It isn’t your imagination: your motion-activated spotlights and floodlights used for security or safety are indeed turning on more often then usual. These lights are often get more touchy when the weather gets cold.
The reason is simple: Passive Infrared Sensors (PIRs) don’t actually pick up movement. Instead they sense when heat passes through the area. This means that when temperatures drop, small animals that the sensor would ignore most of the time may often turn the lights on.
Here’s some ways to save energy and makes sure that your solar security lights work better this winter.
Most Security Lights Let You Decide When They Turn On
You want your detector to turn the light on if somebody or something is out there that should not be. And, you be, or to turn on when you, your family or guests approach the light. Some people need the lights to turn on when like coyotes or wolves enter the area that could endanger pets or livestock. But warm-blooded birds or squirrel? If the light is activated when these animals pass through the PIR’s field of motion, it’s just a waste of power and often annoying to your household or your neighbors.
Adjusting PIR Settings is Easy, As Long As You Can Safely Access the Light
Most of our PIR lights can be adjusted easily and with winter temperatures here, it’s a good time to change certain settings. As long as you can safely access the floodlight or spotlight, it’s pretty easy to do. (For example: make sure a ladder used to reach the light isn’t on ice or that the frozen ground doesn’t make the ladder too shaky to safely climb.) Here’s how you do it. Most motion-activated spotlights and floodlights have 3 settings, shown in the picture below.
- The TIME button lets you set how long the light will stay on each time it’s activated, usually from around 15 seconds to a minute.
- The LUX button lets you set how dark you want it to be when the sensor begins to work. While there always has to be some darkness, you usually can set it to start detecting motion at dusk or wait until it’s pitch dark out.
- The SENS button lets you decide how much motion. Since the lights will go on more frequently when it’s cold, this is the setting you want to adjust during the winter. You can reduce “false” alarms simply but turning the sensitivity down when the temperatures drop.
A less sensitive PIR detector won’t go on to small animals, or even movement of trees that could be warmer than the surrounding air. Since the nights are longer than the days, this may mean the difference between whether the floodlight of spotlight uses up all of it’s energy at midnight, or lasts until early morning when it’s often still quite dark.
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