Yard light - or not?

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by deberosa, Feb 25, 2004.

  1. deberosa

    deberosa SW Virginia Gourd Farmer!

    Dec 13, 2003
    Floyd County, VA
    My place came with a PUD pole light next to the house. I am thinking I want it taken out, but wanted to get some opinions. Came to the country to see the stars at night and not a street light outside my window!

    PUD will not just turn it off for a while - they will remove the entire pole which has a beautiful honeysuckle growing around it right now - don't know if it will get ruined in the process but will ask them. They also have given me the option of moving the light - which they will do for free! They charge a three dollar "pole fee" each month and then about 3-6 dollars per month for the electricity for it.

    I was considering moving the light to be next to the barn - 50 yards away so the barn area was lit up at night.

    Do yard lights discourage predators? Anybody wish they had one, are they really some kind of source of security? Seems to me they just help the bad guys see their way around - also provides a beacon telling people my place is back here in the woods!


  2. mary,tx

    mary,tx Well-Known Member Supporter

    Dec 4, 2002
    I'd leave it, at least until you get settled and know the area before you decide.
    Like you, I don't care for the light, but it does have advantages.
    Sometimes, you do want people to be able to find you.
    I've tilled by mine. ;)
    Light seems to discourage coyotes.
    We don't have a guard light here, and the coyotes come right up to the yard to harrass my dog at night! Shining a flashlight at them sends them running, and they seem to stay away when we leave a spotlight on.

  3. uncle Will in In.

    uncle Will in In. Well-Known Member Supporter

    May 11, 2002
    You can buy a light like they have on their pole and put it on the end of your barn or anyplace you think it would be of any benifit. Have it hooked up through a switch so you decide whether you want it to come automaticly at dark or not. We have one on a pole between the house and barn but seldom have it on.
  4. MelissaW

    MelissaW Well-Known Member

    Jun 18, 2003
    NE Ohio
    This topic is affecting me right now, and I'm glad you brought it up. If you have any close neighbors, you might consider them in regards to the light. When we built our place, there were only a few old farm houses and a couple of very old trailers around. No one used anything but their regular porch light at night, and it was wonderful. Now, all of the old places have been torn down, and nicer houses have gone in. People moved out here from town, and decided it was too dark and spooky. Now every house has a huge mercury vapor light in the yard. I've had to put up heavy curtains in the bedrooms because it's like having spot lights shining in. The only crime around here is the occasional theft out of a truck tool box, or hay stuffed in the mailboxes. I asked one lady why they had the whole yard lit up and she said she's afraid of the dark! I agree that, if you find the need in your particular neighborhood, a light will discourage intruders, but if it's not necessary, cutting down light pollution and energy consumption will make you an excellent neighbor!
  5. Kirk

    Kirk Well-Known Member

    Oct 30, 2003
    Who pays to replace the bulb if someone should shoot it out? If they pay you might want start a little taget practice then if you want the light back on you call and complain that it stopped working.
  6. Matt Black

    Matt Black Out back

    Aug 19, 2003
    Northeast Missouri
    Ha! I've got the same problem. I wish I could put the thing on a switch so that I could turn it off when I wanted to stargaze. I has gone out a couple of times and it felt like I was so close to the stars I could reach out and touch them! I haven't called the elec. folks yet to see if there's anything I can do, I've got more pressing issues. It is on the list though...
  7. GrannieD

    GrannieD Well-Known Member

    Sep 13, 2003
    Missouri Ozarks
    I don't have one where I am ,but have had one at a rental that I couldn't turn off..I wouldn't have one that I couldn't turn off ... One funny thing I discovered was the side effect of having the light on during the summer...June beetles went to the light & then to the ground & the muscovy ducks sat there at night eating the downed bugs..One night as I watched our airdale terrior was laying there also...she was gazing down the driveway so I looked there..& here comes a skunk waddling toward the pole...I knew this wasn't quite the combination I wanted..but watched...the skunk went right to the dog & touched noses.. & then proceeded to catch & eat june beetles with the ducks...the dog had been raised with a racoon so that may have been why she was so passive,but to have them all together was quite a sight & I wouldn't have been a part of the entertainment without the light...Also as a deterent to varmints of other kinds we have found that racoons will not be detered from property due to light ..would assume that coyotes also get used to it & given the "bait" will visit regardless...I'd move it away from my house .... GrannieD
  8. tallpines

    tallpines Well-Known Member

    Apr 9, 2003
    A woods in Wisconsin
    We moved to the woods because we love nature.
    Light 24/7 IS NOT natural.
  9. big rockpile

    big rockpile If I need a Shelter

    Feb 24, 2003
    What I like about this area you can drive for miles and not see any outside lights and most of the House Lights are Gas.Morning you see people walking around with Lanterns doing Chores before work.

