Archive for Saturday, March 4, 2017

Fix-It Chick: Some exterior lighting considerations

March 4, 2017


Installing exterior lighting around a home can add ambience to its nighttime appearance, improve accessibility and increase security. When installing exterior lighting, there are a few things you may want to consider.

• Consider installing solar-powered lights. These can be installed almost anywhere without additional wiring. Many come with a tethered solar panel to allow the fixture to be mounted under the eaves of a home and other areas where there might not be optimal sun exposure. Some lights also come with an additional battery backup to keep them working even after a day or two without sunshine.

• Consider installing battery-powered lights. An LED motion sensing battery-powered light can work up to a year on a single set of batteries. The fixtures are easy to install and can work equally as well inside and out.

• Choose LED lighting over other options if possible. LED bulbs use about one-sixth less power to produce the same amount of light as an incandescent bulb. Operating a single LED bulb for three hours a day for one year costs $6 less than operating an equivalent incandescent bulb for the same amount of time.

• Choose LED bulbs that operate at 4500 Kelvin or less. The Kelvin rating of the bulb indicates the color of light it produces. A standard incandescent light operates at about 2700 Kelvin, producing a warm yellow light. Exterior LED lighting should operate at or below 4500 Kelvin. The white or blue light found above 4500 Kelvin qualifies as light pollution in the night sky. White or blue light at night can compromise vision, create glare and harm the natural life cycle of plants and animals.

• Consider Dark Sky initiatives when installing exterior lighting. Light up the ground, not the sky. Choose lights that are shielded on the top and sides to direct light completely downward.

• Install lights with motion and dusk-to-dawn sensors so they turn on when needed and turn off when not.

• Choose lower lumen bulbs to save money and to avoid over-illumination.

• Be a good neighbor and avoid light trespass by lighting only areas that need to be lit.

— Have a home improvement question for Fix-It Chick? Email it to Linda Cottin at


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