Where to Install Motion Sensor Lights- 8 Key Place to Install Motion Sensors

Owning and knowing where to install motion sensor lights is key for home safety. As Abraham Maslow, one of the most famous American psychologists, acknowledged, safety as a basic human need in his “hierarchy of needs.” So, it makes sense that technological advancements are doing everything right to ensure humans have the security they need to survive. 

This necessity saw to it that “motion sensors” were invented. Motion sensors are crucial safety equipment as they protect not just human beings but their valuables.

They protect homes and families from life-threatening intrusions and properties from burglary and theft. You need to place motion sensors here

  • Corner spaces
  • Near valuables
  • Second-floor bedrooms
  • Basements
  • Walls
  • Entrance areas like doors.
  • Master bedrooms.

This is just the tip of the iceberg, as there is much more to learn about motion sensors. This article will explain what motion sensors are, the best place to install them, their uses, and their advantages and disadvantages. It will also address some of the frequently asked questions concerning motion sensors.

Read on to learn more!

What Are the Motion Sensors?

Where to Install Motion Sensor Lights
Image of Motion Sensors

Otherwise known as a motion detector, a motion sensor is an electronic device that detects and measures nearby people or objects using a sensor.

They are crucial components for any security system, whether at home, on commercial property, or in an organization; name them!

Again, thanks to technological advancements, motion sensors can send security alerts to your mobile phone.

Once this device senses a motion, it alerts your specific security system. Therefore, you are assured of security whenever, wherever!

The following are some of the uses of motion sensors:

  • They are Used to Monitor Toddlers or Children

We all know how curious toddlers and children can be! You’d warn them against something just for them to do precisely that “out of curiosity.” Your stun warnings may not offer adequate protection to them.

Motion sensors will come in handy, particularly in areas within our property unsuitable for children. Such areas may include the garage, which stores lots of tools and fasteners that could injure a child. Set them around the entrance of such areas, and they will alert you as soon as your child wanders in.

You also don’t want your child around liquor cabinets, utensil drawers, fitness equipment, fireplaces, and sheds. Also, you could have significant and exotic animals on your property that you want to protect your children from.

Motion sensors are a safe way to express love to your young ones, as you are technically protecting them from unforeseeable circumstances.

  • They will Alert You of the Presence of Stray Pets or Wild Animals.

Animals are not human! They don’t have the thinking capacity to gauge private property, so they are bound to wander even in a restricted area. They will likely run into delicate plants or items within your property.

For this reason, you need a motion sensor to alert you whenever a pet or wild animal wanders around. You will protect your plants and pets as they can enter a toxic or exotic environment.

This device is beneficial for those living in rural or woody areas. They will alert you if any foreign pet or wild animal is on your premises.

  • Motion Sensors Will Alert You When Your Teen Sneaks Out or Comes Back Late.

If there is one thing teens enjoy, it’s being mischievous and breaking the rules and curfews. This can have a toll on your mental state as a parent. Installing motion sensors will help keep them safe and give you peace of mind.

Install them around windows, entrances, garages, or any area they’ll likely sneak from at an inappropriate hour. The sensor will alert you of any suspicious activity if you do not expect anyone to open your garage after 10 pm. This will help you intervene on time before your teenager escapes.

  • They Protect You from Burglars.

Burglars will find a way of invading you, doesn’t matter if you live in a tight-knit neighborhood or a secluded property! They could steal your car, expensive jewelry collection, or electronics you’ve worked so hard to acquire!

Motion sensors will protect you from invasion. This is considered one of the most crucial elements of home security, especially if you live alone.

Install motion sensors in all corners of our property. They will detect the culprit and sound the alarm before they enter the house. They will sound off alarms and trigger lights once they pick up an unwanted presence on your property.

  • They Will Inform You When Guests Arrive.

Living in a mansion is all fun until you have to run downstairs to open the door in the middle of an important activity. A motion sensor will alert you when a car is close to our driveway. This will give you sufficient time to go downstairs as you prepare to receive your guests.

On the flip side of the same coin, you could receive a guest you don’t wish to see. The motion sensor and the camera-equipped security system will allow you to preview an approaching visitor from the comfort of your bed or living room. You will then decide whether or not to answer the door.

