How to Adjust Motion Light Sensitivity

Updated February 21, 2017

Motion lights are installed to give you a sense of security in knowing that an intruder will a trigger a light to come on as he approaches your home. Adjusting the motion sensitivity on your security lighting can help stop false triggers. False triggers occur when pets or traffic pass through the motion detection range, turning the security lights on unnecessarily. You will also need to adjust the sensitivity on your security lighting if your light fails to sense motion of any kind.

Change the motion light sensor from "Auto" to "Test" mode. Depending on the manufacturer of your motion light fixture, your motion control has a test mode on the time switch located on the motion detector, or you must turn the light switch to the motion light off for 10 seconds and then turn it back on.

Aim the motion sensor in the direction of the area you want to cover. Increase the distance of motion detection by aiming the sensor higher. Lowering the motion sensor decreases the distance of detection.

Find the sensitivity adjustment knob on the bottom of the motion sensor. Depending on the brand of motion light, the knob is labelled as "Range" or "Sensitivity."

Rotate the "Sensitivity" or "Range" knob clockwise to increase the motion detection, allowing the detector to sense minor movement.

Turning the knob counterclockwise decreases the sensitivity, causing the light to only detect obvious motion. Consider decreasing the sensitivity if small animals roam the neighbourhood or a tree is in the light's range of motion. The wind could cause the tree limbs to trigger the motion light.

Slide the motion control time switch from "Test" mode back to "Time" mode. If you had to turn your light switch off for 10 seconds and back on to start the test mode on your motion light, the light will automatically reset itself after five minutes.

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About the Author

Cecilia Harsch has been writing professionally since 2009. She writes mainly home improvement, health and travel articles for various online publications. She has several years of experience in the home-improvement industry, focusing on gardening, and a background in group exercise instruction. Harsch received her Certified Nurses Assistant license in 2004. She attended Tarrant County College and studied English composition.