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Motion lights explained

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A light sensor turns the light on at dusk and off at dawn. A light sensor turns the light on at dusk and off at dawn.

By Joel Craig, NEWS 9 Contributor

Security and safety in and around your home may come down to a few well-placed motion lights.

You've probably heard about motion detectors - know as P.I.R.s or passive infrared detectors. They're often used in security systems to detect an intruder. The devices detect body heat. It senses motion by detecting a heat source in motion, such as someone's body moving.

Motion sensing night lights are available. The light only turns on when someone approaches. It helps light your way without having to have the light on all the time then turns off a short time later. They're pretty simple and great for a hallway or the bathroom.

If you're someone who bumps into things looking for the light switch consider a motion sensing light switch. Enter a room, bathroom or closet and the light automatically turns on. Then after a preset time with no more movement the light will turn off. No more tripping on a chair or forgetting to turn off the light.

Are you tired of coming home to a dark house or forgetting to turn off the porch light in the morning? Then consider a dusk to dawn light sensor.

These have a little sensor that is used to detect the presence of light. When it's light the lamp is off. When it gets dark it turns on the lamp.

There is one catch to the motion sensing and the dusk/dawn items - you have to use regular incandescent light bulbs or CFLs, compact florescent light, which is rated as dimmable. If you try to use a regular florescent light it will work - for awhile and then burn out fairly quickly. The motion sensor and the dusk/dawn sensor both allow a small amount of electricity to leak through to the bulb even when the bulb appears to be off. Regular florescent lights just don't like that.

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