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Exterior motion detecting lights do not cost a great deal more than other types of outside lighting. Of course, they're sometimes activated by leaves blown about by the wind, but I particularly like them for the back of the house as well as the alley. Battery operated smaller versions are available for interior windows and don't require mounting or electronic know-how: simply put them on the window ledge.
Anyone peering in hoping for a closer look at your possessions or wanting to break in will be under a spotlight and, if you're awake, the light going on will alert you to a potential intruder. Depending on your level of concern, consider investing in noise-making motion detectors (which can cost as little as $10 each) for your ground floor and/or basement windows. Make a note to check or replace the batteries on a regular basis.
A good way to save on electric bills, especially when you have someone in the home who forgets to turn out the lights, is to install motion detector switches. These are great. They turn themselves on when you enter the room and off when you exit.
By carla from Huntington, WV
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I have a dark interior entry hall. Is there a reliable motion sensor apparatus or gizmo which will turn on/off my hallway light when I go to answer my door bell?
Yes, there is. There are 2 types. One, comes on when it is dark, and goes off when it is light. The other, is detected by motion. Motion turns it on, and after a preset amount of time, it shuts back off.
You can get them either as a light fixture OR you can buy a small round thing that screws into the where the bulb goes, then the bulb screws into it, so that you don't have to replace the fixture.
You can get these at Lowe's or Home Depot type stores.
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You can eliminate lights being left on accidentally by replacing many of the light switches with cheap motion detector light switches. They fit into the old box and are simply a switch with a small motion detector built in. You can use them as a manual switch or automatic. You can set how long the light stays on. A motion detector switch by the coffee maker turning on a low wattage under-the-cupboard light can eliminate having to turn on the big kitchen lights when you just want to refill your coffee.
If you upgrade your switches one per month, they often pay for themselves in that month, and are net savings after that.
By Dear Webby
I found some (albeit only one brand) at Lowes. They should be appearing on the market even more since California has now included them in their "2005 California Title 24 Energy Efficiency Standards for Residential buildings". Try your local home building store. (01/25/2006)
What is the wattage of these switches when they are just waiting for motion? Is that significant during the month? (10/05/2007)
The thought of this idea mad me laugh. I have 3 dogs and 12 cats, my house would look like a x-mas tree with twinkling lights. But it would make burglars think we were still home. (10/06/2007)
The light switch worked amazing on my house. it saved me lots of electricity! (10/29/2007)