How Much Do Motion Sensor Cost? How Not to Over Spending On Motion Sensors

A motion sensor is an excellent integration into our home’s security system. But how much do motion sensor cost? Well, we will see in this post…

Typically, everyone is at risk of invasion by prowlers and burglars in their homes or business premises. That said there’s every reason to keep your home safe. From protecting teenagers from breaking curfew rules and sneaking out into dangerous situations late in the night to keeping pets from stepping into unwanted zones lest they cause harm to themselves and others. 

If you are a new home or business owner, you may want to invest in a motion sensor as part of solid security- which takes us back to our subject of discussion, how much do motion sensors cost?

If you are installing a motion sensor for the first time, it will, on average, cost you $425. However, this cost will vary depending on the type of light, bulb, sensor, and source of power you use for your motion sensor.

With all such factors considered, you will incur a cost of between $350 and $500 for your motion sensor.

Discussed below are approximated prices of motion sensors depending on the specific variety:

Motion-Sensor Outdoor Spotlight Installation

A motion sensor spotlight average costs $40. The cost is around $200 when the installation fee is included.

However, the price of the sensor will also vary depending on your light’s brightness preference. Therefore, expect between $15-65$ for the light and $50-250$ for the installation fee.

Motion-Sensor Floodlight Installation

A motion sensor floodlight price ranges between $30-$400. The total installation expense should cost between $250 and $600.

Decorative Motion-Sensor Lights

You’ll find an incredible variety of decorative motion sensors on the market. On average, it will cost you between $40-$110 for a single light and a summative amount of between $250-$350 if labor is included.

  • Smart Motion Sensor Lights

This is the latest technological upgrade of the motion sensor varieties. A single light will cost you approximately $100-$300. It will cost you between $200-$500 if installation costs are included.

Knowing the estimated market price of the motion sensors is helpful, especially when planning the number of such devices you’ll need. It will help you budget accordingly.

As we think about how much you plan to invest in installing a motion sensor, let’s get a deeper insight into this device!

What Is a Motion Sensor?

How Much Do Motion Sensor Cost
Image of Motion Sensor

A motion sensor, also known as a motion detector, is an electronic device used to detect nearby objects or people, using a sensor.

The sensor sends an alert to your home’s security system as soon as it detects motion.

The advanced sensor technology will send you an alert from the comfort of your mobile phone.

A motion sensor’s primary function is to detect an intruder’s presence and send an alert to our home security’s control panel.

The motion sensors will react to various suspicious situations; it could be a movement in our living room, windows or doors opening, or a window break. They can best be described as inanimate “armed soldiers” who always stand guard.

Below are some common uses of motion sensors:

  • They will alert you when people enter restricted areas. If it picks a movement when you least expect anyone, high chances are that it could be an intruder. For instance, not everyone accesses your basement and garage at home.
  • They are also used as energy savors. Unlike other human-regulated lights, a motion sensor is designed only to power its lights in an area when needed. This saves on energy, thereby cutting down on unnecessary electricity bills.
  • A motion sensor will alert you when your teenage child breaks curfew or attempts to sneak out in the wee hours.
  • It also triggers the doorbell when someone is approaching the front door.
  • Children are incredibly curious. They’d want to know why you restrict them from entering certain areas, especially when you are not looking. A motion sensor will save you the emotional anguish of wondering where they could have sneaked. It will alert you when your kids enter restricted areas such as the basement, workout room, or in the medicine cabinet.
  • A motion sensor will also inform you if your pet moves to a restricted area that could harm them or others in the house.

There are several security applications which you could use your motion sensors; they include but are not limited to:

  • Entryway Lighting

Motion sensors will detect movement from incoming vehicles and people in entryways such as doorways, hallways, and property gates. Once they pick a movement, the sensors trigger lighting for easy navigation. They will also go off if they notice a lack of motion to save energy.

