Save Energy by Installing Occupancy Sensors for Lighting

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Are you getting sick and tired of watching your children walk into a room, turn on a light switch, and then leave without turning the switch off? If you are, you are in good company because many parents, including myself, feel exactly the same way.

There’s nothing more frustrating than when you are trying to conserve energy but those in your family don’t seem to share your same passion. Whether this is simply about helping to make our planet a better place or saving money on your monthly utility bill, turning off lights when they’re not in a room can definitely accomplish both of these goals.

How Do Occupancy Sensors Work?

An occupancy sensor is simply a device that you install in place of a regular light switch. These devices have a tiny motion sensor built into them that will automatically turn the light on when you walk into a room or the motion sensor can also be used to determine whether or not people have left the room. They have different settings on them that allow you to control exactly how long a light will stay on after someone leaves the room. You can set them so that if the sensor doesn’t recognize any movement in the room for a specific length of time, they will automatically turn the light off for you.

You can also set them so that the motion sensor will not be activated during the daylight hours. It would be counterproductive to have the light turned on every time you walk into a room that is already lit because the sunlight is shining through your windows.

How Much Energy Do Occupancy Sensors Save?

This really depends on how often the people in your home are actually leaving the lights on when they leave a room. I know that in my house, I’m constantly having to remind people to turn lights off when they leave different rooms. If you have people in your home who are doing the same, you can install occupancy sensors in place of standard light switches and every time they leave the room the sensors will automatically turn the light off after the timer has elapsed.

It’s difficult to say exactly how much these devices can save you but let’s do a little math for a minute and talk about what one might save in terms of the percentage of time that a light is left on. Let’s assume that you install one of these devices in your bathroom. In our home, this seems to be the room that the kids usually forget to turn the light off for.

Let’s imagine that someone walks into the bathroom and turns a light on and they’re only in there for about 9 minutes. Now let’s imagine that they leave and forget to turn the light off and that no one walks into that bathroom again for another 5 hours. There are 60 minutes in and hour so five multiplied by 60 equals 300 minutes. This means that the light only needed to be on for 9 minutes while the person was in the bathroom but it was actually on for 300 minutes.

If an occupancy sensor was installed in that bathroom, the light would turn off shortly after the person left meaning that you would save 97% of the cost to light that room for the 5 hours that the light was actually left on. Nine minutes is only 3% of 300 minutes so in this example, installing one of these devices could save as much as 97% because instead of paying to light the room for 300 minutes, you would only be paying to light it for nine minutes

How to Install Occupancy Sensor

Here’s a short video that will show you how to install a motion activated sensor. This doesn’t seem to be a difficult job but there is a risk of electrical shock if you don’t know what you’re doing. If you do it wrong, there is also a risk of a fire starting in your home. If you aren’t qualified to do this job, be sure and hire someone who is!

Living A Green Lifestyle Starts With Energy Conservation

We have learned that one of the most important things when it comes to living off the grid is to conserve as much energy as we possibly can. It’s much more cost effective to conserve electricity and use less of it than it is to generate electricity when you need more.

This is simply one idea of many that I will be sharing with the readers of If you are interested in reading another article that will help you save energy you should consider reading my article on changing furnace filters to save energy.

Be sure and check back often for many other great articles on how you can conserve energy in your home! Hope to see you soon!

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