In recent years, your choice of outside house lights has become much more varied – but also more complicated.
There is a baffling array of lights, from the latest fully animated LED systems to more traditional can lights, as well as various outside lights, garden lights, and more.
It helps to have a few pointers if you’re looking to add mood, mark an occasion, or increase the curb appeal of your home.
Ultimately, the best outside lights for your property will depend largely on what you want your system to achieve.
There are three basic types of outside lighting to consider:
1. Decide what you want your outside lights to do
You probably have several objectives for installing outside lights. Understanding these objectives is a fundamental requirement before you start searching and selecting. One type of lighting cannot generally do everything – but some systems are smarter than others.
Fixed can lights help improve security and create a specific ambience but they cannot help you achieve the varied types of displays and patterns that a modern, app-controlled, outside LED system can.
Drill down deeper into your requirements and get specific. For instance, if your main objective is security, are you looking for motion-sensor lights or an always-on system?
If you need a good combination of task, ambient, and accent lighting, the flexibility of an LED system may be the most effective for you.
2. Determine a budget – but consider ongoing costs too!
The budget is always a consideration with any major purchase for your home. However, remember that there are two components to a light system budget:
These vary greatly so do your homework first. It’s little use saving money on installation if your energy bills are going to spike.
Installation costs for the most traditional task and ambient lighting setups will likely depend on the number and types of fixtures and fittings you need. For accent and architectural lighting systems, installation costs might be based on square meterage required.
Outside LED light systems fit into aluminum tracks that run around the soffit and fascia of your property so the square meter of your home is not necessarily an accurate guideline to how much you will need.
In terms of running costs, outside LED lights are cheaper than can lights or halogen bulbs (more about this below).
Another benefit of LED lights is that they can last for over 50,000 hours and are virtually maintenance-free so you won’t need to keep replacing bulbs every year.
3. Look for ways to save energy and money
As suggested above, the lower the voltage the less energy your lighting system will use. That translates to lower monthly bills.
For instance, smart LED outside lights convert your 110v house power to 12v power.
The LED bulbs themselves are low voltage and use a fraction of the electricity of traditional can lights. Much of the energy in can lights gets wasted in heat rather than light. This is not the case with LED lights, so you save money every month on your electricity bill.
As well as choosing a low-voltage system, you can also benefit from the advances of technology in other ways that will shave money off your monthly power bills.
Outside lighting systems that can be controlled remotely using smart, cloud-based apps are becoming more frequent in modern lighting systems.
Because you can load these apps onto any iOS or Android-based smartphone or tablet and control them from wherever you are and whenever you like, you ensure that the lights are only on when you want them to be.
Smart timers allow you to turn your lights on only at specific times that they are needed. Also, when you’re on vacation and you realize you forgot to turn the lights off, you no longer need to fret about the next electric bill.
4. Match the outside lights to your style preferences
The style of your property and your own personal style preferences will help determine the types of lights you need.
LED outside lights controlled by an app on your phone provide the greatest flexibility of color, animation, and styles.
They can be used to match almost any architectural style and simply accentuate the main features of the outside of your home or be programmed for a one-off splash of color for a festive occasion or special day.
5. Consider the climate in your area
Any feature that you add to the outside of your property in North America needs to take the climate into account.
Whether you have the heat and humidity, rain or hail storms, or the freezing cold and ice of the northern states and Canadian provinces to contend with, the elements will affect your choice of lighting.
Look for dealers in your area that offer weather-resistant lighting and a full warranty for your lights.
Any lighting you select for outside should have a waterproof rating and UL rating suitable for your needs.
Look for certification from Electrical Testing Labs (ETL) in North America and, in Canada, insist on the Canadian Standards Association (CSA) certification.
Otherwise, you could be investing a considerable sum of money on a system that is going to need expensive repairs sooner or later.
Note that if you live by the coast, salt corrosion is also likely to be a factor so ensure that your lighting system is protected against that.
6. Choose the right installation company
In order for your outside lights to do what you want them to do from the start – and to continue to operate without a hitch – you need the right installer on the case.
The skills, experience, and knowledge of your outside lighting contractor will affect:
Key amongst these considerations is safety. Your system can compromise the safety of family members unless it is installed by expert contractors.
Make sure you assess and verify their credentials before hiring a particular installer.
Looking for the best outside lighting system for your home?
If you’re looking for an eye-catching outside lighting system that is also safe, flexible, and cost-effective, talk to us about installation.
Start with a free no-obligation quote from a Gemstone Lights Authorized Dealer.