Keep Porchlights Warm!

October 13, 2023

Blog post written by 2024 Energy Intern, Vaniala Andriamalala

Imagine you’re walking home at night, the air’s chilly enough that the tip of your nose is colder than the rest of your body and you’re just about to walk up to your house. As you walk towards your house, your porch is illuminated brightly enough to light up your entire street (what a great neighbor you are) or maybe it is just enough so you can see right in front of your own house. In either scenario, I hope both are LED lightbulbs (the most efficient type of lightbulbs out there), but more specifically I hope that they are warm LEDs.

Different bulbs, LEDs and compact fluorescent

You might be asking yourself, ‘What’s the difference between the two?’ I’d say you are already ahead of the game for even knowing to pick LED lights over incandescent light bulbs or even compact fluorescents. Choosing LEDs in comparison to the other light bulb variations brings about lots of benefits such as being more durable and long-lasting longer than incandescent, which lasts 25 times more. This reduces the frequency in which you have to spend on lightbulbs, potentially creating an opportunity for you to use that money elsewhere. Not only does it last longer, but offers about the same lighting as other light bulbs or can even be seen as better quality in the effectiveness of its lighting if you happen to be worried about its performance. On top of all this, you can save more on your energy bill by using about 75% less energy than other lightbulbs. All of these reasons are why you should be running to purchase LEDs, if you don’t already have them of course.

Now that you understand the importance of choosing LEDs over the other two lightbulbs. Now we can delve much deeper into which one of those lights is more appropriate in lighting up your porch. The first one within my earlier hypothetical scenario, where your lights are practically lighting up your entire neighborhood, is an example of what is known as daylight LED. Just like what its name suggests, these lights simulate the light of the sun. They tend to be much brighter and very close to a bluish-tinged light. When measured, colors emitted from light bulbs are measured based on temperature, they emit at a temperature of 5000K or more. Lights that measure in these higher ranges are often seen emitting bright lights that are best used within your kitchen or bathroom: where you need the maximum of lights to complete tasks. Although great for indoor lighting due to its brightness, I would definitely not recommend it as a porchlight though. There are many reasons for this, for example, it disrupts the circadian rhythms of many wildlife creatures: including their sleep, daylight LEDs have been known to disrupt the production of melatonin which can be deadly for some animals. Additionally, many animals rely on insects for food yet with insects being attracted to bright lights, they often die from exhaustion from flying around the lights. This can cause a catastrophic chain reaction to the food web as those animals relying on insects struggle to sustain themselves due to the decrease in insect abundance.

In contrast to daylight LEDs, warm LED lights emit a more orange hue and are measured between 2000-3500 Kelvins. Warmer temperature lights are less bright and more like the second scenario. Bright enough to light up just your porch and no one else’s. Warm LEDs though are not too dark where it is difficult to see anything you might want to see as well and it has all the other properties as any other LEDs. They also don’t disturb wildlife in the same ways that daylight LEDs tend to with the brightness of their lights.

Color temperature is a way to describe the light appearance provided by a light bulb. It is measured in degrees of Kelvin (K) on a scale from 1,000 to 10,000. Typically, Kelvin temperatures for commercial and residential lighting applications fall somewhere on a scale from 2000K to 6500K.

Although, keeping your lights on throughout the entire day with either LEDs could potentially agitate or disturb some aspects of wildlife and also your own sleep at night. Especially if you use a daylight LED, it could affect the production of melatonin. In order to combat this, I would heavily recommend having a timer so that your energy bill is not skyrocketing. Where you can have your porch lights on for only a specific amount of time and then it turns off on its own. If interested you can request one at Another really good option is a motion-sensored light that senses movement and turns on only when it has too.

2 comments on "Keep Porchlights Warm!"

  1. Larry Glatt says:

    Porch lights interrupt the cycles of birds and insects, no porch lights
    is better and safer for them and their life cycles.
    Lights that go on when a sensor is activated are ok.

  2. Joe Schmoe says:

    There are nearly zero exterior flood bulbs less than 3000k. Travesty. All of them should be 2200-2500k to more closely mimick candlelight. Much better on eyes, as well as animal life. The county should restrict sales and installation of any outdoor bulbs or floods to 3000k or less.

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