  • Motion Sensors Open Doors Automatically.

Motion sensors offer you security surveillance and other conveniences like opening the door. 

This will particularly help if you live in a smart home with locks that remotely activate using handheld devices. You can use your motion sensors’ phone app to unlock the door as you approach the house.

The same function will serve you in the garage door, which will activate as you pull into the driveway. If you also live with a differently-abled person who moves in a wheelchair, the motion sensors will help activate all doors in the house whenever they enter or exit a room. Don’t we love technology?

  • Activate Lights When You Enter a Room.

Motion sensors will help minimize your electricity bill, especially if you forget to turn the lights on when exiting a room.

A motion sensor will detect movement in a room and automatically activate lights. It will also detect a lack of movement once you leave the room, hence will turn the lights off.

This feature in the device is convenient for differently-abled people who cannot reach a switch light. Besides, if you have a highly positioned switch with an overhead light that only activates with its switch, a motion sensor will solve this problem.

We now have an insight into what a motion sensor is. Let’s now look at some of its benefits and limitations.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Motion Sensors

Understanding the benefits and limitations of motion sensors is essential as it informs you on how best to use them.


  • Energy Saving

The current inflation has got everyone bawling their eyes out! We would grab any opportunity to spend less and save more. Motion sensors will do that for you!

Motion sensors led security lights which save more energy than it consumes. They gave D2D modes, allowing them to switch off during the day and at night.

  • They are Convenient

The led lights in motion sensors are quite convenient. All you have to do is to install and turn them on, especially for those with various modes. Motion sensors don’t need that, unlike other electronics that require regular maintenance to function perfectly. They neither require maintenance nor time. 

This is a complete package, as it offers your home security while saving you time and effort!

  • Active Deterrents

As mentioned earlier, motion sensors protect your home from human or animal trespassers. They do this as they will emit a bright light that increases safety, thus offering protection. Others will also alert you by sounding an alarm anytime they detect suspicious activity.

  • They are Flexible

Most electronic devices are susceptible to damage due to different environmental factors. This is not the case for motion sensors. They will serve you even in the harshest environments with irregular heat cycles.

  • They are Durable

Active motion sensors have an incredible lifespan. They will last you several years with no defects. They also require no maintenance, yet they will protect your home most effectively. This is an impressive cost-effective feature.

  • Easy to Install

Additionally, installing motion sensors is a piece of cake! You can do it as a DIY project, and it will be fine as it does not require a lot of technicalities. The advanced motion sensors are sold alongside security lighting. This saves you from the installation hassle as they are simple to install.


  • Any Motion Will Trigger the PIR Sensors.

The famous PIR sensors are designed to detect any temperature change within the sensory coverage. Because of this, the lights will react upon detecting any movement within 10-15 meters. 

While this is an attractive security feature, it also has its downsides. If you install a motion sensor close to a heater or air conditioning unit, it will receive constant “false triggers.” As a result, this will reduce the effectiveness of the light, putting you in a vulnerable position.

  • Passive Motion Sensors

This motion sensor doesn’t work well in temperatures above 35 degrees C. For this reason, you can hardly use them in warmer areas, especially those that don’t experience a drop in temperature at night.

  • Passive Sensors Only Work In Line of Sight (LOS).

They don’t work in non-Line of Sight regions. For instance, the sensors become less sensitive in detecting objects moving toward it if the object is slowly moving. This makes the device susceptible to human manipulation.

Isn’t it amusing how human intelligence can beat technology in its own game? Once a human or an animal becomes familiar with the LOS feature in the motion sensor, they will skillfully move slowly or directly toward the sensor to avoid triggering it. You can still be exposed to intrusion even with a motion sensor installed.

  • Radio Frequency at High Power Is Harmful to Humans.

Radio Frequency is a feature in the active type motion sensors. Radio Frequency radiation uses energy higher than Extremely Low Frequency (ELF) radiation.

Radio Frequency radiation can produce heat if the human body absorbs it in large amounts. Over time, this has created concerns as it is thought to affect the body cells, potentially leading to cancer.

The Radio Frequency feature is not just a disadvantage to humans. The RF in active-type motion sensors in a microwave range will not penetrate metal objects.

