When Should You Keep Your Lights Turned on for Home Security?

January 2, 2024 Uncategorized 0 Comment

As more and more Australians conclude that home security is worth its weight in gold, it has become ever-harder for thieves to target and successfully raid most homes. Opportunism is now the primary method of burglary and robbery in Australia, and planned home invasions are reduced further every year. However, to grow complacent is to play into the hands of the ne’er-do-wells, who want nothing more than Australians to take their eye off the ball security-wise and let their guards down. 

Out with the old, in with the new?

Luckily, modern security systems are so intelligent and carefully designed that they almost run themselves and require very little human input to be effective. But what of the old methods of deterring would-be intruders? We’ve all watched our elders strategically leave the lights on to give the impression of someone being at home. There was even the innovative arrival of timed devices that could activate and deactivate anything with a plug, a revolutionary concept in its day. But does that old tactic hold up in modern times? Are savvy burglars tricked into believing somebody is at home when all evidence suggests otherwise? The team here at Smart Security Australia have some interesting thoughts on the matter, so let’s take a closer look.

Leaving the lights on

Energy consumption issues aside, is there any real reason to leave the lights on when leaving your home unattended? While it is true that a few lights here and there give an immediate impression of people being at home, it will not take long for any experienced burglar to ascertain whether or not that is the case. Unless your house is lit up like it is under siege, there are bound to be areas that remain in relative darkness and offer refuge for the ill-intentioned. Luckily for them, those areas often contain rear windows and doors, their favourite means of entering any property.

Leaving the lights off

A completely unlit property will surely give off the impression of being empty, but leaving lights on permanently to give the opposite impression is not the answer. Most families do not leave outside lights on when they retire to bed, and a house that blazes brightly all night can give a similarly strong feeling of emptiness. The most effective way to use light is as a quick deterrent when individuals are scoping large numbers of properties. This is where timers that make lights come on and go off randomly are of great use. Again, this is not a foolproof tactic but a sensible part of a broad range of security strategies.

A happy medium

When dealing with potential intruders and thieves watching your house for signs of activity, lights can be a huge benefit or a distinct liability, depending on the circumstances. If you have thin curtains or nets, then lighting the interior of your home acts as a fine display for burglars to do a spot of window shopping. It is inadvisable to leave heavy curtains closed as that is an immediate sign that nobody is at home, but try not to light up areas that will conveniently show everything worth stealing inside. Choose places like stair-landings, kitchens, and utility rooms to diffuse light around the house without spotlighting tasty items.  

Turn on outside lights when:

  • You’re home in the evening but not yet in bed — Lights going on and off are a sure sign of occupancy for burglars. A bonus is that you can see anyone on the porch through windows or your front door peephole.
  • Kids are home alone — Assuage their fears with as much light as possible. 
  • People are due to return home later — Walking up to a darkened house can be intimidating and provide criminals an excellent opportunity to strike. 
  • Home deliveries are expected — Don’t let the pizza guy miss your house. 

Turn off outside lights when:

  • You go to bed — Few people leave outside lights on when sleeping.  
  • You are on holiday — Leaving lights on or off constantly will indicate that you are not home, so don’t waste your electricity. If you do not have any timers that can be used to switch lights on and off at preset times, avoid leaving the outside lights on. Opt for several smaller ones inside the house to give the impression of someone at home. 
  • You live in a secluded or rural area — In areas that will naturally be very dark with few properties or structures, lighting up your home merely acts as a beacon in the dead of night.

Motion detector lights

The motion-detecting sensor is a superb tool in the arsenal of any homeowner who wants to win the war against devious criminals. These can be linked to exceptionally bright, short-lived lights or even CCTV cameras and alarms. State-of-the-art security systems allow users to view images their cameras capture via handheld devices that alert them to incidents of detected motion. But even without recording capabilities, these motion-activated lights are a bane to the wannabe burglar and draw unwanted attention towards them when they are trying to be stealthy and go unnoticed. Being bathed in blindingly bright white light is enough to drive most potential intruders elsewhere. In the opinion of our experts, the best in class at the time of writing is the state-of-the-art Dahua 8 Mega Pixel TiOC camera, which delivers a great motion detection solution at an affordable price point.


As with most aspects of life, the truth lies in a sensible balance of many different elements. It is useless to bathe your home in glorious light if you are doing nothing more than advertising your absence and running up your electric bill. No tactic of using lights as a deterrent will fool the most determined thieves, who may be prepared to return night after night and watch for patterns and signs of life. Employ a range of tactics, from timed lights to motion sensors and combine them all with a sound security system if you can. Most potential burglars will see the serious efforts that have gone into protecting your property and move on.  

Contact us

The team at Smart Security have worked tirelessly to grow our reputation as reliable, trustworthy professionals and stand proudly by our record. Please contact us if you need honest advice about security concerns or have questions about our products and services. An obligation-free quotation can be prepared to your exact specifications, with as much advice and guidance as you need from our experts.