Lights Out

by lise on October 26, 2007

Ever find yourself frustrated with your energy conservation attempts being thwarted because someone forgot to turn the lights out?  You either find yourself flicking off lights others left on, or you yourself forget to turn off the basement or laundry room lights.

Here’s an easy, foolproof – and cool – solution:  install an interior motion sensing light switch.  Motion sensor switches turn the lights on automatically when you enter a room and turn off again when you leave.  Different types of sensors are available depending on your needs.

The simplest type of motion sensing light switch is one that screws right into the light socket.  You can install this yourself.  All you do is screw the motion sensing switch into the light fixture you want to control, and then screw in the light bulb.  Voila, now you have a light that comes on automatically when you enter and goes off again when you leave.  These switches are inexpensvie to buy and easy to experiment with.  The downside is that you cannot set the duration which is only a few minutes long.  You’ll find yourself in the dark if you aren’t moving around within the sensor’s range.

A more sophisticated type of motion sensing light switch actually replaces the regular wall switch.  These types of switches are generally commercial grade and adjust for sensitivity and duration.  Because these switches require wiring work and may require relocating an existing light switch, you will need to hire a licensed electrician to do the installation.  The upside is you have better control over the way the switch works.  Typically these switches have an on/off setting plus automatic off duration in 10-minute intervals so you can program them for ten, twenty, or thirty minutes.

If you use regular compact fluorescent light bulbs and decide to install a motion sensing light switch, then you’ll need to change to a dimmer compatible type of compact fluorescent.  Otherwise, the sensing switch which has a very small current draw will cause the conventional compact fluorescent bulb to flicker.

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