You must wonder what these “passive and active” motion sensors mean. Worry not; we will explain them in the next section!

How Do Motion Sensors Work?

As we mentioned earlier, motion sensors are electronic devices that detect nearby people or objects, especially when they are not supposed to be there. They use various technologies to pick up a movement in an area.

Once the sensor detects a movement, it will signal our security system’s control panel connected to your monitoring center. This will alert you and the monitoring center of a potential threat in your home.

Motion sensors function differently based on their types. While several motion sensors exist, only two are popular among property owners. These are:

  • Active Ultrasonic Sensors
  • Infrared Sensors.

Both motion sensors are valued for their accuracy and reliability for home security.

Active Ultrasonic Sensors

Active ultrasonic sensors usually produce ultrasonic sound waves. They are produced at a higher frequency, above the range of human hearing.

The waves bounce from nearby objects back to the motion sensor. Within the sensor is a transducer that acts as the signal’s waypoint. The transducer sends the pulse and receives the echo.

The sensor will measure the time between sending and receiving the signal, determining the distance between itself and the target.

Most motion sensors company design it in a way that’ll allow you to configure its sensitivity. You can modify not to detect objects that are too far. This way, if it picks up an object or person within a specified distance, it will get triggered and send you an alert.

Most people prefer installing motion sensors at entry points, like windows and doors, to trigger the burglar alarm. This will save you from the panic and frustration of false alarms. There are unique door and window sensors designed to detect an intruder specifically.

Ultrasonic sensors are a complete package. They will detect any object in color, surface shape, or material type. Motion sensors designed for industrial use can even detect translucent objects. This way, you are assured of optimum security against anyone or anything.

Passive Infrared Sensors (PIR).

This type of motion sensor is designed to identify a fluctuation in infrared energy. Infrared energy is the heat animals, humans, and objects release.

While the ultrasonic and the PIR sensors function similarly, the PIR is more complex.

Almost everything, living and non-living, such as walls, floors, stairways, windows, dogs, trees, and people, will produce some heat. An infrared motion sensor gauges the presence of a person or an object by determining a temperature change in a given environment. It measures the change through infrared waves.

The motion detector camera best illustrates how Passive Infrared Sensors Work.

The PIR camera is made up of two sensors. Without a human or object, the PIR will detect ambient IR from inanimate objects like walls and doors.

However, when a living thing, human or animal, moves past the camera, the first sensor will pick its heat signature. This will, in turn, signal the camera to activate. As a result, it will trigger the alarm and send you an alert.

If the object disappears from the camera’s view, the second sensor will activate as it notes a sudden temperature drop.

The PIR motion sensors can identify a human or object’s presence through these temperature changes.

You can also configure your PIR sensor, just like the ultrasonics, to ignore small changes in IR. This will prevent false alarm triggers from your constant movement within the house or business premises.

Here’s How PIR Motion Sensors Work:

Other types of motion sensors include:

Microwave (MW)

They function by sending out microwave pulse. It also measures a moving object’s reflection. They are valued for their ability to cover a larger area than infrared sensors. However, their cost is higher, and they are more susceptible to electrical interference.

Dual technology motion sensors

A dual technology sensor will combine passive infrared sensors’ features with a microwave sensor for excellent effectiveness. This type of motion sensor combines multiple detection methods. This especially helps in limiting the number of false alarms.

They have several sensors that will uniquely operate in different areas of the spectrum. Dual technology has fewer chances of sounding false alarms than other motion sensors.

Tomographic motion sensors

They contain several nodes linked together to form a mesh network. Their sensors will pick up a human or object presence with a broken link between two nodes.

Vibration Motion Sensors

From its term “vibration,” a vibration motion sensor will detect people and minute objects through vibrations caused by footsteps.

A homemade vibration sensor triggers an alarm through a small mass on a lever. You can purchase this motion sensor or can improvise one at home. While they function correctly, they are not a hundred percent reliable.

Area Reflective Sensors

These types of sensors produce infrared rays from an LED. They then use the reflection from the rays to determine the distance to the person or object. This allows it to detect a human or object presence within a designated area.

