Flood For Thought: Choosing The Best Floodlighting For Automatic Home Security Lights
Automatic security lighting can be a great addition to any home security set-up, providing bright effective lighting when they sense motion to deter thieves and other ne'er-do-wells. However, these floodlights are powered by a wide variety of light sources, and some types of automatic floodlight are more suited to home security than others. As such, you should bear the following advantages and disadvantages of each lighting type in mind before you decide on the lights for you.
These simple floodlights are generally inexpensive to purchase, and their popularity makes them very easy to find. They produce an intense, white light that roughly approximates natural sunlight, but despite this intensity they use less energy than many alternatives, such as conventional fluorescant floodlights. In addition, this intense light reaches full intensity very quickly, providing near-instant light as soon as the light's motion sensor is activated.
However, halogen lights of all kinds tend to produce large amounts of heat, and powerful halogen security floodlights can reach very high temperatures if kept on for any extended period of time. Excessive heat can dramatically shorten the lifespan of both the halogen bulb and the security light as a whole.
HID stands for High Intensity Discharge, which sums up the function of a HID light rather well — when activated, an arc of light-producing electricity is created and sustained between two closely-positioned electrodes, creating light without the need for a physical filament or bulb. With few physical components to break or malfunction. these types of lights are extremely reliable and can be expected to shine brightly for many years without repairs or replacements. The lack of electrical resistance produced by a filament also means these lights are highly energy efficient, making them cheaper to run than most alternatives.
Unfortunately, the greatest drawback of HID floodlights is that they require time to reach full light intensity — depending on the floodlight and its power source, this can take seconds or minutes. As such, larger models that require some time to reach peak brightness are not suitable for automatic security lights, and use of HIDs should generally be limited to small, intense lights focused on particularly valuable items such as cars.
Sodium vapour floodlights
These floodlights function by passing electrical current through a contained reservoir of sodium vapour and function similarly to common neon lights. However, sodium vapour floodlights come into their own when it comes to efficiency and are almost always significantly cheaper to run than alternative floodlight types. They also require very little maintenance, and the sodium bulbs can be replaced quite easily if they should break or malfunction.
Sodium vapour floodlights suffers the same problems with lighting times as HID lights, however, and while they are generally much faster to reach full intensity, they may not be suitable for lighting large areas during a break-in. Alarm-activated floodlights may not reach sufficient intensity quick enough to provide adequate security, although sodium vapour can be suitable for faster, motion-activated lights.