How to Install an Occupancy Sensor Light Switch

Got your hands full? Don't drop everything just to find the switch. This light switch's smart sensor will turn on the lights for you.

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Stop fumbling in the dark. Install an occupancy sensor instead. These smart home must-haves automatically turn the lights on when you enter the room. Plus, they automatically turn off when you leave, meaning less wasted energy if you forget to flip the switch on the way out the door.

Occupancy sensors are also easy to install. On most outlets, the task can be completed in 15 minutes or less. All you need are a few simple tools and access to the outlet's circuit breaker.

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What You Need

  • Screwdriver
  • Occupancy sensor (we used a Lutron Maestro occupancy sensor)
  • Wire caps
  • Occupancy sensor switchplate cover, if desired

Step 1: Turn Off Power

Turn off power at the circuit breaker for the room or outlet where you'll be installing the sensor. Flip the switch on and off to confirm the power is out.

Step 2: Remove Switchplate

Remove existing switchplate cover with a screwdriver. Then unscrew and disconnect the standard switchplate. Remove wires, one at a time, paying attention to the existing wire placement.

Step 3: Connect Sensor

Connect the occupancy sensor to the outlet, one wire at a time. The green and bare copper wires from the switchplate attach to the ground wires in the outlet. The black wires from the switchplate connect to the black wires in the outlet. Cap off any remaining wires with wire caps. 

Editor's Tip: Carefully read the manufacturer's instructions for your sensor before installing, especially if you're installing the sensor on a dual-circuit switch. You may need to connect the wires differently.

Step 4: Screw In Sensor

Once the wires are all connected or capped, push them back into the wall. Screw the sensor switchplate into place with a screwdriver. Attach sensor switchplate cover, if desired. Restore power at circuit breaker.

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