Replace A Traditional Light Switch With A Motion Sensing Switch

6 June 2018
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Are you tired of everyone in your house leaving the lights on in every room, every day? Having to deal with this day in and day out can lead to frustrations and arguments–not to mention the higher electricity bills that you'll continue paying. Instead of fighting a battle that may never be won, you can change out those traditional light switches with motion sensing switches.

Motion sensing switches are being used quite frequently in commercial settings. These switches can sense when someone enters a room, turns the light on and if nobody has moved in 15 minutes or so, the lights will turn back off. Here, you'll learn the basics of these electrical switches' installation.

Shut off the Power

The first thing to do is to shut off the power to the room in which you're changing the light switch. If there is any chance that someone will restore power without you knowing it, hang a sign on the breaker panel making them aware that you're working on electrical fixtures and not to restore the power.

Remove the Existing Switch

Remove the screws that hold the light switch in place. Now, use a voltage tester to make sure that the power is truly disconnected. If the power is still flowing, go back to the breaker panel and try flipping another breaker. Continue working until you find the right breaker – label it for future projects.

Take a picture of the switch wiring before you begin disconnecting any wires. This will serve as a reference when you go to connect the wires on the new switch.

Disconnect the wires and remove the old switch.

Wire the Motion Sensor Switch

The electrical wiring should have about an inch of bare wire. If it doesn't, use a pair of wire strippers to strip the outer sheathing from the wires. Use a wire connector to connect the ground wires and tuck them back into the housing box.

Connect the two black wires with a wire connector. Now, the white wire needs to be connected to the red wire on the sensor switch. Cap the yellow and green wires and tuck them into the housing box. Finish tucking all of the wires neatly into the housing box.

Position the new switch in place and install the faceplate and finishing screws. Restore the power to the room and give the switch a test.

If you don't feel comfortable completing this project on your own, contact your local electrician for assistance.