A Quick And Easy Way To Avoid Entering A Dark Home
Most people that I know have a front entrance light that goes on automatically when it gets dark. They also typically have a motion detector controlled light that turns on when they pull into the driveway. Garage door openers will also light the garage for a few minutes after it opens or closes. But the typical family will walk into a dark foyer, kitchen, mudroom, pantry or whatever the first room is, upon returning home at night. There are a few easy solutions to increase your safety and convenience without leaving lights on unnecessarily when you're out.
I solved the problem of my family bumping into things in a dark pantry while coming in from the garage many years ago. Using X10 technology, it was very straightforward to have my outdoor garage spotlights turn on the interior garage and pantry lights when motion in the driveway turned the spots on. The way this stuff works is really neat as any light switch can be replaced with a light switch that can be controlled remotely in addition to at the switch itself. The only additional item needed is something to send the switch an On or OFF command. The commands can get sent from a variety of different controllers, fixtures, remote controls, motion detectors, or even your computer. The ON or OFF command to these switches travel to the switch right in your existing wiring. There are even modules that you can plug a lamp into which come in handy for lamps of course; but they're also great for someone who's not comfortable changing a wall switch.
My initial solution required an X10 spotlight that sent out signals to the garage and pantry light switches. These were originally conventional switches and it took just a few minutes to replace them with an X10 switch. That was all that was necessary to automate the pantry and garage lights. It even allowed me to adjust how long the lights remained on. That solution worked great until the kids grew up and would play outdoors at night. As much as this created the nuisance of the garage and pantry lights going on unnecessarily and forced me to change the system, I included that scenario here because it may work great for many people and it required a minimum of components.
The better solution works extremely well but needs some different components. The same switches used in my original solution stayed in place. I added a very inexpensive motion detector in the garage. It's a tiny device that can be placed anywhere and the batteries last a few years. It sends out a wireless ON command whenever it detects motion in the garage. The device to receive this wireless command is a little box that plugs into any outlet in my home and then relays the command to the light switches through my house wiring. I also get to control how long the lights will be on for. This solution works great on the front door as well. Weatherproof motion detectors are even available so you can place it just about anywhere.
It's also very simple to have that motion detector activate a camera and even record who is coming into your home. X10 manufactures a variety of products that work together to enhance your lifestyle and provide security. These technologies have been around almost 30 years and are proven, safe, easy to use and inexpensive. You can let your imagination run wild with all of the things that you can do. Have fun!