Solar lights, be it spotlights, floodlights or solar LED lamps, are becoming more and more popular, especially as outdoors lighting, since they don’t require electricity and give out dazzling light that will brightly illuminate your backyard, deck, porch or any other outside area. Unfortunately, because these lights usually aren’t that big in size and come equipped with bigger or smaller solar panels, depending on the size of the lamp, they also can be an easy and well-paying target to thieves. Which is why you should know the basics of how you can keep your solar lights out of harms way and thieves’ hands.
In our blog’s solar panel tips section we have already covered the topic of how to protect your solar panels from thieves, and even though some of the tips given in that article might apply to solar lighting, too, like using steel bolts to anchor down the lights or restricting access to the lights with security systems and fences, I thought it would be useful to provide a completely new and fresh guide, how to ensure that your solar lights aren’t stolen.
How big is the chance that your solar lights can be stolen?
Theft of property is one of the most common crimes out there, because it is reasonably easy crime to commit and can be done anywhere. And the easiest property to steal is one that is located outdoors and that is small enough to hide in a bag, like solar lights. Want proof? Just check out this funny story about how a man took down his neighbor’s floodlight without permission, placed it is the neighbor’s mailbox, and sent the neighbor a note about it, because the light was shining directly in his bedroom window, making it impossible to sleep. So if you are asking “how big is the chance of your outdoors solar lights being stolen” then I would say, it is a pretty big one, especially if you live in a more remote area. And since solar lights are quite valuable you should do everything in your power to prevent them from theft.
So what can you do?
There are a couple of things you can do to ensure your solar light safety. Of course one option is to stand guard with a shot gun in hand, which would be an efficient, albeit not very neighbor-friendly or a smart way how to secure your lights, so let me offer other, better options of keeping your solar lighting from being stolen. And not all of them even require heavy duty tools or high tech security systems.
1. Use tamper proof hardware
The very first thing you can do to make sure that your solar lighting isn’t stolen, especially if they are bigger, more expensive lights that come equipped with solar cells, is to use so called tamper proof or vandal proof hardware to secure the lights in their place. Essentially they are mounting bolts, nuts and screws that not only are made from stainless steel, but that also have unique sockets or no sockets at all. So it will be virtually impossible to brake them, and also it will be much harder to unscrew this type of hardware since standard tools won’t work on it.
2. Install the lights high off the ground
If we are talking about more heavy duty solar lighting, no the simple, cheap solar garden lights that can be purchased in virtually any hardware store, then you might want to think about installing them higher up, not at a height that can be easily reached without a ladder or even with the help of a stepping ladder. This will ensure that your solar lights and the solar panels that accompany them are hard to reach, meaning that it will take special equipment and more time to steal the lights, which is a big turn-off for many thieves.
3. Set your lights into concrete
If installing lights high off the ground is not an option for you, then you might want to think about setting your solar lights in some concrete. This will be especially easy to do with solar garden lights that are typically simply inserted into the ground and extremely easy to just remove from the ground. Buy some concrete mix, dig a small hole in the ground, pore in the concrete and stick the base of your light into it. Let it harden and then cover up the concrete with some soil so it is not so noticeable. And you have yourself a DIY garden solar lamp anti-theft system. Just make sure that before you do this you know that you won’t want to move your solar lights around for a while, as the concrete not only makes it impossible to just grab your lighting and go for thieves but also much harder for you to move the lamps to a different location.
4. Buy security lighting for your solars
Although this tip of keeping your solar lights safe by installing additional lighting might seem a bit redundant, it really is a great way how to secure your solar lamps. Motion-sensor lights, like security flood lights, are very efficient at scaring off thieves and other uninvited guests, because the lamps will light up once somebody wanders in your territory, making it appear as if you are awake and monitoring your backyard, not fast asleep in your bed, oblivious to the world.
5. Set up a fence
You can also think about setting up a fence around your territory, because fences are always a hassle to get over and thieves, who are prone to stealing solar lights, might not want to bother climbing over them just for the lighting. Just make sure that the fence is high or heavy duty enough to keep people out of your backyard or garden, since short or easy-to-bend faces might not be enough to turn away thieves.
6. Install an alarm and/or security cameras
Then to get to the more high tech safety solution, you can also look into installing a security alarm, security cameras or even both of these security measures if you are really paranoid about you solar lights being stolen. There are many different alarms out there from regular ones to so called guard dog burglar alarms, that will not only scare the thieves but also notify you when somebody is attempting to steal your things. The same goes also for security cameras, as nowadays you can purchase fairly cheap, simple cameras, that will do their job of preventing theft while not requiring you to invest too much money in them. But if you aren’t tech savvy, you can always get a dog. Guard dog are a security alarm and security camera all in one and often is a big no-no for thieves, because they don’t even bother looking at a house that has a dog.
7. Coat your lighting in Vaseline
And if all else fails, just lather the solar lights in Vaseline or other equally slippery substance. Okay, maybe this is not the smartest or best solution how to prevent somebody from stealing your solar lights, but you have to admit that it is a clever and funny one. On top of that, making your lights slippery and gross might just piss off the thieves so much, that they won’t ever return to your property and will alert their thieve friends not to go near your house.