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How to Install Motion-Activated Security Lights


Due to their usefulness, many homeowners are choosing to use motion-activated security lights as first line of defense against potential intruders. Since many burglars prefer to remain hidden, having motion-activated lights can be very effective in protecting your home. Here is a general guide of the proper steps to take in order to install motion-activated security lights.

Turn Off the Power
Before doing anything with the outdoor electrical circuits in your home, it’s highly recommended that you first shut off the power to your outdoor electrical circuit (via the breaker). Try to do this at a time when other members of your family aren’t at home, or give them advance warning before you cut the power.

Clear the Fixture
If you are installing a bulb with a pre-wired motion detector already installed, you first need to remove any existing bulbs from your outdoor fixture. For example, if you are installing motion-activated lights on your front porch, be sure to remove the standard bulbs, and ensure that the fixture is clear and clean of any debris or buildup.

Safety Precaution
Before unscrewing the screws that hold the existing light fixture, it’s highly recommended that you use a voltage tester to ensure that the power is off (even if you turned it off at the circuit box). This can help avoid you from becoming electrocuted.

Remove the Old Fixture
Using a screwdriver, remove the old fixture. Unscrew the existing wire nuts that you see inside the fixture, and separate the wires. In most cases, there will be two distinctly visible wires: a white wire, and a black wire.

Follow the Instructions
Due to the different construction of many different motion-activated security lights, at this point, you will need to refer to the specific instructions that came packaged with your light. In some cases, your motion-activated security light will require you to install a mounting bracket, or a waterproof gasket. If the installation of your light requires any special tools, be sure that you have them ready before you unscrew the existing light fixture. Since you will need to be holding the fixture to avoid having it fall away from the wall, it’s important to have everything you need close at hand before beginning the installation.

Stripping the Wires
In order to connect your new motion-activated light, you will need to strip the existing wires so that they can be connected to your new fixture. Use wire strippers to cut about 1/2 inch of the insulation away, leaving a portion of the wire exposed.

Connecting the Wires
Your motion-activated light fixture should also have a white and a black wire. If these wires aren’t able to be connected, you may need to first strip them as well. Connect the black wire in your new fixture with the existing black wire, and do the same for the white wire. Secure the connected wires with electrical tape, as well as a wire nut.

Connect the New Fixture
Push the newly connected wires back into the box, and then screw your new fixture into the wall.