Motion sensors, often used with outdoor lighting, can provide improved safety, security and energy efficiency. They stay off until they detect motion, such as someone coming up a walkway to a front door, then turn on and light the area for the person or persons.
You can also purchase indoor motion sensor detectors to help with kids who don’t remember to turn off lights or in other areas where you want added safety and energy efficiency. Factoring in the purchase cost of motion sensor lights, installation expenses, replacement bulbs and energy use, you can decide if this option is a good idea for any outdoor or indoor areas you use frequently.
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Safety and Security Features
One of the main reasons people, businesses and other entities use motion sensor lighting is to improve the safety of people walking along dark pathways. This can include entrances to buildings, outdoor garden or park paths, business walkways, garages and other areas.
Another reason people install these lights is to deter thieves. Home invaders and other burglars prefer to work in the dark – when they are suddenly surprised by a light going on, they often panic and run. They not only might think a resident or employee is inside and has just turned on a light, but they also realize that others, such as neighbors, can see them. The best outdoor security lights are bright enough to help identify thieves caught on security cameras.
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Initial Purchase Costs
According to CostHelper.com, the price for motion sensor lights can start as low as $15 and increase to $200 for more decorative options. Fixr.com shows similar costs and cites a national average cost of $370 to purchase and install these systems.
You can have them installed by a security company or handyman, or you can order them from Amazon or pick them up at Home Depot or Lowe’s and install them yourself.
The cost to install the lights can range from $30 to $200, depending on whether you do it yourself or hire a handyman to do it for you. You can save energy using low-cost solar-powered motion detector lights, choosing your lighting areas and angles and setting the hours you want the lights to work, depending on the system you purchase.
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Yes, They Reduce Energy Bills
Motion sensors can reduce your energy use for lighting specific areas by up to 70 percent, according to TheHomeHacksDIY.com, if you would otherwise need to keep that same area lit. While they’re on standby (not lighting the area), motion sensors use about 1 watt of power per hour, according to the site, and 5 watts while in use. Your savings will depend on what type of bulbs you use (such as the wattage and whether or not they are energy efficient) and the amount of traffic the area gets.
Motion sensors are especially handy in helping you to avoid forgetting to turn off the lights, such as after a party or when coming home with arms full of groceries.
Steve Milano has written more than 1,000 pieces of personal finance and frugal living articles for dozens of websites, including Motley Fool, Zacks, Bankrate, Quickbooks, SmartyCents, Knew Money, Don't Waste Your Money and Credit Card Ideas, as well as his own websites.