Instructions to Install Dusk to Dawn Outdoor Lights

Updated November 21, 2016

Dusk to dawn lights are used by many people as a security feature for the exterior of their homes. Having a light on outside your house during the night can discourage individuals from breaking in or lurking about because they realise that they could be seen. Dusk to dawn lights come on each evening and go off when the sun comes up, relieving you of the chore of having to remember to turn on an outside light at night and turn it off in the morning.

Turn the power off at the circuit breaker before working with the light.

Remove the light from the outside of the house by unscrewing the screws that hold it in place.

Untwist the wires that connect the old light to the house. Pay attention to which wires are going to which. Typically, like colours are connected together. There are usually white and black wires, as well as a green or copper wire.

Lift the new dusk to dawn light up to the connection and twist the new light's wires to the wires coming from the house. The wires should be the same as those on the old light---white goes to white and black to black. The third wire goes to the one left over even if it is green, copper or some other colour. Place a wire screw on the wires where they are twisted together.

Slip the wires into the hole and attach the new light in place. Slip the new light's hardware into the screw holes and tighten it down with a screwdriver.

Trim the branches of any trees and shrubs that are located near the light. You will need to look at the light at various times of the day to see if the surrounding vegetation ever casts a shadow on the light fixture. If it does, it will cause the light to come on by giving it a false reading that it is getting dark outside. Cut the troublesome branches so the shadow is no longer there.


If you already have a light fixture that you like, you can buy a simple add-on that screws into the light socket and converts the light into a dusk to dawn light. After you screw the unit into the socket, you then screw the light bulb into the other end of the unit. There is a sensor in the unit that cuts power to the light bulb when it is bright outside.

Things You'll Need

  • Screwdriver
  • Wire caps
Cite this Article A tool to create a citation to reference this article Cite this Article

About the Author

Keith Dooley has a degree in outdoor education and sports management. He has worked as an assistant athletic director, head coach and assistant coach in various sports including football, softball and golf. Dooley has worked for various websites in the past, contributing instructional articles on a wide variety of topics.