Installing Motion-Sensor Lights
Written by Lee Wyatt (last updated September 29, 2021)
There are many different methods that you can use to increase the security around your home. That being said, perhaps one of the simplest and least expensive methods is by simply installing a few motion-sensor lights around your home. While you can always hire a professional electrician to do the work for you, there is no need. This is a project that even a novice can accomplish with about two hours worth of work. All you need to do is follow these simple instructions.
A brief word before proceeding. The instructions listed here are based off a simple assumption. That assumption is that you will be installing these motion-sensor lights in the same location as any existing lights that you may already have. If you are not, then there are several steps you will need to take prior to beginning this project.
- Motion-sensor light
- Wire nuts
- Swivel strap (optional)
- Combination tool
- Shut off power. Whenever you work on an electrical project, remember that safety comes first. This means that you need to actually shut off the power to the area that you will be working on to ensure that there are no accidents. The best way that you do this is by shutting off the power at the service panel, and leaving a note to ensure that no one comes along and accidentally turns it on.
- Remove old light. After you have shut off the power to the area that you are going to be working, remove the old light. This means that you will actually remove the complete fixture, not just the light bulb. Loosen the screws that hold the fixture in place. Disconnect and inspect the wiring, making note of any wiring that looks corroded. If you find some, either replace the wiring yourself, or stop the project and call a professional.
- Connect the new light. When you have completely disconnected the old light, begin reconnecting the new light. Run the wires through the rubber gaskets that are on the new light, and then begin splicing the appropriate wires together using the wire nuts to hold everything in place. Turn the power back on and test your work.
- Take time to position. With the power on, position the lights so that they are pointed in the directions that you want. You may need to loosen a few lock nuts, or bolts to ensure that you are able to do this. When you have the lights in the directions that you wish, tight everything up and proceed to making any adjustments.
- Adjust as necessary. Now comes the fun part, making adjustments to the lights and to the sensitivity of the motion sensor. Follow the directions from the manufacturer to ensure that you make these adjustments properly. Set the sensitivity low enough that it won't come on when your neighbor comes out of their door or drives into their driveway, but have it set high enough that anyone who comes into your yard will turn it on.
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