There is also a “special category” of motion sensors uniquely designed to detect different things. They include:

Contact Sensors (Window/Door)

They contain a magnet that identifies a movement at a door or window. The sensor and the corresponding magnet will move apart as a person opens the window or door. This will, in turn, trigger the alarm while the security system is armed.

Pet-Immune Motion Sensors

You’d want to use this sensor to protect your pet from reaching unwanted areas that could harm them. Passive Infrared Sensors will likely ignore animals up to a certain weight, while a dual technology motion sensor is pet resistant to false alarms as it needs two senses to get triggered.

Depending on the manufacturers, you can also uniquely configure your pet-immune motion sensors to an adjustable sensitivity level. This will significantly help if you live with very energetic pets.

Video Motion Sensors

Most security cameras in the market will use advanced signal processing to record when they pick a movement. However, cameras with motion sensors will have improved memory storage as it only captures essential details. It will not record hundreds of hours of unnecessary footage.

Choose a motion sensor that will best fit your security needs. 

We’ve learned how different motion sensors work; let’s explore where we should position the motion sensors. The wrong positioning of these devices will leave you exposed to a dangerous situation.

Where to Install Motion Sensor Lights

Typically, motion sensors have a range of up to 80 feet. For this reason, one sensor is not enough to cover an entire hallway or an open workspace. It would help if you hired a security company to install them.

However, you can also do it yourself, as it is not a complex process. Listed below are a few tips on where you should place your motion sensors:


Install a motion sensor in the corner of our room, as this will give it the broadest possible view of the space beneath it. Ensure that you position it pointing to the doorway with no obstructions.

Front and Back Doors

You don’t want a possible intruder knowing they could get caught, do you? This is why we encourage placing the motion sensors above the doorways. This will keep them out of sight. It also limits an intruder’s ability to invade our home without triggering the alarm.

High-Traffic Areas

It is a wise idea to install motion sensors in places often frequented by people. This may include the stairways, main hallways, and other high-traffic areas. This way, intruders will trigger the alarm whichever place they try to sneak into.

Near Valuables

Burglars always aim for the most valuable commodities and eat off your sweat. Therefore, it would help if you placed a motion detector behind any valuable item. This way, the alarm will be triggered whenever an invader attempts to move or steal your precious items.


Some intruders would want to sneak into your house through the basement as they consider it a low-profile entry. Therefore, ensure any low-profile entry in your home is guarded with motion sensors.

First Floors Windows

The first-floor window is among the most common entry places for burglars, especially during the hot summer. You would likely forget in this period and leave the window open, allowing a potential burglar to invade you.

Therefore, ensure the lower flow windows are locked and armed with a ring alarm.

The Master Bedroom

This is also a primary target area for most burglars. They know that this is where you place your money, jewelry, and other valuables. So, it’s in your best interest that you place them here.

The Second Floor

While most burglars will sneak into your home through the front and back doors on the first floor, others are smart enough to use the second floor. They would do this to avoid the alarm on the first floor and sneak in through the second-floor window. Best put the alarm on the second floor as well!

We now know the recommended places to install your motion senses. Let’s also learn about the don’ts.

Here Are Things to Avoid When Installing the Motion Sensors

  • Do not place them in areas that receive direct sunlight. This is because the direct sunlight from the window will cause a change in temperature, which may confuse the motion sensor.

At such a place, an intruder could also walk directly toward the sensor without it sensing.

  • Do not place the sensor near heat sources. House appliances like hot air vents, kerosene heaters, radiators, or other portable heat sources would cause a sudden change in temperature, which will falsely trigger the alarm.
  • Avoid placing the sensors where they directly face the door, as opening the door will likely block the infrared light the sensors need to detect.
  • Please do not install the motion sensor to a ceiling, as they are specially designed for wall mounting.
  • Please do not install the motion sensor to face downwards in the hallway as it doesn’t function effectively when an object moves towards them.

How High Should a Motion Sensor Be?

We have mentioned earlier that motion sensors should not be installed on the ceilings.

Instead, you should mount them on the wall, about six to eight feet in height.

Some people also consider the ceiling as a location for their sensors. While this is not the best choice, you can only do it on a standard ceiling of about eight feet high. If your home has 10-12-foot-tall ceilings, do not consider installing them here.