  • Intruder Alarms

Intruder alarms are among the most common motion sensors security applications. They can be used in residential, business, or government properties. They will send an alert when an intruder enters the premises or if an unauthorized person sneaks into a restricted area.

  • Security Lighting

Security lighting works hand in hand with intruder alarms. The sensor will trigger the alarm once it detects unauthorized movement into a specific area. When this happens, the security lights will flash throughout the invaded area, and the intruder will have no place to hide within the property.

  • Ticket Gates

Motion sensors are also used to scan tickets in private parking spaces, pay-to-park garages, and close gated areas. The sensors will determine if the person entering has a valid pass or correctly paid the fare before entering or exiting.

The motion sensors can also serve more than security applications. They are used in modern luxury buildings to make life more manageable through automatic doors and bathroom fixtures.

We had mentioned earlier that the cost of motion sensors would vary depending on the type. There is more to know from this. So, let’s look into the various types of motion sensors.

Types of Motion Sensors

Motion sensors are categorized based on their technology to detect a body’s motion. There are two main categories: active and passive detectors.

Commonly known as radar-based motion sensors, the active detectors emit radio waves/microwaves within a room or any other place. These waves then strike nearby objects, reflecting the sensor detector.

When an object approaches a sensor-controlled area, the sensor will pick a frequency shift in the wave, reflecting the sensor detector. This would indicate that the wave has hit an object in motion.

The motion sensor is designed to interpret these changes, which enables it to send an electrical notification to the alarm system, light, or any other application connected to the motion sensor.

Active sensors are commonly used in automatic doors in shopping malls and similar applications. However, they are versatile enough for house security alarms and indoor lighting systems.

NOTE: You do not want to use active motion sensors for outdoor lighting or similar applications. This is because it is likely to experience false alarms from triggers from random objects like windblown things, smaller animals, and larger insects.

Passive detectors work oppositely to active detectors. While active detectors will pick any moving object in the vicinity, the passive ones do not send out anything. Instead, they are specially designed to detect infrared (heat) energy. They are more complex than active detectors.

Almost everything, living and non-living, will radiate some heat. From the walls, floors, windows, cars, trees, pets, and people, name them! They all emit some heat. This heat is the infrared wave that a passive motion sensor will pick—no wonder they are referred to as passive infrared sensors (PIR).

They can note the presence of a person or an object b interpreting a temperature change within a given vicinity.

A motion detection camera can best describe the PIR motion sensor functions. A PIR camera consists of two sensors. Without people, the PIR camera will detect ambient IR from inanimate objects like walls and doors.

However, when a human or animal moves past the camera, the first sensor will pick up the change in heat, thus activating the camera.

The camera will, in turn, trigger your alarm, which will send an alert. If the animal or human leaves the camera’s view, the second sensor will activate due to the sudden temperature drop.

A PIR motion sensor is guided by these temperature changes to pick up a person’s or an object’s presence. 

TIP: You can configure your PIR motion sensors to your liking; so that it ignores minor changes. This should allow you to comfortably move around your home or business premises without constantly triggering the alarm.

  • Combined (Hybrid) Sensors.

The hybrid technology motion sensors combine active and passive sensors. Therefore, it will trigger an alarm or light only if the motion is detected by both the passive and active sensors.

This technological advancement is a complete package, as it limits the chances of false alarms.

Conversely, the hybrid sensors will not offer you as sufficient security as the PIR and microwave sensors. This is because the feature allows the alarm to be triggered only when both sensors detect a movement.

An instance of such a disadvantage is when a burglar who knows how to manipulate one of the sensors breaks into your property. If he does this, only one sensor will detect the movement, so the alarm will not be turned on.

It emits infrared rays from a LED and measures the distance to the person or object using the reflection from those rays. This way, the area reflective sensors can detect when an object or person moves within the designated area. Most people are not informed about this type of sensor.

This is also less popular among people. It measures the reflection from moving objects through pulses of ultrasonic waves.

