Can I Use Motion Sensors in Stairwells?

Updated February 21, 2017

Stairwell motion lights take care of the lighting hassle many families face. Whether you're carrying a load of laundry down the stairs or it's a staircase that's rarely used and you don't want to risk leaving the light on, there are reasons why people may hesitate to flip the switch and turn the light on. However, when you have motion stair lights, the light turns on and off as needed without any effort on your part. Stair motion sensors also increase safety because you can easily see each step you take.

Light Switch Motion Sensors

Light switch motion sensors have a motion sensor built into the light switch. When you walk by the light switch, the motion sensor detects your presence and signals for the light to turn on. After the motion sensor stops detecting movement, the light will turn off automatically in about five minutes. Light switch sensors are easy to install--you install them just like a regular light switch--and they require no maintenance. Light switch sensors help you save energy because there's no risk of leaving the light on when you're done, and infrared sensors are reliable for detecting movement.

Ceiling Sensors

Look for light fixtures that come with a built-in motion sensor to serve as your motion stair lights. Or, if you have a working light fixture, you can install a motion sensor light socket. The motion sensor light socket screws into the light socket of your existing light fixture, and you can screw your light bulb into the socket on the motion sensor. Ceiling motion sensors will detect your movement whether you're at the top of the stairs or at the bottom, and the light will turn on and remain on for the duration of time you walk up and down the stairs. Like the light switch motion sensors, ceiling motion light censors will signal the light to turn off once there's no movement for a designated amount of time.

Baby Gate Motion Sensor Lights

Baby gates are necessities at the top and bottom of staircases if you have small children. These gates install where the stairs begin and end to keep babies and toddlers from accidentally falling down or climbing up the steps. Some baby gates offer the feature of a motion sensor light built in. No longer do you need to flip on the light when carrying a sleeping baby up to its room, or try to fumble your way in the dark. As soon as you approach the stairs, the motion sensor on the gate turns the light on, and that light remains on until the sensor no longer detects movement after 90 seconds.

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About the Author

Kristan Hart is an award-winning journalist in Springfield, Mo., who provides SEO web copy as a freelance writer/editor. She has a decade of experience and holds a bachelor's degree in mass communications with an emphasis in broadcasting.