How to Install Exterior Motion Sensor Lights
Exterior motion sensor lights are a benefit for any homeowner. They provide security and peace of mind, as well as acting as a safety feature. When the automatic sensor picks up movement, the light is triggered, illuminating dark spaces to show potential dangers, like ice or other obstacles. These lights are a great investment for people coming and going at night, or even just to ease your worry when you hear a strange sound outside. You don't have to be an experienced handyman to install them yourself, either. With some basic tools and a bit of time, you can add some strategically placed motion sensor lights to your home.
Choose the Type of Light
- Flood lights are common for exterior use on garages, homes and other buildings. These lights provide ample illumination and are usually able to adjust to a desired position.
- Decorative motion sensor lights come in a wide variety of styles and finishes, so you can match them to your existing décor.
Prep for the New Light
- Turn off the power to the circuit at the fuse box. This is the single most important step you will take during this project, so don’t ignore it.
- Remove the old light if necessary, and ensure the junction box that contains the wiring is secured to the house.
- Use the voltage tester to make sure the power is still off.
Wire the Fixture
- Run motion sensor light wires through the cover plate gasket.
- Connect wires from the new light to the existing house wires, per manufacturer’s instructions.
- Use wire connectors to connect neutral, hot and ground wires. Neutral wires are white; hot wires are black; and ground wires are green or bare copper. Use the electrical tape as necessary for added security on the wire connectors.
Mount the Fixture
- Once wires are secure, attach the fixture to the junction box using a screwdriver and the screws provided.
- If necessary, apply clear silicone caulking around the top of the junction box. Don’t apply it around the bottom, so if water does get in, it can escape.
Position the Sensor
- Adjust the sensor to the desired field of view.
Set the Controls
- Locate the controls under the sensor box.
- Use the controls to preset the distance range for the sensor and timer and automatic shut-off for the light.
Test the New Light
- Turn the circuit back on at the fuse box to supply power to the new light.
- Test the new light by activating the sensor.
- Adjust the sensor or controls as necessary.