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Install a security light

Install a security light

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A motion-sensing exterior light can help with security.

A small upgrade that made a big difference in our backyard security was adding a motion-sensing exterior light at the rear of the house where we parked the car. When we returned home in the dark it wasn’t easy to see the path that led to our back door, but the addition of a security light made all the difference, not to mention ensure all was safe. A sensor knows when someone crosses its path and creates a safe and stumble-free passage, even when there’s snow on the ground or no bright moon to guide you.

These exterior lights are sold in a variety of styles and finishes at hardware and lighting stores, home centers and online. You’ll find basic ho-hum utilitarian lights and more attractive ones that coordinate nicely with porch and entry lights.

An electrician will charge $188, which includes the labor and material, to remove an existing outdoor light with a new basic motion-sensing unit.. If you’re comfortable doing electrical work, you can buy the light for $35 and install it yourself, saving 81%. You’ll need basic electrical tools to do the job: a screwdriver, pliers, a wire stripper/puller and an inductive voltage tester.

The cost to run a new line from a main electrical panel will be considerably more, and will depend on the distance between the panel and the new fixture light. Running a new line is definitely a job for an electrician, not a homeowner, no matter how handy he or she is.

To find more DIY project costs and to post comments and questions, visit

Pro Cost — DIY Cost — Pro time — DIY Time — DIY Savings — Percent Saved

$188 — $35 — 0.9 — 1.5 — $153 — 81%

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