This type of sensor detects small vibrations from people moving in a room. You can purchase them or improvise one right at home. 

A homemade vibration sensor will use a small mass on a lever which activates the alarm once it vibrates. While they can work just as efficiently, they are not entirely reliable.

  • Microwave Motion Sensors

They are designed to produce microwave pulses that bounce from an object/person and then return to the sensor. While they can cover a wider area than the PIR sensors, microwave motion sensors are more susceptible to electronic interference.

  • Tomographic motion sensors

This type of sensor contains several nodes which link together to form a mesh network. When a link between two nodes is broken, the sensors will detect the presence of a person or object.

The sensors below fall under the category of “specialized motion sensors.”

Contact sensors are made up of a magnet used to pick a movement on a door or a window. The sensor will trigger an alarm if its corresponding magnet moves apart when a door or a window opens.

This is a great and rare addition to the technology of motion sensors. Pet Immune Motion Sensor will help detect pets’ presence in a given environment, mainly because other sensors can barely do so.

For instance, most infrared sensors will fail to detect animals up to a certain weight. On the other hand, a dual technology (hybrid) sensor is pet resistant as it can only function when both sensors pick a movement.

You can adjust the sensitivity of some pet-immune motion sensors, Particularly if you keep energetic pets in your home.

The present-day surveillance cameras can be improvised as motion sensors, all thanks to technology! You can do this through rudimentary video analytics.

The control screen will have a virtual line or box. Once a camera detects an object crossing, entering, or leaving the guarded area, it will send out several signals. The camera will start recording, causing the lights or sirens to get active. It can also send you a notification.

The security camera motion sensors can be configured to react when a person or vehicle enters an area. You can also modify the settings to reduce or eliminate false alarms.

You have many options to choose from when investing in a motion sensor. Choose one that best suits your needs as advised by your licensed technician. 

Once you settle on one, the next uphill task is to install the motion sensor lights. Let’s learn how to do it!

How to Install Motion Sensor Lights

Motion sensor lights will adequately offer you security. It will also make you feel safer and worriless that someone may invade and attack you without your knowledge.

Also, installing these lights outside your home will add some convenience, particularly when taking the garbage at night or struggling with your keys at the front door.

Installing a motion sensor is a manageable process. 

Before installing, the first step is to remove the old light if it exists. Described below is how you do it:

  • Turn off the Power Source to the Light

Consider this step, especially if you are working with an outdoor motion sensor light installed in place of a current porch light.

However, before you do this, locate our home’s electrical box and switch off the power source. You also want to determine if the power is off by switching on the light switch to ensure it stays off.

  • Unscrew the Existing Light

A screwdriver will be handy in removing the screws holding the existing light in place. Be careful not to pull too hard away from the wall as this light is still connected to the electrical wiring.

Double-check again if you’ve indeed cut the power supply. This time, use a wire tester to test the wires previously connected to the lighting.

  • Detach the Wire Connections

You will notice three types of wires connected to the light. These are:

  • A white/ Neutral wire
  • Green / Copper wire (this is the ground wire).
  • A black/ red wire (this is the hot wire).

Ensure you disconnect all three mentioned wires from the current light. In older homes, the hot wire could be neither black nor red. It could be yellow.

After following the above three steps and double ensuring the lighting has no power, it is time to install the motion sensor light.

  • Mount the Adjustable Crosspiece from the Light Package to the Electrical Box.

Motion sensor lights are often sold alongside a small crosspiece bracket with several holes. These holes allow you to attach the crosspiece to any electrical box, regardless of size.

Ensure you align the bracket based on your electrical box, then screw it in place.

  • Place the Rubber Gasket Purchased with the Light Around the Outer Edge of the New Fixture

Besides the crosspiece bracket, the motion sensor light is sold alongside a rubber gasket. Expect this rubber gasket to fit tightly against the fixture on the wall.

Slip this gasket over the wiring on the light into place. You don’t need to ensure it is perfectly aligned at this stage, as you will disconnect it again. 

