Whenever I go to my sister's house, there is a quid pro quo. She makes choc chip cookies, I fix her house. This trip we removed a TV antenna, fixed the rain gutter, and swapped out a broken motion sensor light.
I like motion sensor lights. I've installed many. But I've found that the ones I buy at the large home improvement stores tend to stop working after a few months to a year.
My sister had a motion sensor light at her back door, and she was using its dusk to dawn setting. The sensor had broken, and one of the lamp assemblies just fell apart.
I suggested a simpler light assembly with just a dusk to dawn sensor. I made sure the one we bought allowed us to replace just the sensor if need be.
I switched out the lights. To test the light sensor, you need to turn on the power to the light and wait a few minutes for the sensor to adjust to the sun. Then put some electrical tape over the sensor and wait a few minutes. If the lamp does not go on, something is not working correctly. First to to check is your wiring, many times the wire nuts supplied are not great, I always use better ones from the hardware store.
We wanted to use compact fluorescent bulbs in the outdoor light, but all the outdoor rated lights, most of them flood lights, were too bright for just lighting up the back door. We didn't want to light up the whole back yard.
We bought some lower wattage CFLs that were similar to the floods, but not rated for outdoor. We're using those for now, and we'll have to figure out if they can stay outside. The lamp housings protect the bulbs from the elements, but I'm thinking the ballasts may not be rated for cold temperatures.
What has your experience been with motion sensor lights? Do yours break? Let us know in the comments below: