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Porch lights are pretty automatic for most people. They turn them on at night to make it easier for anyone who might be coming home late, and it’s also a sign that there are people in the house. But did you know there are times when it’s actually better to turn your porch lights off?

For example, when you go on vacation, you should turn your porch light off. Having them on for an extended period of time actually suggests that you’re not home, rather than the opposite. You can actually invest in timed lights that can be controlled from your phone, but overall, it’s actually better not to have the light on. Many people leave the porch light on even after they’ve gone to sleep, but this isn’t necessary either. If it’s for security reasons, there are motion-sensor lights that you can purchase to help with this.

When should you have them on? Well, if you’re expecting a delivery or a repairman to come to the house, porch lights will help regardless of the time of day. If you’re leaving children at home while you go out, having the lights on will give you peace of mind. During the evening, it’s good to have them on as long as you turn them off before you go to bed for the night.

Porch and other home lighting are a good first step to home security, but you shouldn’t stop there. Investing in an alarm system or using a phone app to manage the lighting in addition to your other security measures helps the home feel safe and secure.