  • Use a Wire Cap to Connect the Wiring

Ensure you correctly connect the wiring for the fixture to function properly.

Match the white or neutral wires. Also, match the hot wires (red, black, or yellow).

Hold these wires together using a wire cap, then tape them at the bottom using electrical tape. This way, you’ll be sure that they are perfectly held in place.

You will also notice a minute, colored screw within the light fixture close to where the other two wires exit the casing. Tighten the copper ground wire around this screw. Do this by loosening the screw, looping the ground wire over it, and tightening it back down to keep it constant with the wire.

  • Screw the Light Assembly into the Electrical Box Bracket with Gasket in Place.

Once you’ve connected and taped off the entire wiring, push it into the electrical box. From this, you’ll notice space where you’ll fit the light assembly on the wall.

The setup also contains a screw or more that you’ll use to attach the light to the crosspiece bracket. This time, ensure the rubber gasket perfectly aligns with the back of the fixture. Hold it against the wall and screw it into position.

  • Screw in the Bulbs

Once everything is attached in its rightful position, it is time to screw the bulbs that came with it.

If you don’t like the bulb, that’s okay! You can always use a different one.

  • Seal the Fixture

Before you fix your newly installed motion sensor light, restore the power and ensure it is perfectly functional. Seal the light where it attaches to the wall plate.

A silicone caulk sealing around the casing will work best for you. It will help prevent moisture from entering the inner parts of the casing.

How to Test Motion Sensor

We have successfully installed our motion sensor. We now want to test to ensure it will offer us optimal security. This is how we do it:

  • Walk In Front of the Sensor

Walk past the sensor to determine if the light will go on. If it does, your sensor works perfectly (consider doing this before sealing the lighting). After this, your focus should be on configuring the device’s settings.

  • Adjust the Light’s Angle

It’d be best to do this step at dusk or early evening. The motion sensor has two lamps that you can comfortably swivel and position to your liking.

Turn these lamps till you spread the light into your targeted area.

  • Also, Adjust the Sensor’s Angle

The sensor is often located on a pivot that will allow you to angle the sensor towards a given location. It also has a comprehensive view that lets you simultaneously position it toward several spaces.

  • Adjust Your Sensor’s Sensitivity

Your device may come with a knob that will ease the adjusting process.

A high sensitivity will allow most objects to trigger the light. Therefore, you may want the sensor to stop reacting to certain elements, like when your pet runs beside the house. Place a little electrical tape on the sensor’s corner to prevent it from receiving data. 

Test it after placing the tape and walk beside it to see where it will detect movement.

  • Set the Timing

In addition to the sensitivity settings, our motion sensor light also has a time setting. This will allow you to determine how long you’d like the lights to stay on when the sensor alerts it.

Here’s a Video On How to Install motion Sensor Lights:

How to Save Money When Installing Motion-Sensor Lights

The electricity bill cost can cause you emotional anguish, especially during this fluctuation. Luckily, a motion sensor light added to this bill should be the least of your worries.

Motion sensors are a plus in technology as they will automatically turn off. Research shows that one can save up to $84 annually for each bulb by turning off lights when not in use. This lowers the energy consumption in commercial buildings by about 30%.

You can save money with your motion sensor lights by correctly adjusting your settings. For instance, they can stay off until they detect a motion.

Indoor motion sensors will also help save money, especially if you forget to turn off the lights when you don’t need them. Consider the purchase cost of the light, labor expense, energy consumption, and the correct replacement bulb. This way, you can determine if the outdoor or indoor motion sensor will help cut costs.

Here are other ways of saving money with your motion sensors:

  • Positioning of the Sensors

Place the sensor lights in recommended positions, such as entry spaces, corners, and main bedrooms. You want the sensor to turn on before it detects a movement, not after. 

You also want to select a lamp that will illuminate immediately and not take long before attaining full brightness.