    Its pretty Cool!!!!

    big rockpile
  10. texican

    texican Well-Known Member

    Oct 3, 2003
    Carthage, Texas
    Lights don't seem to deter coons, possums, skunks, bobcats, and coyotes. My relatives have them, and it doesn't slow down the four legged critteers a bit when they're needing a chicken or goat dinner.

    The lights ruin the nightime sky for the star loving folks like myself.

    Security? Is this security for the owner or for the 'borrowers'? The 'borrowers', aka Thiefs, can see everything they need...where the good stuff is, whether there's a dog present, dangerous obstacles, whether there's a vehicle parked outside... The lights provide a lot of information to anybody driving by, making it real easy to make decisions on whether to rob you or not. If there are no lights, they have to do their reconnaisance during the daytime, a more dangerous undertaking.

    As you can tell, I do not like or tolerate outside lights. And everytime another city boy or girl moves to the country, they feel more "secure" with the lights...think it'll keep the boogieman away, when actually it's making the boogiemans job a lot easier.
  11. rambler

    rambler Well-Known Member Supporter

    Jan 20, 2004
    My opinion:

    In town, it makes a lot of sense to light up a property so 'everyone' passing by can see what is going on - keeps the bad people from wanting to be in full sight doing bad things.

    Out in the country, it has never made sense to me. Being a 1/4 mile from the road, no one is going to be passing by & seeing anything. The light tell bad people there is a place there that is occupied. It lights up all the doors & walkways. And provides no security at all.

    In darkness, the bad guys need to carry a flashlight, 'announcing' themselves... Or stumble & trip in the darkness. Or wonder if a dog is coming around the corner.... Or not notice the place in the first place. Or figure it is abandoned & nothing valuable there.

    I certainly want a switchable light up on a pole. I would negociate with the power company to keep the pole. You never get light right from just mounting it on a wall, and the pole would have little true value to the power company - used & need to pull it - so you should be able to keep it fairly cheaply. you say you are spending $12 a month for it - after a year it should be free! :) Put your own light on top of the pole with a switch. You want the outdoor light, but you want control of it. Paying $100 to keep the pole, & buying your own light & switch (150w outdoor incadessaint used sparingly is cheap & lasts a long time) will be pretty cheap 2 years from now - free in 3 years. You don't think the power co is supplying the light to be nice? Overnight they have a surplus of power, so the $3-6 of power you use is full bonus to them.

    But, give it some time to think about it, and don't toally eliminate the light. Just gain control of it. Money spent now will be money saved later.

    Again, my opinion....

  12. Ross

    Ross Moderator Staff Member Supporter

    May 9, 2002
    We have three, mostly because we do run long days workign here and to deter coyotes. I think it helps. We've had darkened trucks drive up the laneway and stop just outside the lighted area to watch for a while. They sit squarley in a remote motion sensors path we have to announce customers!! We couldn't run our business without one light at least. Can't farm without the other two. If we want to star gaze we hop in the truck and drive out to a feild but yeah all that light is pollution too.
  13. RAC

    RAC Guest

    Kirk, liked your idea, but I think most streetlights are assessment-type things--you get charged whether the light is working or not.

    I'm actually surprised that Deberosa gets the option to take it out--usually, once these things are in, it's like sewer and garbage--guaranteed revenue for the cities.

    Maybe an option is to relocate the pole so it lights somewhere else, or maybe ask if they can put some sort of directional sleeve on it (I'm thinking like those satellite collars you put on a dog) to shine the light where it would be most useful, like only on your driveway, for instance.

    I do agree about them being a nuisance when you sleep--maybe good black-out curtains are in order, or the little eye masks also work pretty well.

