I’ve noticed that our kitchen light is left on a lot more than it needs to be. The problem is, whenever we go in or out of the kitchen, we have both of our hands full.
Carrying that hot dish to the dining room takes two hands leaving none for the light switch. Same thing going the other way. To be efficient we load up both hands when bringing in groceries from the car.
A motion detector should be a good solution.
When leaving the kitchen with a beer and a sandwich to return to the game on TV. The forgotten light will go out on its own. When taking dirty dishes to the kitchen, loaded down with both hand full, the light will come on as soon as you step into the kitchen. Life is good.
So I bought one
I got one that has a time delay and light sensitivity adjustment for about $20 at our local Mega Chain building supply store. It came with a switch cover plate made for it. It was a Cooper Wiring Devices Model 6105.
Other things that I needed to install it:
Fresh cookies. I like oatmeal cookies
Cool drinks. I like apple cider.
Motion detectors are easy to install right?
First, I shut the power off for safety. Go to the circuit breaker panel in the basement or garage. Start switching breakers off, one at a time. A helper in the kitchen watched for the light to go out.
When your helper finally yells that the light went out label the circuit breaker so you know which one to try first next time. Go to the kitchen and try to turn the light on by switching the switch a couple of times. Trust but verify.
OK time to work. Remove the faceplate and the top and bottoms screws that hold the switch in place. Pull the switch out so you can get at the wires.
Stop. Look at the wires; notice their colors and where each one is connected. Notice where the green ground wire is connected
Disconnect the wire one at a time. Treat them as if they are still energized. Keep them apart and only touch one at a time.
One by one connect them to the new motion detector switch. . It was a quick job with just three wire nuts to hold the wires together.
Push the wires and switch back into the hole in the wall. Put the top and bottom screws in to hold the switch in place.
Hold off putting the new faceplate on. On mine, there was a small cover over the adjusting screws that has to go on before the faceplate held it all together. It is time to test your work.
Station a helper in the kitchen to watch what happens when you switch the power back on. They need to stand at least 6 feet away from the new switch. If there are any loud noises or smoke, they need to yell for you to switch the power off.
If you got everything put together and the new switch is good the light should come on with no other excitement.
Get everyone a cold drink and cookie then step out of the kitchen. Notice how long it is before the lights automatically switch off. Walk in to steal another cookie and see if the light turns on, as it should.
About that time, my wife says, Houston we have a problem.
The ceiling light in the kitchen is flickering on and off at a very rapid rate.
If all else fails read the instructions. The package clearly says, NOT FOR USE WITH ELECTRONIC BALLASTS. That did not register in my head until now. Compact Fluorescent Lamps (CLF) have electronic ballasts.
After hunting for a time, I finally found three old light bulbs to replace the money saving CFL lamps.
A one minute delay was not enough. We found that the light went out because we did stand still that long while watching the bacon fry. A 5 minute delay seams to work well.
I ended up removing the motion detector.
My wife was not happy. She does not trust appliances. She always waits to see if the car headlights really do go off. She may start waiting for the kitchen lights to go out.
It also has the disadvantage of turning on to let the neighbors know when a half dressed person raids the refrigerator during the night. Besides if we had a teenager or puppy in the house the lights would go on and off all night.
Not being able to use the CFL lamps to save money make the whole idea questionable.
Cooper Wiring Devices makes a commercial grade model 6111 that would work just fine at twice the price.
No deal, beside we are out of cookies.
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