How to Install A Motion Sensing Switch

By Gene and Katie Hamilton

Tools Required
  • Neon voltage tester
  • Screwdriver
Materials Required
  • Motion-sensing switch

Before You Begin

Motion sensing switches are a direct replacement for a standard single pole switch. Most of the units will switch either incandescent lighting, standard light bulbs, or fluorescent lights. Most will switch 4 or more light bulbs up to a total of about 800 watts. Check the rating on the package before you purchase the switch.

If the switch that you are replacing is located across from a heating duct or cooling register the switch may not function properly. Read the manufacturer's installation directions carefully. Each manufacturer's unit is slightly different and may have different colored wires and adjustment procedures.

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  • Step 1 : Remove the old switch

    Remove the old switch

    Turn the power to the switch off at the main circuit breaker panel. Remove the switch cover with a screwdriver and use a neon voltage tester to make sure there are no hot wires at the old switch. Then remove the switch from the electrical box and loosen the terminal screws on the side of the switch so you can remove the wires.

  • Step 2 : Follow the installation drawing

    Follow the installation drawing With a screwdriver unscrew the cover plate of the new device and use the installation drawing of the new switch as a guide to connect the electrical leads of the new device in the junction box.

    Follow the installation drawing

    Use the wire nut connectors supplied with the unit to connect the black wire in the box to the black wire with of the new switch. Then connect the blue or possibly black wire from the new switch to the black or colored wire inside the box. Attach the green ground with the bare or green wire in the box. Replace the control panel cover and wall plate and turn on the power at the breaker.

  • Step 3 : Adjust the switch

    Adjust the switch

    Make adjustments to the "mode" selections of the control panel. To keep the lights off choose "off", or choose "auto" so lights turn on automatically when motion is detected or "on" to keep lights continuously on.

    Illlustrations courtesy of Heath/Zenith