How to Save on Electrical Costs by Installing Motion Sensor Light Switches

How to Save on Electrical Costs by Installing Motion Sensor Light Switches

Installing motion sensor light switches can help you save on electrical costs by reducing unnecessary lighting usage. Here is a comprehensive guide on how to install motion sensor light switches and realize savings on your electricity bill.

What are Motion Sensor Light Switches?

Motion sensor light switches, also known as occupancy sensors or motion detecting light switches, are special light switches that can automatically turn lights on when motion is detected and turn them off after a set amount of time when no motion is detected.

They work by using passive infrared (PIR) sensors to detect heat and motion from people or objects. The PIR sensor is able to detect the difference between ambient infrared radiation and emissions from a moving human body. When motion is detected, a signal is sent to turn the lights on.

Key Benefits of Motion Sensor Light Switches

How Much Can You Save by Installing Motion Sensors?

The amount you can save on your electricity bill depends on:

As a general estimate, a motion sensor controlling a 75W bulb that's used 5 hours per day could save $30-40 per year. The more bulbs controlled and the higher the wattage, the greater your savings.

Savings add up quickly if you install motion sensors in high traffic areas like hallways, stairwells, kitchens, garages, and bathrooms.

Key Considerations When Choosing Motion Sensors

How to Install a Motion Sensor Light Switch

Installing a motion detecting light switch is a relatively simple project you can DIY in about an hour with basic electrical knowledge and some tools.

Supplies Needed

Step-by-Step Installation

  1. Turn off power to the switch at the circuit breaker. Verify power is off with a voltage tester.

  2. Remove the existing switch cover plate screws and carefully remove the old switch.

  3. Take a photo of the switch wiring for reference and then disconnect the wires. There are usually three wires - neutral (white), live (black), and ground (green or bare copper).

  4. Connect the neutral and ground wires to the corresponding neutral and ground terminals on the motion sensor switch using provided wire nuts.

  5. Connect the live wire to the load terminal. This powers the switch.

  6. Connect a wire from the line terminal to the light fixture hot terminal. This powers the lights.

  7. Push wires back into the electrical box. Carefully mount the sensor switch into the box and attach the cover plate.

  8. Turn power back on and test functionality. Adjust settings as needed.

Helpful Installation Tips

Choosing the Best Settings for Your Motion Sensors

Optimizing your motion sensor settings can help maximize energy savings and convenience. Test out different combinations to find what works best for each situation.

Key Settings to Adjust

Make small adjustments incrementally to hone in on the optimal settings. Change settings seasonally based on shifting daylight and occupancy patterns.

Troubleshooting Common Motion Sensor Issues

Motion sensors are reliable, but occasional issues can arise. Try these troubleshooting tips if your motion sensor switch is not working properly:

Replacing batteries or resetting the switch will also reset the sensor and fix many problems. Check manufacturer troubleshooting guides for advanced diagnostics and repairs.

Make the Most of Your Motion Sensor Light Switches

Installing motion sensors can seem intimidating, but a DIY installation is totally feasible for many homeowners. With a bit of planning, electrical care, and testing of settings, motion sensors can significantly reduce unnecessary lighting costs.

Optimally tuning sensitivity, time delays, and other settings will maximize functionality for each space. Take time to find the motion sensing sweet spot for each room. The long term savings on your electricity bills will be well worth the effort and expense.