What’s the Commotion About Motion Sensors?

Motion Sensor Security
“Get Smart” 2008, The Laser Hallway, Courtesy of Eden FX and AWN.com

You know the story. There’s a jewel robbery happening. After intense planning, the thief infiltrates the museum, probably through an air conditioning vent. When he drops down into the main room he’s still got to navigate the motion sensing security system, slinking under, over, and between beams of light. Perhaps he makes it through, and puts the biggest diamond you’ve ever seen in a shabby sack, ready to make the getaway. Suddenly, he slips, or drops the bag, and activates the sensor by a thread. Foiled! The bad guys get caught and the museum keeps their precious jewel.

While you may not have any multi-million dollar rocks in need of serious protection, motion sensor lights can help you in a ton of different ways. They’re convenient, safe, and will save energy.

Unlike the classic museum sensors that use light to detect motion, most motion sensor lights use PIR (passive infrared) or pyroelectric sensors. These systems detect rapid changes in infrared energy, and thus can turn on the lights when people, animals, or cars approach.

While having every light you own set on a motion sensor might not be a good idea (I foresee superfluous arm waving), select motion-controlled lights can be an invaluable addition to your home or office. Here are a few ways to use them:

  1. Motion detecting step lightOutdoor Lights: If you find yourself stumbling up the front steps with grocery bags after dark, installing a motion sensor spotlight or a few step lights could make the difference between getting inside safely and taking a dangerous spill. Putting flood lights on a sensor will also make navigating your yard and driveway more secure, helping you see and deterring any intruders.
  2. Night Lights: Opting for a motion detector night light will help you save energy – only turning the light on when you need it. If you wake up in the night for a snack or a trip to the bathroom, these lights are also one of the gentlest ways to help yourself see – you don’t get blasted with the full lumens of your overhead light source, and you don’t even have to think about flipping a switch.
  3. motion sensing task lightKitchen Lights: Having your kitchen task lighting (i.e. under cabinet lights) on a motion sensor can be incredibly helpful when your hands are dirty, because you won’t have to stop your work to see what you’re doing. Since you use task lights while moving around, performing tasks, you won’t have to worry about them turning off while you work. Also, installing a small battery operated motion detector within a hard to reach, hard to see cabinet or shelf can be a huge convenience.
  4. Thoroughfare Lights: Using motion detecting lights in high traffic areas around the house or office is one of the best ways to save energy. Because so many people travel through hallways, in and out of communal closets, or around in stock rooms and break rooms, they forget, or just don’t bother to turn off the lights. Motion sensors easily solve this problem – turning off the lights when no one is there, and turning them on when people move back into the space.

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Annie Josey

Annie was the E-Commerce Marketing Specialist at Pegasus Lighting from June 2012 to October 2013. She has a background in English literature, and loves using language to help illuminate the world. So covering lighting news and tips naturally fit her interests. In her personal time she enjoys painting, biking, and reading.

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