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Motion Sensor Lights: Are They Worth It?

Outdoor lighting is a necessity. Whether protecting your home from unwanted visitors or providing light so you do not have to fumble through your keys to unlock the door, visibility in the evening is beneficial for many situations. The problem, however, resides in high electricity bills and loads of wasted energy. Porch, garage, and other outdoor lights left on for an entire night quickly accumulate money and energy costs. You can avoid the strain on your pocket and the environment with motion sensor lights. But do motion sensor lights work? Are they worth it? If so, what should you look for when buying one?


How Do Motion Sensor Lights Work?

Motion sensor lights activate only when a motion is detected. They illuminate the space they are in for a timed duration and automatically shut off afterward. These lights also utilize infrared heat waves to detect motion. This means that warmer objects like cars, animals, and humans are easily detected and trigger your light to illuminate. Though triggered by movement, motion sensor lights are not affected by wind. It is, however, triggered by an object that the wind may blow past the sensor, causing your lights to illuminate during windy or stormy weather.


Are Motion Sensor Lights Worth It?

Motion sensor lights have the potential to conserve energy and save you from high electrical bills. Since the light is not generating power for the duration of the entire night, but only when necessary, it does not constantly draw on your electrical system. In contrast, traditional porch and garage lights lack motion detection and require manual activation and deactivation. Unless turned off at some point, your lights will guzzle energy and spike your electricity bill all night long.

Traditional outdoor lighting, of course, presents a problem of visibility and security. If turned off at any point during the night, it must be manually turned back on to warn off potential threats to your home or provide visibility for late-night outings. Motion sensors, by contrast, allow you to leave your lights on all night long without worry.


Why You Should Invest in Motion Sensor Lights

Are you preparing for a late evening? Turn your lights on before you leave. Now you can come back to a well-lit driveway and skip the struggle of unlocking the door.

Are you concerned about intruders entering your home while away? Use motion sensor lights to provide the illusion that you are home and scare them off. In fact, for better protection, many security systems also offer motion sensor cameras. Pair it with a motion sensor light, and your vacation getaways are now more relaxing and less worrisome.


Something to Consider…

One challenge that motion sensor lights present is their constant use, even throughout the daytime. While many would assume they only work at night, motion sensor lights stay active during the day (as long as they are on). What does this mean? If your light is on, it will automatically illuminate at any motion detection, even in broad daylight.

Such unnecessary illumination during daylight is counterproductive to efforts to save money and conserve energy. It is best to turn your motion lights off in the daytime or invest in dusk to dawn and timed lights.

Motion sensor lights are always better than traditional lights that burn through your energy and wallet. Knowing your family habits and what your family needs will be the best indicator of what motion sensor light features will benefit you most.


What to Look for in a Motion Sensor Light?

Shopping around for motion sensor lights should not be a hassle. When picking the best one for your dwelling, consider the following when deciding on the right light for you.


  • Brightness-
    • When deciding on which motion sensor light you want to get, keep in mind how bright you need it to be. You can get motion lights that range anywhere from 200 lumens (lm) to 2,000 lm. Dimmer lights lean more towards 200 lm, about the brightness of a flashlight, while motion sensors that provide more visibility are closer to 2,000 lm (enough light to illuminate a smaller room in your house.)
    • Your reason for use will determine the level of brightness that you will need from your motion sensor. The setup outside of your home will also determine the brightness you require. For houses with steps and many objects, we suggest brighter motion lights. It will help prevent trips and falls. Dimmer lights would be better in simple settings; if your entryway is made only for entrance purposes (i.e., there isn’t space to lounge), you can probably get a motion light with less brightness.
  • Detection Range
    • Detection range is the range of areas that your motion sensor light can pick up movement to illuminate. The package will indicate the range your light will cover. Motion sensor lights can detect anywhere from 20 to 100 feet away.
    • Another critical factor to consider is the angle of detection. The angle of detection indicates, in degrees, the span of the detection range. If you are looking for a motion sensor light with more coverage, try one with multiple spotlights that can be adjusted.
  • Durability
    • Look out for weather resistance and durability for each motion sensor, depending upon your needs.
    • One thing to look for is the IP rating or ingress protection. This number tells you how well a motion sensor will perform under dusty and rainy conditions. You will typically find the letters “IP” followed by two numbers on the package. The first number ranges from 1 to 6 and indicates how dust-proof a motion sensor is (six is the highest). The second number ranges from 1 to 8 and shows how waterproof the motion sensor is, with eight being the highest. Most outdoor motion sensors come with an IP rating of IP65 or IP67.
  • Adjustability
    • Some motion sensors are more adjustable than others and can offer greater convenience to you. Have more control over a motion light’s detection sensitivity, illumination range, light duration, and auto reset as additional features. Adjustable characteristics make motion sensor lights more practical for all situations.


Motion Sensor Lights Make Life More Convenient (and Visible)

Motion sensors far outweigh traditional outdoor lighting as they save energy and money. Safely enter your home without fear of tripping or running into something, and provide better protection for your house from intruders with motion sensor lights. Adjustable features make it easier to alter your motion sensor light for your specific requirements, whether it be less detection sensitivity or a wider illumination range. If you are interested in investing in one, check out this article by Spruce for the best motion sensor lights of 2022.


Call Your Local Electrical Expert

If you need help installing or wiring your motion sensor light or are concerned about the electrical wiring in your home, give us a call. Signs such as flickering or dimming lights can indicate a much larger problem. As your local electricial expert will resolve your electrical issues before they become a threat.

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