Outdoor lighting is important for any home. In addition to making your home look lovely at night and improving your property's value, outdoor lighting also improves security and helps keep your family safe. Some homes lack proper outdoor lighting, but hiring a good electrician can help take care of that problem.
Before deciding what kind of lighting is right for your home, it's helpful to know all your options. From solar-powered lighting to hardwired light fixtures, homeowners are able to choose from a number of products on the market. Doing your research, understanding the pros and cons of each, and knowing your goals for your outdoor lighting can help. Here's what to think about before making your final decision.
Consider Your Goals
Before installing outdoor lighting, start by considering your goals. Knowing your goals and keeping your mind focused on those goals will help you choose the right lighting - and location - for your home. Below are some common goals that homeowners have when installing exterior lighting in their home.
- Safety. Darkened pathways can lead to trips and falls, while a dark yard makes it hard - and potentially even hazardous - to pick up toys or tools left in the yard at night. Adding lighting to your home will improve safety. Focus on pathway lighting, perimeter lighting and landscape lighting to illuminate your yard.
- Security. A dark property is less secure, because potential intruders may take advantage of the darkness to get closer to your house. For security, many homeowners turn to motion-sensor lights.
- Beautify. Light is lovely at night! Installing landscape lighting around garden beds, retaining walls and trees can draw attention to your property's aesthetic value, making your home a stand-out property. Work with your gardener and electrician to install lighting that accentuates your landscaping and improves your property's aesthetic value.
- Improve home value. Exterior lighting is an expectation for many home buyers, so virtually all exterior lighting can improve your home's value.
Know the Lighting Options
Exterior lighting has changed a lot in the last few decades. More products mean more options. In addition, if you had lighting installed on your home years ago, you may be pleased with some new choices available for sale.
Solar Powered Lighting
Solar powered lighting is a relatively low-cost option for homeowners who want a non-permanent lighting option that can be easily installed without planning or preparation. Solar powered lighting typically fits into three categories: dusk to dawn lighting, timer activated lighting and motion activated lighting. Some pros and cons:
- Pro: This is a budget-friendly option that can dress up your house quickly, whether for an upcoming party or just for use over the summer.
- Con: Most solar powered lighting won't last as long as hard-wired lighting. This shouldn't be considered a permanent installation in your yard. You will have to replace fixtures as they deteriorate.
- Con: Solar powered lighting needs regular maintenance - the panels need to be cleaned regularly and any batteries inside may need regular replacement. Solar powered lighting installed on stakes may fall over as soil shifts, and must be righted periodically.
- Con: Lights need to be positioned where they are exposed to sunlight. Avoid positioning solar powered lights near trees and shrubs that may cast your lights in shadow.
- Con: This lighting is usually not as bright as hard-wired lighting, and will begin to dim or go out as the charge from the day runs out. Your lights will charge less on cloudy days.
Hardwire lighting is a flexible, powerful lighting option for homeowners hoping to make a permanent upgrade to their home's exterior. Hardwire lighting has many advantages over solar powered lighting, although they may have a higher up-front cost.
- Pro: Hardwire lighting needs only to be installed once and then requires minimal maintenance, aside from the occasional light bulb change!
- Pro: Hardwire lighting improves the value of your home because it is a permanent upgrade to your property, and can be enjoyed by subsequent homeowners.
- Pro: Because it is a permanent installation in your home, hardwire lighting is usually created from higher quality materials and has the capacity to look better for a longer period.
- Con: Installation of hardwired exterior lighting typically costs more up front compared to solar powered lighting, however, this type of lighting also incurs fewer ongoing costs. Instead of replacing your lighting on a regular basis, your only regular, ongoing costs are the cost to keep the lights on.
What to Know About LED Lighting
LED outdoor lighting is the newest innovation transforming homes around the country. LED lighting uses less energy than traditional exterior lighting, and therefore costs less money over time. LED lighting also runs cool - not in appearance, but in temperature. This makes light bulbs easy to handle, even if they were recently turned on.
As long as you're installing new hardwired light fixtures on your home, work with your electrician to purchase LED light fixtures. Some additional benefits:
- Attract fewer insects. Insects are attracted to UV rays, and that's why they gather around certain lights at night. LEDs don't emit UV rays, so they attract fewer bugs.
- Flexible coloring. Some LED lights are capable of shifting their colors from white to cream to all the colors of the rainbow! This flexible coloring makes LED lights perfect for lighting your landscaping and also makes LED lights perfect at the holidays.
Know the Different Types of Fixtures
There are several types of light fixtures that you'll have to choose from when installing lights on your home.
- Path lights. These lights are low to the ground and illuminate pathways, for easy and safe travels on the pathways around your home.
- Wall lights. Wall lights illuminate your home and perimeter walls, providing general lighting for your property.
- Step lighting. These lights illuminate step lighting to make stairs easier and safer to navigate. Step lighting is an excellent option for people hoping to age in place.
- Landscape lighting. Landscape lighting provide aesthetic benefits by illuminating your property's landscaping. Landscape lighting also adds to the general illumination on your property, which can help prevent accidents and improve your home's security.
- Hanging lights or ceiling lights. Hanging and ceiling lights can be found in covered outdoor living spaces. These lights are typically not exposed to rain, and often come in a variety of design options.
- Post and pier mount lighting. Post and pier lighting broadcast illumination around the property, improving security and safety.
- Deck lighting. Deck lighting is lighting of choice if you enjoy spending time outdoors throughout the summer, and especially if you like entertaining on your deck.
Hardwire Lighting Tips
If installing hardwire lighting is important to you, these tips can help.
Find the Right Electrician
Hire an electrician that is licensed, bonded, insured and experienced in installing outdoor lighting. Ask to see your electrician's portfolio of work to see the kind of exterior lighting projects they've taken on previously.
Decide Where Lights are Needed
Spend some time observing your property at night and thinking about your lighting needs before deciding where lights are needed.
Do You Need Outlets?
Consider your temporary lighting as well as your hard-wire lighting needs. For example, holiday lighting goes up at specific times of year, and then comes back down. Outlets can help with this. Work with your electrician to ensure that your home has enough outlets to support exterior lighting in all the locations where you want to install lights.
Do You Need a Electrical Panel Upgrade?
Any time you make a change to your home's electrical system, the demand on your home's electrical panel grows. Work with your electrician to ensure that your home's breaker box will support the new demand on your home's electrical service.
Contact Add-All Electric for Your Exterior Lighting Needs
At Add-All Electric, we perform home upgrades that improve your home's value and improve your quality of life. Call today to learn more about how exterior lighting can transform your home, and change the way you live.