The Ultimate Guide to Motion Sensor Lights for Your Home

Motion Sensor Security Light

For all those that love making improvements around the house from DIY projects to full blown remodeling with contractors and the whole nine yards I have written this guide to motion sensor lights for your home. You might be thinking that lighting isn’t a home improvement but it really is and it can make a huge difference in the way your house looks to others and how you get around it at night. Now everyone knows the importance and convenience of lighting and it is so ingrained in our modern lives that most of us don’t give it a second thought and wouldn’t know what to do without it. On the other hand there are those that not only know its importance but take advantage of it by using it for all the things that make lights great, like there beauty, convenience and security. These people utilize all types of lights around their homes that are specially designed for specific purposes and situation. For example accent lights for landscaping, security lights for porches and driveways and night lights for bedroom, bathrooms and hallways. Motion sensor lights also play a big part in making the most of these lighting situations in and around the home and that is where this article is going to help. In it you are going to find just about everything you will ever need to know about motion sensor lights. So hopefully no matter what question you have or what type of light you are looking to buy you can find the information you need here.

What is a Motion Sensor Light and How Does it Work

Motion Actived Door Bell

          A motion sensing light isn’t much different than any other light, other than it has a built in sensor that turns it on when it detects movement. Other common names include motion detecting and motion activated. Typically these types of lights are used for outdoor security purposes around homes and businesses or indoors as night lights or as occupancy sensors or motion sensor light switch for the main light in a specific room. Many of these lights come with several features that allow you to adjust the sensitivity of the motion sensing eye and the amount of time the light will stay on after being activated.
There are several different types of motion sensors and if you look around in your day to day routine you will start to notice all the places that use this technology. For example on garage door openers there are motion sensors that keep the door from closing if there is something in the way, or the automatic doors at stores like Walmart, or even little mom and pop store that have a bell that rings when someone passes through the door. These are two different types of sensors. The automatic door sensors work by sending out a simple form of radar that when blocked activates the door which explains the radar detector in your car seems to goes off for no reason. The ringing door bell works by producing a beam of light that shines across the door opening into a photosensor when the beam is broken the bell goes off. These examples are what are known as active sensors. They produce a type of energy whether it’s light, sound or microwaves that is released into the environment to detect any change.
Now most motion sensing lights use what are known as passive infrared detectors or pyroelectric sensors, PIR for short. These work a little differently than the active sensors. PIR detectors work by monitoring and detecting change in the amount of infrared energy in a given area which dictated by the field of view of the sensor eye. Now when it comes to trying to detect change in the infrared energy you have to be careful. If you set the sensor too sensitive you will be picking up thing like the heating up and cooling off of buildings, sidewalks or any other object that is heated by the sun during the day. So lucky for us the manufacturers of these lights set the sensitivity to a level that only actives the light when it detects a rapid change in infrared energy. And this explains why if you were to walk in front of a motion sensor light which would then be activated and stand there without moving eventually the light would turn off because it not detecting changes in infrared energy “movement”.

Where Do I Use Motion Sensor Lights?

Motion Detecting Porch Light

          This is a great question and the answer is just about any where you want. Some of the most common place were mentioned in the first paragraph but are worth repeating they include outdoors near driveways, sidewalks and on porches all places that people are frequently at after dark plus second as security lights to ward off unwanted visitors whether they are human or an animal pest. Indoors they are used in hallways, bathroom and even on stairs for stairway lighting but this is just the beginning any room in the house could be a good candidate. With all the different styles of lights that are now available there should be something that’s perfect for just about any place you can think of. Really the options are endless other location could be garages, sheds, tree houses for the kids, the back yard for night time activities or in the garden. Just remember the days of having to settle for tacky looking security style lights are long gone many of the new designs look great, like the classic porch light pictured at the right.

Resources for Choosing and Installing Motion Sensor Lights

Motion Senor Light Switch

To keep this article from being a small book I have broken it up into a few smaller articles to make it a little more manageable and easier to follow. The first article is on the Best Indoor Motion Sensor Lights, it gives you some great information on several different types of lights that can be used all over the inside of your home. The next few articles Exterior Motion Detector Lights, Wireless Outdoor Motion Sensor Lights, and Solar Motion detector Lights are all about different types of outdoor lights that you might find useful for a specific area around your home. And then there are the how to videos that can make installing your new lights a breeze even if you are not an electrician they include How to Install a Motion Sensor Light Switch and How to Install Outdoor Motion Sensor Lights.
To continue this project/guide next I will be working on answering some of the most common question people have about motion lights, from how to adjust there sensitivity to replacing the sensors. Hopefully it will be finished soon and I can call this project finished.

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