How To Pick A Motion Sensor

Motion sensors aren’t new technology, but new improvements offer home owners more options than ever before. Increased efficiency and energy savings are great, but now you can connect a motion sensor to a security system or camera and even have notifications sent to your smartphone.

Motion sensors are great if you can’t remember to turn an outdoor light on or off, or for added security around your home, garage, or a dark corner of the yard. Many times you only need to swap out the fixture so the change-over is painless.

Motion sensors can now detect movement close up or far away depending on your needs. The more distance you need the higher the price will be. If you’re installing the motion sensor on a walkway between houses or buildings, the range doesn’t need to be great. Being able to adjust the distance and range setting can be helpful if you only want the light to come on when there’s a car in your driveway and not with every passing vehicle on the road. Some models will detect motion up to 70feet away. For best security, the higher end models with longer ranges are preferred.

New technology has increased the range of motion sensors can detect. If you’re mounting a light on the side of your home or garage, 180 degree semi-circle may be adequate, but models are now available to detect up to 240 or 360 degrees. The intent is to eliminate dead spots in the motion sensor’s range. Ideally, motion sensors are installed 6 – 10feet high in order to get the range of degrees required so be sure to take that into account.

Adding Layers Of Security
To increase the efficiency and energy savings, consider installing a photocell with the motion sensor so the light only senses movement after dark, or adjusts the brightness of the light depending on the hour. The light needed for safety at dusk or near dawn is not the same as at midnight.

Most outdoor motion sensors come equipped with one of two kinds of sensors. Active sensors use sound waves to detect motion, so anything that crosses the field of “vision” will be trip the light including human and furry intruders. Passive sensors detect heat so are less likely to detect raccoons or skunks but will pick up any humans that cross its field of vision. Depending on what the light is intended to do, the more sensitive sensor might not be necessary unless you’re looking to cut back on nuisance trips in the middle of the night. Combining these two types of sensors depending on placement might be a valuable strategy.

The greater range of motion needed, the greater the distance needed, is where the high-end models really shine through and offer a variety of settings and guarantees that make the extra money worth your peace of mind.

If you’re looking to have some or all of the lights around your home fitted with motions sensors and/or photocells, we would love to help you create a plan that best suits the unique needs of your home or business.

We’d love the opportunity to answer your outdoor lighting questions or help you design a truly spectacular lighting plan. Contact our experts to learn more about our lighting services or view our gallery of one-of-a-kind designs.

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