By Gene and Katie Hamilton
Adding a motion-sensing security light to our backyard was a small project that made a big difference. In the past, we'd have difficulty finding our way to the back door whenever we returned home in the dark. Now the new light illuminates the way to our house, making it a safe and stumble-free passage because as soon as you step within its range, the motion-sensing kicks in and lights the area around it. You'll find these lights at lighting and home centers in a variety of styles. Some are smart, good-looking units that coordinate nicely with porch and entry lights; others are basic and utilitarian. Entry points like the front and back doors and at the garage are the most typical places where a security light is installed. But don’t forget lighting on a deck or at a basement door.
An electrician will charge $64 to replace an existing outdoor light with a basic motion-sensing unit, which includes the labor and material. If you're comfortable doing electrical work, you can buy the light for $40 and install it yourself, saving 37 percent. You'll need basic electrical tools - screwdriver, pliers, wire stripper/puller and an inductive voltage tester - to do the job.
The cost to run a new line from the main electrical panel will be considerably more, and depend on the distance between the panel and where you want the light. This is definitely a job for an electrician, not a homeowner, no matter how handy he or she is.
The average price to install a security light noted above is cost data to compare a contractor’s estimate with doing it yourself. Tweak the data by adding your ZIP Code to find a local cost.
Cost updated 2012