I like having my front porch lights on when I come home in the dark, especially in winter. Plus, studies show that a block whose homes are lit up have less crime. In my neighborhood, it sure can’t hurt. And since I switched to the snazzy new CFL bulbs, the electricity impact is relatively negligible – though I did discover, less than two weeks after installing the first pair, that they are susceptible to brownouts.
In winter in northern Illinois, it gets dark by 4:30, long before I get home from work. Around Christmas, I string up Christmas lights on the inside of my porch windows and use a plug-in timer so they come on at sunset and go off about bedtime. I flip on the porch light when I get home. In summer, I flip on the light when it gets dark – lately around 8:30. But in summer, I wake up to blazing sunshine at 6 AM – and the porchlights are still on.
This weekend, my friend Sarah was showing off all the great updates her dad helped her with recently, one of which was a neat automatic timer for the front lights. Rather than plugging into an outlet, it’s designed to fit in the existing switch slot. The model she got can be programmed for your timezone, whether or not you adjust for Daylight Savings, and your local area. From there, she was able to set it to have her lights on from dusk to dawn – exactly what I’m looking for.
I think I’ll stop by Home Depot and pick one up.