Tag Archives: outside house lights

Outdoor House Lights: Factors to Consider

29 Nov

Outdoor House Lights: Factors to Consider

House lights help to create the perfect first impression of your home to visitors after dark not only do they look fantastic they also provide a great deterrent to thieves whilst for you they will make getting in and out of you home in the dark easier.

With so many house lights on the market it’s difficult to know where to start but before you part with your money ask yourself these questions:

What type of home do you own?

This is going to be a big factor in deciding the style of house lighting you choose for the outside of your home. A more traditional home will look better with a more traditional design of light. If you’ve got a home that was built in the 1960′s and decide that a porch light designed on an 1800′s lantern may look nice I’d urge you to reconsider! Try to match the style of lighting to your home if you’ve taken the time to read this article then you probably have a good idea of what style is appropriate to your home.

What type of porch do you have?

Is your porch enclosed so that you lights will not be exposed to the elements or is it a canopy that provides a small amount of shelter for visitors to your front door. If your porch lights are going to be exposed to the elements you will need to look at outdoor porch lighting that has an IP rating of IP33 or more.

What do you want your lighting to do?

Do you want your house lights to provide a useable light so that you can get in and out easily in the dark? Do you want your outdoor house lights to deter thieves? Or, do you just want some lights to look nice and enhance the appearance of your front door? LED house lights look nice but do not give off a great deal of light. If you are looking for a light to just enhance your property there are many alternative to regular porch lights, for example you get illuminated house numbers and signs that are far more energy efficient that porch lights and are also very pleasing to look at.

How bright do you want it?

This follows on from the previous point, but should be considered. Even if you do want the light to be functional do you need to use a 100W bulb or would a lower wattage but focused beam be more appropriate. Light pollution in our cities is becoming a major problem and is affecting nocturnal wildlife; unnecessarily bright lights can also cause problems between neighbours so choose your outdoor porch lights carefully.

Environmental impact

Whatever type of light you are looking for whether it’s an indoor or outdoor house light try to find one that has the best green credentials. This doesn’t necessarily mean finding a light that’s has an LED or energy efficient light bulb – it could be that you have a convention bulb that is only activated when someone gets close to your door way. If you do want your lights to be on for 12 hours a night then an LED or energy efficient bulb will be the option best for the environment.

How will you power your outdoor house lighting?

The easiest way to install a outdoor house lights is to get a solar powered light. Solar powered lights mean that no cables need to be routed to it to provide the power and therefore no drilling through the external walls of your home will be necessary. If you ant a brighter light than that provided by solar powered light then you may be well advised to opt for a low voltage or mains powered light.

How do you want your house light or lights to be mounted?

Do you have a canopy that the porch light can be fitted to or hung from or do you want your porch lights mounted on the wall either side of your front door. Perhaps you don’t want them near your front door at all and want to light your driveway.

By considering the above point before purchasing your house lights you will hopefully end up with the right light for your property first time – saving you time and money. Lights added to the front of your property will increase its curb side appeal and as such will increase the value of your home so don’t rush your decision. Driveway lights are another way of adding some interest to the front of your property; if you already have lights in your driveway you could try to match your outdoor house lights to them.

A guide to Outside Lights

26 Nov

A guide to Outside Lights

Outside lights are an excellent way to improve the look and security of your home.  This guide provides an overview of the types of outside lighting available to you.

Outside light fixtures – no matter how small – will look great and deter potential thieves, exterior lighting need not cost a lot either – you will be able to finfd a solution that matches your budget and requirements. Let’s start off by looking at the power sources available to outdoor lights as this is the most disruptive, time consuming and costly part of installing lights.

Power sources for Outside Lights

Solar power is by far the easiest type of light to install – they require no cables and consequently you can be quite creative as to where you position the lights.  Cheap solar powered garden lights may not give out a useable light but they certainly will provide a visible light that looks appealing. If you’ve got a large budget then some of the more expensive solar patio lights will actually provide you with a useable light.

Mains and low voltage outdoor lights can be grouped together in terms of installation hassle. Depending on where you live there may be restrictions on the types of light you can install outside – you may be forced to use low voltage lights. Regardless of this though, you will still need to bury cables to get power from your house to the lights the only difference between them is that the low voltage lights will require a transformer before the cable leaves the house.

Outside Lighting Technologies

There are three main types of lighting available and these are LED, traditional filament and cold cathode. LED outside lights are now by far the most common type of lighting.

LED outside lights come solar powered or low voltage powered and are available in many different colours, they are cheap to run and are very durable and for these reasons they are proving to be very popular.

Traditional filament lights are the second most popular – these will have to be low voltage powered or mains and therefore are more difficult to install. That said, they will provide you with very useable and therefore practical light. Outdoor patio lighting fitted with traditional filament bulbs really do look great.

Cold cathode lights are a very specialist type of lighting that can be likened to fluorescent tubes. From an outdoor lighting design point of view the source of light would be hidden away so that you would just the see the glow. This type of lighting can be stunning but will cost you a lot of money.

Types of Outside Light

Where you can put your lighting will depend on the landscaping of your home, but fundamentally you’ve got four options:

  • In/On a wall
  • In the ground
  • As a post
  • Decorative Ligthing

Outside wall lights that are actually built in to the wall are sometimes referred to as brick lights – brick lights or wall lights they can both be considered the same thing. If you are at the exciting design stage of your garden or driveway then the world’s your oyster,  you will be able to design in the lights and run the power cables through the foundations of the wall and build the lights in to the wall. If however you are adding lights to an existing wall the easiest way is to use a surface mounted light. Outside house lights can be installed by drilling through the wall of you home and are relatively easy to install. Wall lights tend to come mains or low voltage powered and not solar powered – although if your budget allows you will be able to find some solutions that have a remote solar panel.

Most people consider ‘driveway lighting’ to be the types of lights that are set in to the ground and point upwards, but you can also get sideways pointing lights that spread the light across the surface of a driveway. Generally speaking this type of light provides only back ground lighting and is there to mark the edge of the drive and not really to emit any useable light. Like with the outside wall lights if you are in the process of landscaping your driveway then you can put what lights you want, where you want, if you’re retro fitting the lights though restrictions will apply. If you are installing lights in to an existing garden or driveway one of the best options may be solar powered. The lights sit in the ground facing upwards and are surrounded by a solar panel. The light given out by the solar lights is bright enough to create a stunning effect, yet dim enough to not contribute significantly to light pollution.

Post lights are an effective way to add lighting to the front or back of your home – there are many solar powered post lights but there are also many mains and low voltage types on the market. They look good but can be delicate so you’ve got young children or boisterous dogs this type of lighting may be best avoided.

Decorative lighting is also an important factor of any outdoor lighting design. The main form that decorative lighting takes are outdoor string lights and there are many different form to choose from. Patio string lights are a popular choice that can be mains powered or in some cases solar powered.

Lighting Strength

I touched on this in the previous paragraph but the strength of lighting should be considered.  In many circumstances some low powered solar lights will provide the perfect light to make your garden look stunning at night. This is better for the environment and wildlife, if you are worried about security then you could get a motion and heat activated porch light that would only come on when someone is detected.