A six to eight feet high on the wall is the best location for your motion sensor as from this position, it can detect even people with smaller statures, unlike on the ceiling.

How Many Motion Detectors Do I Need?

The advanced motion sensors will cover anything from a small cabin to a reasonably spacious room. With such increased coverage, there is no need for several motion sensors in a single room.

Therefore, a single motion sensor per area is sufficient to offer security.

Your property’s layout will also determine the exact number of motion sensors you need. Therefore, inspect to identify the number of hallways, rooms, and entryways. After that, divide the areas into spaces. While doing so, treat a “shared space” as a single area of the house. From this, you will have a precise idea of reasonable standard installation.

Since the traditional Passive Infrared Motion Sensors can detect an object from a distance of approximately 25 feet, prioritize installing them on the room corners. It is a side-to-side motion sensor that would cover a larger area yet remain hidden.

Takeaway: Identify common installation spots and cover all your home’s valuable areas and entry points. A single sensor is enough for the shared spots in a room. 

Observe the recommended angle, as a lower angle and height could trigger a false alarm.

Also, avoid excessively installing motion sensors on your property, as they will trigger false alarms and cause unnecessary extra costs.

What Is the Distance of Rings Motion Sensor?

The ring motion sensor is a smart home security gadget that integrates with the ring alarm kit. It notifies a property owner of unwanted movement in their premise.

The ring motion detector claims a 30-foot detection radius. You can also put it up to 250 feet from the base station.

How Do You Install a Motion Sensor?

It’s vital to install your motion sensors for optimal security coverage correctly. Wireless motion sensors have, over time, become the standard, thanks to the ever-advancing technology. This has made the installation process more manageable, especially for DIYers. 

Here is how you install it:

  1. Unbox Your Motion Sensor

The motion sensor kit comes with a manual that describes the mounting process. If it has separate batteries, install them in the motion sensor at this stage.

  1. Choose a Location

The location of a motion sensor greatly determines its security effectiveness.

Corners are the most recommended locations as they cover the most area. You’ll notice angled edges with screws on your motion sensors. This is for a perfect fit on a room corner.

Install your motion sensor high on the wall for the best coverage. This will limit the passive infrared energy range. However, do not mount it over a large furniture piece like a bookshelf or an entertainment center.

Always mount your motion sensor opposite any main room or hallway entrance. This will help to identify an intruder immediately.

  • Mount the Sensor

Passive infrared sensors are light-weighted; drywall anchors or studs should be the least of your worries. Use a standard screwdriver for this. An electric screwdriver or a drill will work even better.

Your motion sensor comes with a mounting bracket detached from the main body. Screw the mounting bracket into the wall, then attach the motion sensor. This is helpful, especially during maintenance, as you can easily remove the motion sensor from the wall.

  • Connect the Sensor to Your System.

Your device’s manual should inform you how to integrate the motion sensor into your system.

The main keypad or mobile apps will walk you through a DIY system for setting up and adjusting the motion sensors.

  • Adjust the Configurations in our Motion Sensors.

Most motion sensors consist of three primary settings. These are:

  • The instant mode where all motions will trigger the alarm.
  • The Entry Delay Mode allows the sensor to operate in delay. It will give you about 30-60 seconds before sounding the alarm.
  • The Interior Follow-up mode equally works on an entry delay, only that it applies when the door contact triggers first. 
  • Maintain Your Motion Detector

Dust and debris are common environmental elements that would accumulate on the screen of your motion sensors. This will likely interfere with the infrared energy and reduce its effectiveness. Therefore, consider cleaning the device at least once every few months. Use a dry or slightly damp microfiber cloth.

Do Motion Sensors Work in the Dark?

Most motion sensors do not rely on an image to detect motion. Instead, they detect changes based on the infrared received or in the standing wave field. Therefore, they will comfortably work even in complete darkness.

Final Thoughts.

Motion sensors are crucial elements in your security systems. They are electronic devices that alert you when they detect unwanted movements around and within your property. Therefore, it helps in understanding;

Where to Install Motion Sensor Lights

Corners, master bedrooms, entrance areas, and behind valuables are crucial to installing your motion sensors.

So, where next will you be installing your motion sensors? I know mine!

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