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Motion-sensor light switches


donnap99's Avatar
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07-06-06, 11:25 AM   #1  
Motion-sensor light switches

In an effort to save some energy costs from lights being on at my house constantly (mother-in-law with Alzheimer's), I'm thinking about installing motion-sensor light switches in virtually all rooms.

I've also noticed a model where you seect a time to keep the light on (5, 10, 15 minutes), which I think would be great for the bathrooms.

Any thoughts on these? Best brands? Ones to avoid? Anything a novice homeowner needs to know before switching out the switches? (About all I know is to turn off the main electricity)

 
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07-07-06, 04:37 AM   #2  
It is a good energy saving idea. Lutron, Leviton, Cooper Lighting, all make good switches. You can google motion switches and probably get a gaggle of suppliers. Consider the ones with a manual override switch, as you will grow really tired of the lights going off after you sit down to eat and don't move much for a period of time. Good idea on the bathroom with a delay. The 737 catering kitchen for United Airlines in Chicago had an ultra modern design incorporating motion switches. I always wondered why people took rolled up newspaper in the bathroom with them. Once in the stall and still, the lights would go off, with no windows, they had to move the rolled up paper over the top of the stall to make the lights come on.
Make sure you replace switch wiring one at a time. Buy 3 way ones where applicable, and singles where they are needed. You will be surprised how many posts we get after someone has ripped out a switch or receptacle or fixture with no reference as to where the wires go back. Be careful, and good luck with the lighting.

 
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07-07-06, 10:25 PM   #3  
In trying to achieve the same 'save energy' goal with my inside garage lite, I started this thread:

http://forum.doityourself.com/showthread.php?t=267776

I ended up with a Cooper 6109 and I'm glad if only for the manual override. It's a push button type (2 LEDs show state - 'auto' or 'on') that is much easier for me to use than the slide switch of the GE model I had first.

The 180 degree coverage 'prevents' me from opening the interior door anymore than 2" before the lite comes on.

2 controls allow for 'time before turn off' and how much ambient lite to work in.

Using room to room I would think 'line of sight' would be something else to consider if you don't want other rooms turning on accidently.

Another thought about saving energy is bathroom vent fans. I just picked up some electronic count-down switches that stage 10,20,30,60 minute intervals or 'hold'/constant by a push button. I have a bad habit of forgetting the fan after a shower, etc. One's for the laundry room fan as well. Those will help me in the long run as sometimes I'll leave or go to bed and forget the fan.

With those timer switches that I bought (Intermatic) one needs to determine which wire is the load and which is the line/hot.

 
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07-09-06, 07:27 PM   #4  
Motion-sensor light switches

I love my motion detector switch.

I got it to stop my wife from yelling when I left the bathroom light on. Going from a bathroom to a well lit room with many windows makes it easy to not realize the light was on.

It works great and no complaints!

It is an energy saver, but I calculated that I will never save enough to pay for it considering the use (even though I bought a relatively cheap model).

Dick

 
Woodbutcher's Avatar
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07-18-06, 02:59 PM   #5  
Hi, If that switch stopped your wife from yelling at you,
it's priceless!

Woodbutcher

 
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07-18-06, 05:37 PM   #6  
I tried one in my bathroom.

Worthless!

Even at the longest delay of 15 minutes, it wasn't enough to keep the light from turning off during a shower and because of the layout, it wouldn't turn on until you were 1/3 of the way into the room.

I found myself either turning the light on manually so i could take a shower, or going back before the 15 minutes was up to turn it off manually.

I tried it on the vent fan too, same problem, and it didn't really like controlling the motor (though it did, it just started slowly).
A better option for these is as mentioned, the twist timers typically used on saunas.

A good place for one though is the kitchen, as you are almost always moving when in there, and the laundry room with a very short delay.

Study where your light switches are now, and think about if the motion sensors 'field of view' will be able to 'see' you from there.

 
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07-18-06, 05:54 PM   #7  
Posted By: donnap99 In an effort to save some energy costs from lights being on at my house constantly (mother-in-law with Alzheimer's), I'm thinking about installing motion-sensor light switches in virtually all rooms.
)
Now this may sound like a joke but I am serious.

Be sure your MIL does not get frightened by the light turning off by themselves or it may confuse her if she remembers the light was on and now it is off and she can't remember turning it off. In some situations I can imagine a person such as your MIL thinking there is somebody else in the house.

Just a word of caution.

 
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07-18-06, 06:00 PM   #8  
Posted By: nap I can imagine a person such as your MIL thinking there is somebody else in the house.
That is a really good point. Thanks for pointing that out!

 
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07-18-06, 06:06 PM   #9  
Motion-sensor light switches

You can get the switches with a 3 position switch - on, auto and off.

In the auto mode, you can set the sensitivity and the duration.

Even HD has them.

Dick

 
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