Motion-sensing lights provide safety, savings

Motion-sensing exterior lights save money by limiting the amount of time the light is actually on. They also have the added security benefit of turning on when something or someone passes through the sensor area and the added convenience of turning on automatically when you arrive home after dark. Installation of a motion-sensing light is relatively easy if you are replacing an existing fixture.


Exterior Motion-sensing lights provide security and save energy by turning on only when activity is detected.

Step 1: Choose the position of the motion-sensing light thoughtfully. The sensor is most effective at a height of 6 to 8 feet. The sensor should not be located near moving objects such as trees, street traffic or water. The natural movement of these items will cause the sensor to turn on and stay on at inappropriate times. Reflective surfaces, white walls and heat sources will also falsely trigger the motion-sensing device.

Step 2: Use the circuit breaker or fuse in your entrance panel to turn the power off to the existing light fixture. Use a voltage sensor to assure the power is off before touching any wires.

Step 3: Remove the existing fixture to expose the electrical wires. Snip and re-strip any damaged wire ends to assure a good electrical connection.

Step 4: Align the screw holes on the motion-sensing fixture with the mounting screws on the edges of the junction box. If the screws do not align properly, you may need to replace the box before proceeding.

Step 5: Slip the weatherproof gasket that came with the motion-sensing fixture over the power source wires.

Step 6: Twist the black power source wire and the black fixture wire together. Cap the black wire pair with a plastic wire nut. Do the same for the white power and fixture wires. Attach any existing grounding wire to the junction box.

Step 7: Once the wires are secured, attach the fixture to the junction box, using the mounting screws that came with the fixture.

Step 8: Insert lamp holder gaskets and screw the appropriate light bulbs into place. Do not overtighten the bulbs.

Step 9: Turn the power back on and test the functionality of the fixture. To do this, shade the fixture from daylight to override the dusk to dawn feature. Adjust the motion sensor head to the optimum position.

Refer to the manufacturer’s instructions for appropriate adjustments and operation techniques.


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