  • Manual Override

This will allow you to switch the lights off or on in the presence of an obstruction between the sensor and the occupants.

You can also add more sensors in the lighting circuit that works on heat instead of motion. Lights that can be switched manually and automatically (manual on, auto off) can also be used to save money with the motion sensors.

  • Adjust the Timers

These timers are quite handy in retail applications. For instance, shop windows are illuminated during the evening when there’s high pedestrian traffic. This traffic will significantly reduce in the evening. Use timers to switch the lights off at such a time (when there’s less traffic).

  • Use a Daylight Sensor

Ensuring your exterior lights do not operate unnecessarily during daylight is an effective way to save money with your motion sensor.

Are Motion Sensors Worth It?

Motion sensors are undoubtedly a worthwhile investment in your home or business premises. They will protect you, your family, and your pets from lurking danger and help cut the electricity bill costs by conserving energy.

For instance, motion sensor lights will only activate once they detect movement. They will light up the place where the motion is detected for a timed duration, then automatically shut off afterward.

Motion sensors also conserve energy and minimize your high electricity bills. As mentioned, the light will generate power only when necessary; therefore, it does not constantly draw on your electrical system. This is better than the traditional porch and garage lights with no motion detection. 

Such lights also require manual deactivation, which can be costly. This will mainly occur when you forget to turn off the lights, which will, in turn, generate energy and inflate the electricity bill all night long.

You also don’t want to use traditional lighting as it doesn’t offer solid security. If this light goes off at night, you’ll have to manually turn it on to keep the potential threats at bay or offer the visibility needed for late-night outings.

The case is different with motion sensors, as they’ll allow you to keep the lights on all night without worry. Therefore, motion sensors are a very worthwhile investment!

Do You Need an Electrician to Install a Motion Sensor Light?

While hiring an electrician for all electrical services in your home is a wise idea, it is not always necessary on some occasions. You can install a motion sensor as a DIY project, so you don’t need an electrician. Please follow the procedures described earlier in this article.

You will only need a screwdriver to complete the work in as little as thirty minutes. You may also need a wire cutter to cut wires if necessary, wire connectors, a voltage tester to determine whether to test the hotwire and ensure the voltage is off, and an electrical tap to mark the hot wire.

Do Motion Sensors Use a Lot of Electricity?

One of the most selling features of motion sensors is their ability to save energy. Motion sensors don’t use a lot of electricity and will help minimize your electricity bill.

The automated features of the motion sensor’s lighting allow them to turn on only when they detect heat or movement. This will save the otherwise costly bill you’ll incur when you forget to turn the lights off all day in your home or the lift.

The power consumption of a motion sensor ranges from 0.5W to 8W. A low bulb consumption of a motion sensor equals the traditional 100W bulb that consumes 30W. This is sixty times more than a sensor that consumes the least amount of energy.

Do Motion Sensors Work Better in the Dark?

A motion sensor does not function based on the targeted area’s light or dark. Therefore, motion sensors do not “work better in the dark.” They function as efficiently in the dark as they would in light.

Motion sensors detect or measure a movement in a given vicinity, triggering your home’s security system alarms. This will happen whether the area is dark or light.

Final Thoughts

As you think of investing in a motion sensor to upgrade your home’s security, you also want to figure out how much motion sensors cost. So…

How Much Do Motion Sensor Cost?

The cost of motion sensors is determined by several factors, such as the installation cost, the brand, and the power used, among other things. For a first-time installment, a motion sensor will cost you around $45o. Generally, you will spend between $350-$500 for a motion sensor upgrade in your home.

There are two main types of motion sensors: active and passive—the active and passive ones. There’s also a dual sensor that combines the technologies of the active and passive ones.

Choose a motion sensor that best suits your property’s needs, as your electrician advises. 

A motion sensor will help you save money while protecting your property from prowlers. You do not want to miss out on this experience!

Which type of sensor would you prefer? I wish you the best of luck as you figure settling on one.

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