Occupancy Sensing Light Switch – So Worth It!

It isn’t easy to impress my 14-year old son so when I do it always brightens my day. This happened a few weeks ago, several days after my husband installed an occupancy sensing light switch in our laundry room. My son was in the laundry room, taking his turn at cleaning the litter box, when he called to me as I walked by.

“Mom!” he said. “Did you know this light comes on by itself when you walk in here?”

“Why, yes I do,” I said.

“I like that!” he declared.

We won this little gadget while attending a green homes tour back in the spring of 2010. We just recently got around to installing it. It took my husband approximately 2 hours to install the switch, a process that was prolonged because he had trouble finding and fishing out a 4th wire that was needed to complete the connection. Other than that, it was a really easy installation.

We debated about where to install the switch, finally settling on the laundry room because it is a small room and there would be no obstructions between the sensor and whoever may be in the room. Even the cats trigger the light when they enter to do their business.

The laundry room turned out to be a good choice for a few reasons. Consider the fact that one’s hands are frequently full upon entering or exiting a laundry room, making it awkward to turn a light switch on or off. One is tempted to leave such lights on, especially on laundry day, but that is hardly an efficient lighting solution.

A Matter of Convenience
I have no idea how much electricity this sensor actually saves – but I will say that it has been a welcomed convenience in our home. It occurred to me that automatic lighting would be great in a few other key spots as well:

Attic or Eave Storage. Again, your hands are almost always full when entering or exiting these spaces, so an occupancy sensing light switch would be nice to have. Plus, you never have to worry about a light staying on indefinitely in rooms you may only enter once or twice a month – if that much.

Entry Vestibules. We have a small hallway between the garage entry and the primary spaces in our home. If it’s dark outside, this space is also dark, and struggling to find the light switch with an armful of groceries is a pain; to some degree it is even a safety issue. I’d really like to have one here.

Kids’ Rooms (Maybe). I like to think that my kids will eventually learn to turn the lights off when they leave a room but unfortunately that glorious day hasn’t arrived. I haven’t given up on nagging (yet), as I don’t want technology and convenience to take precedence over learning responsibility. Still, it is frustrating to go upstairs hours after the kids have left for school and find all the bedroom lights burning.

These sensors range in price from about $30.00 to $75.00, depending on the extra features (i.e. dimming capability, etc.) you have. They are available for all types of light bulbs, including incandescent, CFLs, and LEDs. For certain spaces in the home, I believe the price is worth the convenience alone. This is one of those rare instances where an added convenience actually saves energy.

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