area. Wide 180-360 degree beams provide the broadest coverage. Utilize light overlap to avoid any blind spots.

Overlapping wide-angle security lights maximize area illumination.

Elevate Lights

Mounting lights high on a wall or pole makes them harder to tamper with while expanding their sightlines. Install at least 8 feet off the ground, out of easy reach.

Use Timers or Schedules

Setting lights to turn on/off automatically at dusk/dawn or specific times gives the impression of occupancy when away. Program schedules based on sunset/sunrise in your location.

Keep Bulbs Clean

Dirt and grime can diminish a bulb’s light output by up to 50%. Wipe down outdoor light covers and replace old bulbs annually. Use a high Watt rating bulb for maximum brightness.

Get Connected Bulbs

Smart bulbs with connectivity allow checking status, changing settings, getting notifications, and integration with security systems remotely. Ensure your home WiFi covers all connected bulbs.

Install Security Cameras

Security cameras augment lighting by providing visual verification of activity. Strategically place cameras to coordinate with light coverage. Quality cameras require sufficient lighting to capture clear video.

![security light with camera](https://www.advancedgroup.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/08/ Floodlight-Camera-lit-up-with-motion-1024×683.jpg)

Security cameras paired with lighting provide enhanced monitoring.

Safety Considerations for Exterior Light Bulbs

While vital for security, outdoor lights can pose risks if improperly installed. Keep these safety guidelines in mind:

Use Appropriate Wattage Bulbs

Higher wattage bulbs produce excessive heat. Check fixture ratings and do not exceed recommended wattages. This could melt fixtures or cause a fire.

Place Lights Safely Out of Reach

Mount lights high enough that they cannot be tampered with. Use mounting clips to secure spotlight heads. Position at least 8-10 feet up.

Connect to GFCI Outlets

Outdoor outlets should always be GFCI protected for safety. GFCIs shut off power if a fault is detected. Test GFCIs monthly to ensure proper function.

Check for Hot Bulbs/Fixtures

Feel for excessive heat on bulbs and fixtures to identify any wiring issues before they become hazardous. Heat can signal corrosion or loose connections.

Don’t Overlook Garage Lights

Flammable materials make garage lighting placement very important. Mount at least 18 inches from side walls with wire cages to prevent bulb breakage.

Proper garage fixture mounting and bulb guards improve safety.

Address Flickering Lights

Flickering is a warning sign of loose wiring. Replace malfunctioning fixtures and bulbs immediately. Consult an electrician if flickering persists after bulb/fixture replacement.


Strategically placed security lighting provides invaluable protection for homes. Following placement and safety best practices ensures outdoor bulbs effectively deter crime, illuminate property dangers, and make homeowners feel more secure after dark.

Assess your current lighting situation and identify any vulnerable spots that would benefit from enhanced security bulbs. With smart placement and the right bulb features, exterior lighting can make your home a less appealing target and give you greater peace of mind. Your home and family are worth investing in the best illumination possible.

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