How do I set a 24 HR light timer?

Written by matthew burley
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How do I set a 24 HR light timer?
Setting a 24-hour light timer can give the illusion that you are at home. (plug in timer image by leafy from

One of the biggest worries for people who travel frequently and for families that go on vacation is the security of their home while they are gone. If a burglar believes you are away from your house, he can break in with minimal risk. A simple way to counteract the appearance of an empty home is with a light timer. With your lights switching off and on periodically, you can present the illusion of an occupied house. Fortunately, setting up a light timer can be accomplished with a small amount of effort.

Skill level:


  1. 1

    Verify that your lights and switches are working before attaching the light timer. Replace any burnt out or dim bulbs.

  2. 2

    Turn the light switch to the "on" position.

  3. 3

    Plug the light timer into the wall outlet.

  4. 4

    Set the dial to indicate the current time of day. The exact method may differ depending on your brand of light timer, but usually involves lining up the arrow on the centre face with the corresponding hour of the day. For example, setting a time of 2:30 p.m. would require positioning the arrow halfway between numbers 14 and 15. (The 14th hour of the day is 2 p.m.)

  5. 5

    Set your timer switch to "auto." This switch has at least two settings: "on" and "auto."

  6. 6

    Position the tabs on the outer rim of the light timer to correspond to your desired times for the lights to turn off and on. Tabs that are pulled up signify that you wish for the lights to be off, while tabs that are pushed down indicate that the lights should be on.

  7. 7

    Test your settings by rotating the time dial until it reaches one of the tabs that is pulled up, indicating that the lights should be off. If the lights turn off, then the timer is set correctly. Don't forget to return the time dial to the correct current time.

Tips and warnings

  • If your light timer is going to be used for a long period of time, consider changing the bulbs in the lights before you leave. The benefits of this security measure can be lost if the lights aren't turning on.

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