Hello from kachunq again. It has been a little busy lately and I have been trying to get this article done for awhile. I hope it’s helpful and the information could save your family money. This article will cover the installation of an occupancy switch for your home. The way these switches work is they have a motion type sensor and when you walk into the room they automatically turn on. The cool part is you can push a button on most of them to turn them off or they will automatically go off after 10 to 15 minutes depending on the switch. This is very useful in a house with children or people with disabilities. These switches typically cost 10 to 35 dollars each and have a few different options. They come in the standard colors of white, off white, and almond. Installation of these switches is fairly easy for a beginner.
These are the basic tools I used to install this switch. Top item is a basic voltage detector. It simple lights up and chimes if there is current present. Then a set of wire cutters and a 6 way screwdriver. I think I will do a brief article on this screwdriver, I believe every tool box should have one.
You can see the switch plate has two screws and the switch has two screws also. Once you have removed the switch simple pulls out (gently). This gives you access to the wires, use the voltage detector to ensure the power is off, via the breaker panel. Before you shut the power off, use the detector to find which wire coming into the box is power supply. HINT: SHUT THE LIGHT OFF TO DO THIS
So this gets you to the part of unpacking and installing the new switch.
This is the type of switch we are going to install. There are many types, some basic like this one, some with night lights, and different designs. You will notice this switch has wires where as a regular toggle type switch does not. Please read directions before beginning. Lets us start there.
There are three color leads on this particular switch. The reason for that, is it makes a difference on the order of connection. So the green is ground, black is the power coming into the box, and red goes to the light (load). The power coming into the box can be determined using the voltage detector. Connect your wires using the wire nuts supplied, and I like to use electrical tape on these connections also.
At this point you are on the home stretch. Gently tuck the wires into the box with the switch. Align the screws and slowly tighten them. Remember to physically press the switch into the box, do not use the screws to press the wires and switch into the box. The switch is delicate and you can crack the case. This can create several problems and you should always replace a broken switch.
That’s it, job complete! Well don’t forget to turn the power on and check that it works.
I want to touch again on why you would use this switch. I put this one in our laundry room and I plan on putting them in all the closets. So they cost between $10-$35 each and you may not recoup that cost on electricity, but you won’t be bothered by lights being left on. I have a florescent fixture in our laundry room and the kids always leave it on. This bothers me, probably because I just need something to complain about, but it does. So with these switches they come on upon entry and stay on for roughly 10 minutes after there is no motion. You will notice on the switch the bottom half is a push button switch so you can manually turn it on or off also.
Let’s talk your cost savings doing this project yourself. When I would do a job like this for a customer the service charge was $90 and that covered the first hour for a handyman. Any handyman could install 3 of these in an hour baring any complications.
Well that’s it, another job well done. Remember never be afraid to try something it may save you some money.