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How to install a motion sensor light switch {DIY}

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“Who left the lights on?” Is this a common question in your home? It is in ours!  Installing a motion sensor light switch is something I never thought I would do. I know nothing about electrical projects and honestly, it’s not something you want to mess with unless you are a professional. However, installing a light sensor switch is really easy and doesn’t require an electrician. When Lutron contacted me to see if I would be interested in installing their occupancy sensor light switch in our home I thought, this is the perfect opportunity to try something new and possibly save on our electrical bill. Living with four generations under one roof, the lights get left on all the time and we never know who did it. We have had these switches installed for two weeks now in two of our bathrooms and we LOVE them. So much so that my dad wants more of them for the rest of the house. Stay tuned, Lutron is giving away a occupancy sensor switch to one of you in a bit!

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My brother and I installed the Lutron Occupancy Switch together in one of our bathrooms and I created a video of the installation. For me, I am a visual learner and I think seeing the wires and how we installed the switch will help you if you are a bit intimidated by this project. Like I said earlier, I have never done any type of electrical work so this project was intimidating at first. I don’t know what I was so intimated about, it was super easy and very fast.

How to install a motion sensor light switch

How to install a Lutron occupancy sensor

light switch video

Lutron provides detailed installation instructions as well in the packaging. Below is quick tutorial on how we installed the sensor. 

Step 1: Shut off the electrical breaker at the electrical panel.

Step 2: Remove your existing light switch plate cover and pull out the existing switch from the wall.

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Step 3: Remove the existing switch by unscrewing the two screws holding the wires in place. Depending on what type of existing switch you have, this may be different.

Step 4: Find your ground wire inside the wall.

Step 5: Tie the silver and green wire together on the back of the Lutron Occupancy Sensor (as shown in directions and above video) and connect to the existing ground wire in your wall. Use the yellow nut cap supplied with the sensor to fasten all the wires together. Screw the yellow cap until it is tight (as shown in video).

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Step 6: Connect the two black wires on the back of the sensor to the two wires from your wall. Use the yellow nut caps to fasten the wires together. The same as in step 5.

Step 7: Once all the wires are connected, tuck the wires into the wall hole as neatly as possible. Fasten the sensor to the wall with the screws provided.

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Step 8: Add the matching Lutron plate switch cover to complete the project.

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The directions with the switch provide detailed instructions on how to set the motion timer/sensitivity levels. The sensor offers a very modern and stylish look which is appealing to the eye.

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Are you ready to win your own Lutron Occupancy Sensor? Two winners will receive a Lutron Occupancy Sensor + plate switch. Winners will be notified via email and will have 48 hours to respond or another winner will be chosen. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Want to purchase your own? Lutron is offering 25% off Maestro occupancy/vacancy sensor dimmers and switches on LutronStore.com PLUS one free Claro single-gang wall plate with each qualifying item. *see site for full details. Use Promo Code: wholeftthelightson – Code expiration date: Sunday, Oct. 6, 2013

I chose to have the light come on at the high setting (high sensitivity) and shut off after one minute of no motion. Can I just tell you, installing this occupancy motion sensor light switch by Lutron was SO simple and really has made a difference in the lights being left on. I cannot wait to see if it helps with our electrical bill. The giveaway is in collaboration with my friend Kari Anne at Thistle Wood Farms so be sure to jump over and checkout her Lutron Sensor Switch installation. I can’t wait to see her video!Do any of you have these sensors installed and has it helped save you money? Share your thoughts below, I would love to know!

Disclaimer:  We are not responsible for the outcome of your installation including but not limited to zapping yourself. Shut the breaker off! Thank you Lutron for sponsoring this post. All opinions and words are 100% my own. 

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Responses to How to install a motion sensor light switch {DIY}

  1. Cindy Parisi August 15, 2013 at 7:13 am #

    What a great idea. I am always turning lights off, even at my place of business (I’ve actually turned the lights off when I didn’t realize someone was in an office). I’d love to try this motion sensor light switch.

  2. Sheila Moore August 15, 2013 at 7:33 am #

    My husband says he’s always turning lights off after me…lol…would love to try one of these.

  3. Susan August 15, 2013 at 7:55 am #

    I didn’t even know these existed! Hmmm, I’m coming up with some ideas. Thanks for letting us know about these and for showing us they aren’t too intimidating to install.

  4. Maria August 15, 2013 at 8:46 am #

    Thanks for sharing! Showing to my husband:)

  5. Hannah August 15, 2013 at 9:19 am #

    My Boyfriend is the worst at turning off lights. I swear it’s like he doesn’t know how:) I’ve never heard of using motion lights in the house, but its an awesome idea

  6. Erika Svard August 15, 2013 at 10:04 am #

    We have 16, 6, and 3 year old girls! I could probably put a sensor light in every room of the house! However, I would start with the main hall bathroom! That light is always on.
    Thanks for the chance to win

  7. Terry D August 15, 2013 at 10:20 am #

    I am the worst about leaving the light on:(

  8. Kristen August 15, 2013 at 10:31 am #

    This is my husbands biggest pet peeve – lights left on. This would be fantastic!

  9. Susan August 15, 2013 at 10:36 am #

    You name it, everyone!!!

  10. izzy miller August 15, 2013 at 10:45 am #

    Great idea! We could definitely use this with the kids!

  11. Kim @ Sand & Sisal August 15, 2013 at 11:30 am #

    Very cool Jess! I need to put these in my kids bathrooms for sure!!! Great video! I’d love to install one in my pantry too!

  12. Allison Grasso August 15, 2013 at 11:35 am #

    This would be great in the kitchen…kids always leave light on.

