Over the last few weeks I have continually been amazed at how many people leave their porch lights on all night. It’s not clear to me if it is an effort to show that someone is home and to scare off burglars or if our neighbors are trying to leave the lights on for the feral cats. Either way, it’s a huge waste of energy and a place where homeowners can cut down – even a few bucks a year – on their power bills.
Motion detectors when attached to lights offer a great way to reduce your home’s energy use by ensuring that the lights are only turned on when they are needed. It is by no means a new technology, but it is definitely a technology that should be used more.
A variety of motion detector lights are widely available at your local box hardware store, and likely your locally owned hardware store too. While they sell outdoor porch lights which have motion detector features already included, my home did not come with them. As one of our first projects on the home, we went to the hardware store to find an attachment which would make our lights motion sensitive. What we found required a simple installation which involved changing out our light switch and hanging a battery operated sensor on the outside of the house. The installation took less than a half hour and it works beautifully. Our porch light only goes on when you drive up our driveway or when you leave through our front door. Of course if you are in the market for a new fixture, it’s much easier just to get one that comes already hooked up for motion sensitivity.
Outdoor lights aren’t the only ones you should think about adding motion detection to. If you have a closet light that frequently gets left on, motion detection lights can really help. When the door opens the light goes on and stays on for a set number of minutes unless the sensor is presented with more motion. These sensors are available in as simple a product as a light socket which gets screwed into the existing socket or more complicated versions which require the installation of wall switches. Either way, these are essentially do-it-yourself projects which you can easily do to help reduce your overall power consumption.