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When Should You Leave Your Porch Lights On?

Published On: November 19, 2021By

When Should You Leave Your Porch Lights On?

When it comes to home safety, porch lights play an essential role. A porch light is meant to let friends, family, and others that someone is home. It can help guide guests to your front door and deter burglars. If you have a front door that is very visible from the street, a porch light can help illuminate your entrance and make it harder for anyone to try and sneak in.

Contrary to popular belief, though, porch lights are not always the safest when they are on. Properly turning your porch lights on and off, in conjunction with other security products, is the best way to keep your home safe. Below are the best times to keep your porch lights on. Plus, some tips on when to turn your porch lights off and when you should leave the porch light on.

When Should You Turn Your Porch Lights On?

At night when you are home and awake

Turning your porch lights on when you are home at night is a wise idea. It alerts others to the fact that you are home and up and about. When combined with having other lights on in the house, the porch light typically deters burglars. Most plan to break in when nobody is home, so they will make sure not to bother with your home. It’s also good for anyone inside the house to be able to see the porch clearly lit up in case anyone does visit after dark.

When you plan to come home after dark

If you plan to come home after it’s dark (especially now that we’re experiencing darker days due to daylight savings), make sure to leave the porch light on. It will help you get in safely and ensure you can see your front door and path clearly. Keeping the porch light on also gives the illusion that someone is home, so you can feel safer.

For best results, invest in a smart lightbulb. This will allow you to turn it on from your phone. So, if you end up staying out later than usual, you can make sure you come home to a well-lit porch. Or, if you hear a noise outside and are a little spooked, you can turn it on and hopefully scare off whatever caused the noise.

If you are expecting deliveries

Be kind to your delivery drivers and make sure they have a clear, well-lit path to your porch. Having your porch light on also helps them find your house.

When Should You Turn Your Porch Lights Off?

When you are out of town

A porch light that is always on is a clear sign that you are not home (but you want people to think you are). To really protect your space, invest in timers or smart bulbs. This way, anyone potentially scoping out your home will see the lights turning off and on and assume you are home. Make sure to also put lights inside of your home on a timer to give the appearance of a presence in your home.

As you head to bed

Don’t feel like you need to keep your porch light on when you head to bed. Just like you would do with any other lights in your home, make sure to turn your porch lights off. This shows that there are people inside and that the home is in use. If you are nervous about turning your porch lights off at night, invest in a motion-sensor porch light that will turn on if movement is detected.

If you are in a rural area

If you live in a dark, rural area, you may actually be better off turning your porch light off. Of course, the other rules apply about keeping it on when you are expecting deliveries or coming home late. Other than that, though, having a dark entrance may give you more time if someone does try to break in. They’ll likely have a hard time maneuvering in the dark and will give themselves away.


At the end of the day, when you turn your porch light on or off is up to you. That being said, these suggestions reflect those of home security companies and should be considered. Leave your porch light on when it makes you feel safe, and turn it off when it feels smart.

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