Motion Sensor Lights

Burglars could strike your house at any time, any day. In the U.S., a burglary happens once every 15 seconds, and 34% of burglars enter through the front door (ASecureLife). While investing in an indoor home security system could significantly improve your home’s protection, wouldn’t you rather the burglar didn’t come in the first place?

Thankfully, there are ways to prevent that self-assured burglar from going up to your front door and entering your house. One particularly effective way could be to install motion sensor lights outside to catch the intruder off-guard. Such devices are triggered by movement and not how light or dark it is outside, therefore they also help deter daytime burglaries by giving the impression that there is someone in the house causing the burglar to think twice.

If you think motion sensor lights are for you and want to know more, then the following information could be useful:

How it Works

  • Basic Components: Motion sensor lights usually consist of a small lens that detects rapid changes in heat or movement, switching on the light for up to 20 minutes if it detects anything unusual. The type of sensor uses a passive infrared (PIR) or pyroelectric sensor which detects infrared energy, i.e., heat radiating from an object.

  • Where to Place it: Motion sensor lights should be placed 6-10 feet above ground so that it covers the main entry spots and possible blind spots around your house. The area the device covers then depends on how you place it, specifically how you set its angle and distance range. Angle range could be adjusted and set anywhere from 180 to 270 degrees. The distance could also be adjusted up to 70 feet or more.

  • Different Types: You could get motion sensor lights in a standard hard-wired version, which are usually installed by professionals, or as a wireless, battery-operated set which could be easily set up. Other versions could also be solar powered. As for alarms, the device could produce a siren or be silent, depending on your preference.

More than Just Protection

There are several added benefits to installing these devices which you may experience, such as the following:

  • Neighbors are likely to notice and come to your aid if the lights suddenly come on and/or a siren alarm sounds off.

  • Energy may be conserved better than using ordinary floodlights as the device works automatically, switching on only when it detects movement and then switching off accordingly.

  • If you live close to the woods or any place where there are animals, the device could deter pests from coming close to your house.

  • If you get home late at night and can’t find your keys in the dark, the motion sensor lights could switch on for your convenience, even preventing a potentially bad stumble in the dark.

Things to Consider

Before getting motion sensor lights however, do take into account the following key points:

  • To limit the range of motion detection, adjust the sensitivity levels or viewing angles. Before adjusting however, do read the operating manual. Depending on the type or make of the motion sensor light, there may be more than one switches controlling sensitivity and other levels, and you may need to put the device on test mode before adjusting. Normally though, switches are found at the bottom of the device.

  • False alarms may be triggered by stray objects such as leaves, etc. However, such nuisance triggering could be reduced by setting the detection range accordingly, or by using multiple sensors through dual technology.

  • To ensure round-the-clock coverage, you could install two bulbs in the device in case one of them burns out. Moreover, to protect against bad weather, you could install weatherproof floodlight bulbs or a weatherproof box for the device. But make sure to always turn the power off before attempting to add or replace the bulbs.

  • Some of these devices could connect to the phone to automatically dial for help, either to a monitoring service or the police.

 Alternately, if you have an indoor home security system which is already connected to an automatic dial-up system and has a monitoring service, then motion sensor lights could act as a cost-effective way to protect your home.



Q:Where to place motion sensor lights?

A:For your security and ease, you can use motion sensor lights on the paths going to your front and back door. You may also use motion sensor lights for decks, patios, and other areas such as swimming pools and stairways. For improved security, you may put motion sensor lights on all the approaches to your house.

Q:Why does a motion sensor does not sense light switching off and on or moving?

A:It is because the motion detectors that are normally used are not sensitive to visible light. Common motion sensors make use of ultrasound, infrared light, microwaves and radio waves with a longer wavelength. However, an optical motion detector can detect visible light but it may need computer image analysis to detect it in a precise way.

Q:How do I install motion detection lights at home?

A:Motion detection lights are easy to install. First, you would need to turn the power off and unscrew your existing light fixture. Then you would need to connect new light fixtures with the house wires by using wire nuts. After attaching the new fixture, you would need to screw in the flood lights, and turn the power on. You would need to check where the lamps are shining and then adjust it according to the manual.

Q:What is the best LED bulb for a motion-activated outdoor flood light?

A:LED bulbs for a motion activated outdoor flood lights are available in various shapes and sizes. Users have different preferences. They may consider warm or cool lights, water proof bulbs, and check the distance covered by the LED bulb. It is also good to see how long it stays on after it detects motion. You may read user reviews and compare the costs before selecting a bulb.

Q:Can we have motion sensor lights for a load of 50-100 watts?

A:Different motion sensor lights are available in the market and you may find a motion sensor light of 50 to 100 watts. Motion sensor flood lights are available in different loads such as 75 watts. You can either search online or go to a shop to find the lights that meets your requirement.

Q:How do I set the timing on motion sensor porch lights?

A:There are generally three knobs on your motion sensor lights: sensitivity knob, time knob, and test knob. You will need to adjust the time knob on your motion sensor, by selecting a time that you think would be suitable for a light to stay on when it detects motion. The test knob on your motion sensor is to test your new settings. Plus, if you have a user manual with you, make sure you that read the guidelines in it.

Q:Can you convert a regular light to a motion detector light?

A:Yes, you can use a regular LED light to convert it into a motion detector light. You would need a few other materials and tools to make your own motion detector light. These materials include a sensor, a PC board, small speaker, card box, and assorted wire. You would also need tools such as a small saw, a drill, a USB cable, and soldering iron to make a motion detector light.

Q:How can I get my home security system to turn on lights?

A:If you want to enable your home security system to switch on lights and control other activities such as opening doors, you would need to add home automation to your system. In order to get home automation with your security system, you can contact your security company to assist you or you can seek professional help by calling an electrician to install home automation devices.

Q:Is there such a thing as a motion detector light with a dimmer switch?

A:Yes, you can get a motion detector light installed with a dimmer switch. You would need to take help from an electrician for this purpose. The electrician would have to connect your motion detector with a switch that dims the lights when it detects motion. You could select a preferable brightness for your dimmer switch and ask your electrician to install the system accordingly.

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