Safety and security are predominantly the two main reasons most homeowners decide to install outdoor motion lights onto their property. And the good news is that most forms of outdoor security lighting can be a DIY project – even those that include motion detectors.

At the risk of wasting your time by stating the obvious, I still think it bears stating what the main benefits of using motion sensors with outdoor security lights are:

(1) The security, safety and convenience of outdoor lights that switch on automatically when a person, animal or other object comes within the detection area of the sensor cannot be overstated.

Not only do motion sensor lights provide a welcoming feel of courtesy for approaching visitors, but they also act as a deterrent against possible intrusion and other unwanted mischief and/or mayhem. Most troublemakers aren’t fond of having their evil-doings exposed to any sort of light, so security lighting that incorporates motion sensors is a good first line of defense against such reprobates.

(2) Outdoor motion sensor lights are cost-effective.

Because this form of landscape lighting only activates when motion is detected and stays on for predetermined and fixed periods of time, it doesn’t cost that much to operate – relatively speaking.

So, if you are looking for an energy-efficient way to protect your home, you really can’t go wrong in the choice of installing outdoor motion lights along strategically placed spots on your property.

And there is wide variety of motion detector lights to choose from to get the job done. Outdoor flood lights that include motion detectors are most often installed above garage doors, front doors and miscellaneous others access points on the property.

I’m sure you get the idea.

Types of Outdoor Motion Lights

If you are completely new to the subject of motion sensor outdoor lighting, it’s a good idea to at least be aware of the 2 different types of sensors. I’ll explain them here as briefly and clearly as I possibly can:

(a) Active Sensors – are easiest understood as a detector that is always … well, active. So if you walk into a supermarket and hear a bell ring, this happened because you crossed an active beam – which caused the bell to ring.

(b) Passive Sensors – work just the opposite of active sensors, and are the type of motion sensors used in the outdoor motion lights found in the properties of residential homes. In the case of passive sensors, the light stays switched off until the sensor either sensors a temperature change or a path is broken – which will be determined by the type of passive sensor installed in the particular motion detector light.

However, most motion sensor lights used in outdoor landscaping lighting use infrared sensors.

How to Maintain Motion Sensor Lights

If you are sold on the efficacy of motion sensor lights for warding off troublemakers and as a means for being a hospitable host by lighting the way for approaching welcome visitors, then you’re going to want to make sure your outside lights are always in good working-order, right?

If you agree with the sentiment I just expressed, here a few tips that will help to make sure your motion detector lights are always ready-to-go:

(i) Keep the sensors clean – As stated just above, the vast majority of outdoor motion lights sense infrared energy. And the ability of these sensors to adequately get this job done is going to depend on how well they are maintained.

So if your sensors are covered in dirt, grime, leaves, snow or any other form of matter or debris, this is obviously going to have a negative impact on how well they work – which will in turn affect whether the lights actually switch on when and how they are supposed to.

So, really, all you need to do is make sure your sensors stay clean and free of debris. Just follow the manufacturer’s instructions and you should be fine.

(ii) Make sure your outdoor motion lights are watertight – Again, at the risk of stating of the obvious here, it’s not such a good idea to mix water with electricity.

And that’s putting things mildly!

But, with that said, outdoor lights invariably are going to be exposed to rain, sleet, snow, hail and every other type of moisture imaginable. You might think that these lights are designed to withstand these conditions.

And they are … but you should not think of them as indestructible.

With extended use, wear, tear, and such, the watertight parts of outdoor landscape lights can start to leak. So you need to periodically check your motion sensor lights to make sure they are in proper working order and to make sure that no parts are wearing out, or beginning to leak.

Any parts that show signs of wearing out or already are leaking need to be replaced as soon as possible. Here again, you will want to follow the manufacturer’s instructions for the particular brand of outdoor motion lights you purchased.

(iii) Maintain the photocell of solar outdoor motion sensor lights – Since solar landscape lighting is becoming increasingly more popular with each passing year, I’ll briefly mention the most important aspect of taking care of these outside motion detector lights.

You’ll need to keep a watchful eye on the working order of the solar light’s photocell – which switches the light on when the sun goes down and switches it off when the sun rises again.

If the photocell is not working properly, then your solar motion detectors lights are not going to work as designed. So keep any kind of debris off the photocell. This means keeping it free of leaves, snow, dirt or any other type of obstruction.

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