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How To Install a Motion Sensor Light Switch - PartsXP

how to install a motion sensor light switch

A motion sensor switch will turn on the lights whenever a person walks into the room and turn off when leaving the room automatically. These switches are a great choice for rooms such as bathrooms, garages, closets, etc. It is a simple device that is easy to install and doesn't require an electrician. This guide will teach you how to install a motion sensor light switch and it's wiring.  

How to Install a Motion Sensor Light Switch?

As there are several motion sensor switches, you must choose the right model switch based on your needs. Check out a few models in motion sensor switches.

  • Single pole (single switch for single circuit) and multi-pole (multiple switches).
  • Switch (dimmer) power capacity in watts (add total lighting watts to be controlled by switch).
  • Dimmable for CFL/ LED.
  • Other features – WiFi controllable, etc.

All these switches have different rated power capacities. You can check this rating in watts on the product packaging. So, check and buy the suitably rated power capacity switch.

Keep the tools below ready while you start the motion sensor light switch installation.

Standard screwdriver. Philips screwdriver, voltage tester, wire stripper, wire connector and tape.

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Turn off the power to the switch box

You have to locate the circuit breaker which is supplying power to the lighting circuit that you are working on. Make sure to turn off the circuit before starting any work. Also, shut off the power circuit with connections in the electrical box that you will need to be working in.

Remove switch plate and test the wires

Now, you have to remove the switch plate from the light switch that you want to replace with the new motion sensor light switch. Usually, these switch covers are fixed with top and bottom small standard slot machine screws. Screws need to be removed to detach the switch plate.

However, some switch plates are screwless and connected with locking tabs between the below mounting and the top finish plate. To unlock the top finish plate, use a standard screwdriver to pry open the top plate by pushing locking tabs gently.

After removing the switch plate, you need to test wires using a tester. Make sure there is no power flowing to the wires you will be removing.

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Remove existing light switch

To remove the existing old switch, you have to do follow the below things:

First, loosen the mounting screws of existing switch. Once the mounting screws on the light screws are loose, you have to pull the light switch out of the electrical box and expose it’s connections.

Now, check the type of wire connections to the switch you wish to change out for a motion sensor light switch.

If the wires are connected to the screw terminals, remove them with a screwdriver by turning counter clockwise and loosening the screws.

If the wires on the back of the switch are directly mounted into small holes, consider that the wires are connected through a quick-connect mechanism. They require the depression of small tabs under the connection holes. To depress these tabs and release wires, you have to pull the wire out by placing a standard screwdriver in the release tab.

Remove the two wires from your old switch. These two wires, i.e., one black and one red or typically two black needed to be connected to the new motion sensor switch.

One wire is the line or hot wire that is connected to the electrical service and another one is the load wire that is connected to the light fixture. Simply, the switch alternates between connection or disconnection of the power supply line to the light fixture load.

In addition to these wires, you can find a green or plain copper ground wire. This wire might be connected to the switch ground terminal. If so, you need to disconnect it.

Three-way switches will have extra terminals so check the package or manual for more details.

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Give wire connections to the new motion sensor light switch

Connect the same wires that you removed from the old to new light motion sensor light switch.

While connecting, they should be straightening, re-stripping and looping. For quick connect terminals at the back of the switch, you will require a proper length straight and stripped end of the wire.

If the old switch didn't have a ground wire attached, then you can attach the new switch's ground wire to the ground wire within the circuit box.

Mount the new switch in the switch box

Pack and place the switch wires into the switch box and mount it back into the box. If you install more than one switch, you may need to remove the aluminum cooling wings at the side of switch.

Install switch plate cover and test the new switch

Once the switch has mounted within the wall box, you have to install the wall plate cover. By using screws, you need to complete the wall plate installation.

Now, turn the power back on. And, check whether it is working well or not.

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Final words on how to install motion sensor switch

Hope this guide helped you to know how to install a motion sensor light switch. However, depending on the specific model, the motion sensor light switch installation procedure may be changed a little bit. Hence, check the guidelines given in the packaging before you start the procedure.

About the Author

partsxp logo authorHaritha

Haritha is a Content Writer at PartsXP. She has a great understanding of today's marketing strategies that yield strong results and always happy to create valuable content & share her thoughts.

She was good at writing content for E-Commerce websites related to Electrical Parts, Appliance Parts, Food Service Parts, HVAC Parts, etc.

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