  13. Aurora August 15, 2013 at 11:54 am #

    The bathroom is a great place for this! I am constantly turning the lights off in there!

  14. Irene Lund August 15, 2013 at 12:09 pm #

    I would love this for my kids bathroom and our half-bath. Lights are constantly left on.

  15. Rebecca Cooper August 15, 2013 at 12:26 pm #

    Great info, thanks for sharing! :)

  16. Helen August 15, 2013 at 12:29 pm #

    I love this! Hubby is the worst at leaving lights on all over the house. I was raised with 5 siblings and my parents were always after us to turn the lights off, so it’s just a habit with me.

  17. Laura Abanedo August 15, 2013 at 12:29 pm #

    I NEED this in my laundry room anyone in the house that goes there they leave the lights ON.

  18. Karen H. August 15, 2013 at 12:38 pm #

    The house gremlin named, “Not Me” leaves lights on in my house…. the same one who moves things and doesn’t put them back!

    I’m not really sure which room I would put a motion sensor light switch in first…. I’d have to give that some thought!

    Thank you!

  19. Amy @ Elephant Eats August 15, 2013 at 12:39 pm #

    I’m the one guilty of not turning out the lights :( hahaha…but i’m sure once I have kids it will switch to them.

  20. Nicole August 15, 2013 at 2:17 pm #

    My son refuses to turn off the bathroom light when he’s done! I would love to put one of these in my bathroom!

  21. Shannon August 15, 2013 at 3:09 pm #

    I do! it’s worst in the master closet.

  22. Linda August 15, 2013 at 6:24 pm #

    Looks great and saves money, too! Perfect. My laundry room is the room that stays light and bright because the switch is almost inaccessible. The motion switch seems like the perfect solution.


  23. Laurel Sandler August 15, 2013 at 6:55 pm #

    Great idea..my husband always leaves the bathroom lights on…drives me crazy!!!

  24. Kay August 15, 2013 at 7:33 pm #

    I would love one of these in my craft room. I’m that person that always walks out with the light left on!

  25. Heather August 15, 2013 at 9:05 pm #

    These are so amazing! I seriously could use one in my pantry. I’m always forgetting and leaving the light on. Great video too!

  26. Rebecca August 15, 2013 at 10:00 pm #

    My fiance leaves every light on wherever he goes, but in our bedroom would be the best place to have the sensor, especially when I have my hands full of laundry & can’t reach the light switch easily!

  27. Jessica w August 15, 2013 at 10:40 pm #

    we are pretty good at turning them off but sometimes my husband forgets a light or two on his way out the door for work.

  28. Denise August 16, 2013 at 2:45 am #

    I totally need these in my house!!! My kids and hubby are SO bad about turning the lights off!

  29. Heather August 16, 2013 at 9:26 am #

    The biggest culprit in my house is my HUSBAND! And according to his mom, it’s been a problem since he was little :)

  30. Megan Cuy Castellanos August 16, 2013 at 10:22 am #

    Our family room/play room could totally use a motion sensor. Or maybe the laundry room. Or the storage room…. Ok, I could use at least 3 of these things! :)

  31. Jessica August 16, 2013 at 12:18 pm #

    Our roommate leaves lights on in the main living spaces a lot. He also leaves them off. a lot. when it’s dark and we’re getting home late. Clearly these sensors would change my life and keep me from being afraid of the dark. :)

  32. Shari Montague August 17, 2013 at 11:27 am #

    With 5 kids and a husband who refuses to turn off a light switch, I’ve been wanting to have motion sensor lights in my home for years. I didn’t think it would be something I could do without hiring an electrician. I’m excited to try these!

  33. susan b August 19, 2013 at 1:20 pm #

    My husband always falls asleep with the light on in the living room. I would love to win these for there!

  34. Kelly August 19, 2013 at 8:37 pm #

    I was just looking at these today at Lowes and then saw this in my Pinterest feed. Thanks for the great tutorial!

  35. Marti August 20, 2013 at 2:29 am #

    I think I’d install one in the laundry room. That seems to be the light “no one” always leaves on!

  36. Kismet August 20, 2013 at 3:13 am #

    Great job. Hope to win.

  37. Kelsie August 20, 2013 at 1:33 pm #

    There are many rooms I would love to install these switches into…. our entryway, play room, kids bedrooms…heck, maybe every room! :)

  38. mary August 20, 2013 at 1:45 pm #

    My niece! Would install in the kitchen as the switches are in weird places.

  39. Pa SO August 20, 2013 at 8:33 pm #

    What an awesome prize!! I would love one of these.

  40. Amanda August 20, 2013 at 8:38 pm #

    Would LOVE this! My kids are forever leaving the lights on!

  41. Jan G. August 20, 2013 at 8:57 pm #

    i’m trying to convince spousal unit Tom Bodett doesn’t live here and we DON’T need to leave a light on… need this for multiple rooms!

  42. Marsha Anderson Corns August 20, 2013 at 11:08 pm #

    Our children leave their restroom light on all of the time! I have to ask if their restroom is afraid of the dark:)

  43. craig b. October 8, 2013 at 11:51 am #

    I have only two wires in my switch box. Does a sensor switch work without being hooked to a ground?

    • Jessica Bruno October 8, 2013 at 4:06 pm #

      Consult the Lutron customer service department that is located on the packaging or a licensed electrician.

  44. Diana February 27, 2015 at 1:50 pm #


    Find The Ground Wire…

    How do I find the ground wire…which one is it and then what do I do with it and do I have to do the ground wirey thingee first.

    Have always wanted to do this, but again…it’s the ground wire thingee.

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