By Angie Hicks of Angie’s List
There are a number of good reasons to add exterior lighting to your home. You can highlight your home’s aesthetics, from its architecture to its landscaping, as well as add curb appeal and improve its resale value.
“A lot of my customers spend quite a bit of money on a beautiful landscape plan, and they can only enjoy it during the day,” said Wayne Fisher of Metroplex Landscape Lighting in Frisco, Texas. “It’s really nice to have lights on the trees and shrubs so they can also enjoy it at night.”
Even more importantly, adding outdoor lights reduces the risk of injury from falling in the dark and can reduce your risk of having your home burglarized by half, according to industry statistics.
“When the house is illuminated and walkways and stairs are lit, it helps make sure people don’t fall and get hurt,” said David Perlmutter, owner of Outdoor Lighting Perspectives of Pittsburgh. “If people are out there looking to do harm at night, or break in, they’re usually not going in a house that has lights on it.”
There are two primary types of exterior lights — halogen and LED. Halogen lights use conventional 120-volt electricity and incandescent bulbs, and require a licensed electrician to install. Halogen typically costs less than LED, but the bulbs use more energy and don’t last as long. LED (light-emitting diode) bulbs operate off a low-voltage transformer and don’t require an electrician to install. Because they last longer and use less electricity, longer-term savings are realized more than with halogen.
“Halogen … last about 4,000 hours,” Perlmutter said. “Pretty much everything we’ve done over the past two-and-a-half years has been LED, which will be about 85 percent more energy efficient and last between 30,000 and 40,000 hours. So, you get a lifespan of 12 to 15 years out of the bulb.”
Both Perlmutter and Fisher say they often see do-it-yourself landscape lighting projects gone awry. By hiring a professional to install your exterior lighting, you can ensure you’re lighting the home in the most effective and appealing way.
“People love to put path lights on their walkway in what I call a runway-type fashion, where they have them across from each other,” Fisher said. “That’s really not the best way to do it. The best way is in a zigzag pattern, where they’re more random and not right across from each other. Another mistake we see is people will oftentimes put the lights in the wrong place, as far as shining on trees or shining on the house. They put it too close or too far away. We’ve done this so long; we know exactly where the lights should be placed to provide the most dramatic look.”
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