How to Adjust the Sensor on an Outdoor Security Light

Michael Davidson

Security lighting is a popular supplement or replacement to a home security system. Lights are positioned around the exterior of a home and have either light- or motion-sensitive sensors on them that will activate the light when a certain threshold is reached.

This allows the lights to turn on automatically when it gets dark even when you are not home or for a light to come on if someone is walking close to your house. Sensors sometimes need adjusting, and it is easy to do.

  1. Inspect your light. If you do not need a ladder to reach your light, it is probably too low since a burglar could easily disable it or break the bulb.

  2. Remove any dust or dirt that could be interfering with the sensor. Make sure the sensor is not blocked before you adjust its sensitivity. Wipe away any dirt with a soft cloth.

  3. Aim the light to the position to you want. If the light is aimed at a heat source (such as a vent) or another light, the light may be getting false readings and turning on unnecessarily even on a low setting.

  4. Check the owner's manual for your particular light regarding the sensor controls. Some will have a sliding switch you can adjust to turn the sensor sensitivity up and down while others are controlled by a screw that you can turn with a screwdriver.

  5. Have someone else walk in front of the light while you are still on the ladder to test if the sensor is at the sensitivity you require. This is for motion sensors. For light sensors, wait for it to get dark. Adjust the sensor again as needed.