How to Control Dawn to Dusk Lighting

Written by marlene inglis
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How to Control Dawn to Dusk Lighting
Illuminate your home with indoor table lamps. (lamp image by TEA from

If you're concerned about dark, unlit areas around the outside of your home, or prefer to keep certain rooms lit while you're away or asleep, you might consider installing dawn-to-dusk lighting. Your resulting safety and security will offset any increase in your energy bill.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Motion-detection switch
  • Screwdriver
  • Plug-in tabletop timers
  • Landscape solar lighting

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  1. 1

    Turn off the power at the light switch and shut off the electrical power at the breaker panel.

  2. 2

    Use a screwdriver to remove the screws from the switch plate and the wall box. Pull the switch gently from the wall with your thumb and forefinger.

  3. 3

    Use a screwdriver to disconnect the black (hot) wire and the white (neutral) wire of the old switch from the wires in the electrical box. Disconnect the ground metal wire in the same way.

  4. 4

    Connect the green ground wire of the motion-detection switch to the metal ground wire of the electrical box; then connect the red wire of the motion-detection switch to the white wire of the electrical box; then connect the black wire of the motion-detection switch to the black wire of the electrical box. Attach screw caps to the ends of each of the three wires.

  5. 5

    Tuck the motion-detection switch into the electrical box, keeping the plastic sensor panel of the motion-detection switch at the top. Fasten the new switch to the box with the two wall-box screws. Turn the power back on and test the new switch. Replace the switch plate and screws.

  1. 1

    Choose a timer. Read its programming instructions.

  2. 2

    Program the timer according to its instructions.

  3. 3

    Plug the timer into the wall, then plug your light fixture into the timer.

  1. 1

    Use screws to secure lighting units to poles, gazebos or other structures in your yard you wish to illuminate.

  2. 2

    Press the metal or plastic pointed parts of the solar lighting unit firmly into the ground in a spot that receives several hours of daylight. Use as many solar lights as needed for the area you wish to illuminate.

  3. 3

    Keep solar lights away from tall trees or shrubs that can block the sun.

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