    On the other hand, if someone is breaking in, it is a lot easier to see them with a light already on, so if there is a crime problem in the neighborhood, the lights can be a help.
  14. prhamell

    prhamell Well-Known Member

    Oct 11, 2002
    Most of the farms around here have 1 mile or more distance between them. We have a light sensor yard light on a big pole. It turns on when it gets dark out. At night, it gets awfully dark when you have to trek down to the barn to do chores. During the winter I wouldn't be without it. I just mentioned that to DH last night when we were outside shoveling out the mailbox on the road at 10 o'clock at night. When we have an electric storm and lose power, it is SOOO dark. During the summer, the ducks sit under it all night catching bugs. I never have to feed them during the warmer months. Becky
  15. Jackpine Savage

    Jackpine Savage Well-Known Member

    Jul 3, 2002
    Central MN
    I had one removed last fall. It was costing $10 a month and shining in the bedroom window. I don't miss it. The power company would not leave the light on the pole, but the meter was on the same pole so they couldn't take the pole. I'm planning on putting one on the peak of the barn with a switch. I wonder if they make a remote control switch so I could turn it on from the house?

    As far as security goes I lean toward the light being more hindrance than help. It makes shadows to hide in and destroys your night vision.

    On the other hand at the dairy farm we had 3 lights and they were appreciated during choretime in the dark.
  16. deberosa

    deberosa SW Virginia Gourd Farmer!

    Dec 13, 2003
    Floyd County, VA
    Can't say that thought hasn't crossed my mind. :D
  17. Shrek

    Shrek Singletree Moderator Staff Member Supporter

    Apr 30, 2002
    North Alabama
    I have sundown to dawn vapor lamps and motion detection kill zone flood lights on my place. I have them all wired with switchable source and the motion detector lights have steady on illumination capability if I require it.
  18. SteveD(TX)

    SteveD(TX) Well-Known Member

    May 14, 2002
    I have two of these at my place. One near the front gate that illuminates that area at night, and one near the barn (about 400 ft. away) for security purposes. None close to the house. Due to heavy woods, we can still go out at night and have pitch black around the house, unless I turn on floodlights from inside. Neighbors can't really see the lights either.
  19. Pops Black

    Pops Black Member

    Feb 16, 2004
    I’ll mention this since nobody else has.

    I bought a nice metal motion sensor at Home Depot that was built in pieces like typical weatherproof conduit boxes, IOW, not a plastic cheapy. It was rated, I believe, for 1000watts. I installed the sensor at one corner of the tool shed, one light at each of two other corners.

    Now here’s the different part, since this unit had a high wattage ratting and wasn’t an all-in-one, in addition to being able to separate the lights for larger coverage, I was able to connect a 12v transformer to the switched circuit and then to an alarm horn. Presto, instant exterior burglar alarm!

    Although I have a hidden on/of switch for the siren at a location I can access without setting off the alarm I have suprised myself a couple of time, it's LOUD.

    This unit is very versatile and surprisingly sensitive. It has on/off, 20 min on time, 5 min, and test mode that works day or night and stays on 5 sec. Also distance gain and sensitivity adjustments.

    In fact, when I first set it up I couldn’t get within 30-40 feet. But I had to adjust it down; it was so sensitive at that setting my dog could set it off – I bet a 100 db siren would run off 4-legged varmints as well!

    Spent $120 maybe.

  20. anniew

    anniew keep it simple and honest Supporter

    Dec 11, 2002
    NE PA
    when I moved here, there was already a dusk to dawn light on the
    garage. I've been here over 11 years, and have never had to
    replace the bulb. The garage has electric coming from the house,
    so a circuit breaker in the house could turn it off if I wanted.

    I love it. I'm not afraid of the dark, but I'm concerned about
    falling (with osteoporesis--the forerunner to osteoporosis, that is a
    concern) so like to be able to see where I am going when I have to
    go outside at night, or when I come home after dark. Also, I have
    two large dogs which I walk individually. If I can't see well outside,
    they may "smell" an animal first, then jerk the leash to run after it
    causing me to go flat on my belly (it's happened several times), so I
    like to be able to be ready when they notice something. The light is
    very helpful.

    We'd all like to see the stars at night, and it is possible even with an
    outside light if you go on the opposite side of a building from
    where the light is located and let the building block out
    the light. I did that during a meteor shower one time, and saw over
    500 shooting stars.

    But I think it is important to feel safe...whether
    it is from a possible intruder, a predator, or from falling.
    You can't have quality of life is you feel unsafe. Evaluate your
    own situation, and do what is best for you, not the neighbors.
    If it was there when you moved in, they are probably used to it.