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Leaving your porch light on at night. A proven technique to prevent crime or waste of energy?

Discussion in 'Environmental Discussion' started by burritos, May 16, 2009.

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  1. burritos

    burritos Senior Member

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    I personally think it's a waste of energy, but my wife insists it prevents crime. If someone wants to break in, doesn't the light aid them?
  2. JSH

    JSH Senior Member

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    I say a waste of energy. However, you can compromise and install a porch light with a motion sensor. If the light comes on you have warning that something is happening outside.

    I truly don't understand people's paranoia. (This includes members of my family.)
  3. V8Cobrakid

    V8Cobrakid Green Handyman

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    i agree with JSH. it's a waste of electricity. use the motion sensor. without a sensor, it's an aid to a burglar.
  4. Rae Vynn

    Rae Vynn Watch out, I have a degree in BS!

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    We replaced our regular porch light with a double flood light on a motion sensor... and we put LED flood bulbs in :D

    In a year, it might cost 50 cents to run our light ;)
  5. burritos

    burritos Senior Member

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    Motion sensor lights. That sounds like a great idea. Thanks all.
  6. fuzzy1

    fuzzy1 Senior Member

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    "Insecurity Lights".

    Many people have a deep instinct associating darkness with evil. But I don't believe the evil folks out there have any better night vision than the good folks, so they need light too. If I don't provide it, they must bring their own, which will make it much easier to detect them.

    Unfortunately, major cities have enough light pollution that most people can see quite well with just a brief time of dark adaptation. So use a light on a motion detector as an alarm for you and to spook them, though pets and wild animals will also trigger it very frequently.

    Another point is that most residential burglaries in the U.S. occur in full daylight, 9 am to 5 pm, Monday-Friday. They don't fear being seen in the light as much as being shot by a resident, so burglaries are biased to the times residents are least likely to be home. I understand that countries where burglary is less risky to the offender still have most burglaries at night.

    Criminals who intend to have contact with their victims won't necessarily have the same daytime bias.
  7. Celtic Blue

    Celtic Blue New Member

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    Waste of energy.

    I used to illustrate to folks how I could "hide" in the open in plain sight in the shadows cast by typical "security lights", then scare the crap out of them as they walked past. I could stand a few feet from you and you couldn't see me unless you knew I was there.

    About motion sensors...the local police say the outdoor motion sensors no longer provide much deterrent as they are easy to figure out. (Besides, many of them are way too sensitive/poorly set and turn on anytime a pedestrian or car passes--cops hate this as it also gives them away when they are doing a lights-off cruise down a street looking for suspicious activity.) What they recommend is shorter range sensors that turn on a light inside your home. That makes it appear that someone is inside, and aware of an intruder's presence. And best of all, they are still outside so they can't tell what is really happening.
  8. patsparks

    patsparks An Aussie perspective

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    I hope no one nicks your light globes!!
  9. BRK

    BRK New Member

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    I vote security. I have 8 compact flourecent bulbs that I leave on at night. They don't drawn more than 100W at any given time.
  10. icarus

    icarus Senior Member

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    100 watts, over 8 hours= .8kw X 365 days=294 kwh X $.15/kwh=?
    $45 year. Would you be better off lowering your deductible on you insurance for $45.

    Interesting enough,,your .8 kwh that you burn JUST for your paranoid lights is more than we burn for ALL our electricity for a day in our off grid house! Granted we live in a small off grid house.

    To the original post,, I think it is a waste, and we have become way to paranoid, and we think that we are buying security.

    Icarus
  11. Rae Vynn

    Rae Vynn Watch out, I have a degree in BS!

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    In a posting of otherwise good advice (I like the turning on an indoor light idea, but not in our area), I wanted to zoom in on this.

    The light we got is so easy to adjust. It took us about 10 minutes of playing with it, to have it absolutely perfect. The light does not come on until you actually open our gate. you can on the sidewalk in front of our house, even reach your hand over the fence and wave, and it won't turn on.
    Our next door neighbor's light comes on when you walk past his house. It is annoying, yes.
  12. hill

    hill High Fiber Member

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    Don't quote me, but it seems the last time I read CFL instructions, most are NOT made to run on motion sensors, as well as dimmers or 3 ways. We use some of the CFL dimmable's and some of the CFL 3 ways ... has anyone seen 'em specifically designed for motion sensors? Our 1st try at R30 LED's work on motion sensors, but be ready to spend bu-ku for those, if they're even half way worth their salt.
  13. DaveinOlyWA

    DaveinOlyWA 3rd Time was Solariffic!!

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    have street light in front of our house so it only on if someone comes to the door which is pretty rare
  14. fuzzy1

    fuzzy1 Senior Member

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    Unless the circuits have changed without my knowledge, normal CFLs have the same problem with electronic timers, motion sensors, and dimmers, with dimmers potentially being the harshest. Any CFL that works with dimmers should work with the other two, though I'm not quite ready to say 'vice versa'.

    Compatible CFLs were available back in the 1990s, when all CFLs were expensive. I haven't searched for compatible units since prices for non-compatible ones fell to single digits.

    3-ways ought to be a different issue.
  15. icarus

    icarus Senior Member

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    I've used cfls on motion sensors for years. Takes a second for the bulb to warm up to full light but other than that,, no problem.

    Icarus
  16. Celtic Blue

    Celtic Blue New Member

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    Seems quite a waste of energy for no real gain. That's almost as much as it takes to run my 25 cu. ft. refrigerator.

    Still if you are going to waste energy for lumens that nobody needs, at least you are using CFL's and wasting fewer than you would otherwise.
  17. V8Cobrakid

    V8Cobrakid Green Handyman

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    you're asking what?... motion sensors are on or off... that's it... i would advise keeping the distance set to low since you don't want a CFL turning on and off all day long. it's bad for the bulb and might fail in a year or so.
  18. JSH

    JSH Senior Member

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    As others have said, it would be important to adjust the motion sensors properly. The good thing about have a porch light with a motion sensor is that turns on when you come to your door. That would make it much easier to find the keyhole and unlock the door.

    The alternative is to turn on the porch light when you leave. While useful it would be a dead giveaway to anyone that you are not home. (At least it is for us, we only turn on our porch light when we are away)
  19. EZW1

    EZW1 Active Member

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    My wife feels better if I put the porch light in back and the at the front door on at night. So I bought flourescent lights that now burn 6W instead of 60W. I like the idea of motion sensors.
  20. V8Cobrakid

    V8Cobrakid Green Handyman

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    I probably should have mentioned this earlier. it's not sensor specific but is about lighting.

    my parents prefer halogens due to their large lighting areas. I swapped out about 16 outdoor lights with 18w cfl's. they went from a constant 1800 watts to 180 watts... i prefer the cool blue's.

    our interior lights are canisters and chandeliers... most of the time 20 to 40 lights are on. (i wish to reduce this number) our most frequently switched lights only last 1 year. ( same as halogen) others which stay on or off with less intervals last a lot longer. some are going on 3 years. ( while the halogens may last 2 )

    i think there may be an underlying problem where the clfs are toxic, and to use them frequently will burn them out. burning out ends up polluting. not to mention.. or do... they cost a lot? sure, i can find them for a dollar or two... but they really don't last that long. not even a year.

    plus.. most people still don't recycle their cfls...
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