Troubleshooting Common Problems with Your Security Lights

Security lights can be an excellent way of protecting your home from potential intruders. However, they’re excellent as long as they're working but when they develop problems they’re obviously not so appealing. You need to be able to troubleshoot problems with security lights, especially as some of them can be fixed without calling in an electrician.

Lights Stay On

Motion sensor security lights are meant to come on only when they detect motion, but sometimes they can remain on all the time. The general reason for this is usually a spike in current, although you may have to deal with a recurring problem if that’s not the case.

The best course of action is to see first if something has changed. It could be that something is constantly moving in front of the sensor on the security lights. If not, try turning the lights off at the breaker for around 20 seconds. Confirm visually that the security lights have gone off and then turn the breaker back on. The light will reappear but should go off after a few minutes.

Flickering Lights

If the light from your security lights is flickering, the course of action depends on whether the problem lies with single or multiple bulbs. If a single bulb is flickering, you will need to climb up and check that the bulb is securely fitted in the fixture.

If it is, try replacing the bulb because flickering lights can be a prelude to the bulb burning out completely. In most instances, this will eliminate the problem. If it doesn't, you may need to have the wiring inspected and this should be done by a qualified electrician.

Lights Don’t Come On

If the security lights won’t come on at night, the problem could be that an artificial light is tricking the sensor into believing it’s still daylight. Try covering part of the sensor with black electrical tape or reposition the security lights to a position where the other lights won’t interfere.


If your motion sensor security lights keep coming on for every passing thing, you need to adjust the sensitivity or slightly change the direction of the sensor to eliminate the problem. Also, check that the light has a proper view of the area it’s covering.

No Power

If your security lights simply won’t work, it might be because they’re not receiving power. Remove one of the bulbs and test the connection in the fixture with a multitester. If all is fine, replace the bulb.

To test further, switch off the circuit breaker for the security lights. Open up the light box and you should find a power line that connects to the sockets. Remove the wire nut that holds it in place. Connect one end of your multitester to the wire and the other to the ground wire. Where there is a GFCI on the circuit, connect the second lead to the white wires. If there is power to the device, replace the light. Where there is no power, you should bring in a qualified electrician to check the house wiring.