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How Do Motion Sensors Work?

Motion Sensing Lights for your Maryland, DC, or Northern VA home

We Have Motion

The pizza delivery guy's here! But he can't see where he's going so now he's stepping on the plants. You can avoid this scenario and others like it. Instead of having people accidentally crush grass and flowers, you can install motion sensors for your outdoor lights.

When people walk by, the sensor trips, lights flash on, and the area becomes lit by a certain type of light, namely floodlights. No more having crushed plants or blind guests. You can protect more than plants and guests by installing motion sensors.

motion sensor for outdoor lights

Gotcha! Motion sensors are often used to scare trespassers away from your home. Having a light suddenly shining down on you can be startling. It's like being in an interrogation room and the detective suddenly shines the lamp in your face and yells for you to confess! Well, that's what it's like in movies.

Sudden light can lessen the odds of suspicious activity. Motion sensor lights are effective at this plus they can add value to your home. But how exactly do they work?

Homeowners install outdoor lighting for many reasons >>

How Motion Sensors Work

They generally work like snakes: by using infrared. In other words, motion detectors use the heat coming from people's bodies (about 93 degrees Fahrenheit) to "sense" them. This infrared energy has a wavelength, and the one for humans is 9-10 micrometers. Motion sensors are often set to 8-12 micrometers to make room for error. When an object inside of that range moves, the motion sensor goes off and the lights come on! Motion sensors can detect movement within about a 15' radius. But not everything in this radius can set it off.

There must be a combination of heat and rapid movement. Not Hussein Bolt speed, but a slow walk can also trigger the motion sensor. The sensor is looking for a quick change in the amount of infrared energy it sees. A person walking by can cause a spike in the infrared energy and then BAM the lights are on. Setting sensors for rapid change are better than for gradual movement because it could go off if a surface cools to the right temperature. Nobody wants the temperature of their driveway to turn the lights on. If that was the case it would be less hassle to wire exterior lights to a plug that are controlled by a transformer. This would make the lights turn on only during certain times or parts of the day.

Floodlights with motion sensors attached to light up back door/porch area

If you only want to brighten your home so it looks nice, then there are better options than motion sensors. Motion sensors are mainly to increase home security. They are also good for areas that only need to be brightened for a few moments, making them great for driveways, garages, and front doors. Will you make moves towards getting motion sensors?

Make Some Moves

You can bust a move! Or not. Motion sensors aren't for every house. You may end up installing other lights like pathway lights instead. Motion sensors or not, outdoor lights can add value to your property while making your home safe and stunning.

You can check out other forms of exterior lighting for your home >>

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