Dusk to Dawn Outdoor Lights Instructions

Updated February 21, 2017

Dusk to dawn lighting is used by a number of homeowners for safety purposes. Dusk to dawn lights on the outside of a home help eliminate the threat of burglaries or trespassers. The lighting is easy to use and comes on automatically at night and goes off during morning sunrise. Having a dusk to dawn light saves you the trouble of turning a light on each night and then off in the morning.

Locate your home's circuit breaker panel. The panel houses all of the electrical breakers that help power your home's exterior and interior. Turn the power off at the breaker. If you are unsure of which breaker turns off the current light you may have outside, see if the light comes on when the switch is moved to the on position.

Remove the current light from where you want to place the dusk to dawn light. Use a screwdriver to unscrew the screws that stabilise the light in place. Untwist the wires from the old light to where they connect to the house. Check the wires for any cracking or dark spots that show signs of burning. Replace the wires if necessary using new electrical wire in place of the old.

Take the dusk to dawn light from its box or casing. Twist the new light's wires together with the wires from the house. Make sure the wires are connected as they were before, matching up each colour with the other. Usually, white goes to white and black wires are paired with blacked wires. The last wire goes to whatever colour is left.

Insert the wires into the hole or pipe that goes to the house and place the new light in place. Make sure the light's casing is intact around the connection where the wires go. Line the casing up with the screw holes and then insert the screws and tighten them in place with a screwdriver.

Turn the circuit breaker back on. The light should have a sensor over it that can detect changes in light, which will trigger it to come on once it is dark and go off at dawn. You can place your hand over the sensor to make sure the light works or wait until the sunsets to see it work automatically. Check the wires with a voltmeter if the light does not work.


Consider trimming tree limbs if the light comes on too early. Lights placed in dark areas will come on later than those placed near direct sunlight.

Things You'll Need

  • Dusk to dawn light
  • Screwdriver
  • Screws
  • Electrical wires
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About the Author

Corey Morris has been writing since 2009. He has been a reporter for his campus newspaper, "The Rotunda" and is the publication's news editor. His work focuses on topics in news, politics and community events. He is pursuing a Bachelor of Science in political science and mass media from Longwood University in Farmville, Va.