Like all parents, I spend a lot of time telling my daughter to turn off the lights. This is particularly true when she’s in her brightly-lit room in the middle of the day. With the light on. For no discernible reason. So when Lutron approached me to partner with them about a potential solution, I couldn’t wait to try it.
So, what could possibly help my daughter remember to turn off the lights when she’s not using them? Well, short of magic, not much. But the next best solution is to take her memory out of the equation altogether by installing something that would do the remembering for her.
Lutron makes a bunch of products to help us keep our homes in the best light possible. The Lutron Occupancy Sensor and Dimmer is a replacement for your standard light switch that does exactly what the name implies: It senses movement in the room and turns — or keeps — the lights on. With no movement after a time, the light goes off. The switch also has a dimmer, which works with any dimmable bulb, as well as incandescent and halogen bulbs. That feature is really handy for a number of reasons that I’ll explain in a bit.
First, we had to figure out where to put the switch. The kitchen was my first thought, because I HATE coming back downstairs late at night to turn off the light when I forget. But that location wasn’t ideal, because the kitchen switch is actually on a wall that faces the living room. Which means it would stay on whenever someone was in the living room.
Instead, we decided to put the switch in the upstairs hallway, which would make coming downstairs at night a lot easier. The switch was super simple to install with the included instructions. After turning off power in the whole house, my husband handled it in about 10 minutes.
We did have to go buy a new switch plate cover, but I love the sleek new switch, and I love how it functions.
The sensor is pretty sensitive and it can detect movement even from inside the rooms it faces. Here’s a better shot of the location.
It’s at the top of our stairs, between all the bedrooms and the second bathroom. It actually senses us about halfway up the stairs, so we never have to remember to turn it on at night. The default setting is for the switch to turn off after 5 minutes without movement, but it can be set for longer. It can also sense daylight, so it stays off when we have all the bedroom doors open upstairs and it is bright during the daytime.
The only tricky spot was the light turning on late at night when my husband or I go downstairs. The hallway light is just bright enough to wake up both the baby and my oldest, and the light is immediately in front of the baby’s room. This is where the dimmer comes in handy. The switch is programmable, so at night, I turn the dimmer almost all the way down. That way, there’s just enough light for us to navigate the stairs, but not enough to wake up the kids. This is especially true when I’m sneaking downstairs long after bedtime to move our Elf on the Shelf to her new position for the night.
The switch has been really handy thus far, and I’m planning to get another one for the bathrooms, where my daughter also leaves the light on entirely too often. Paired with a dimmable LED or compact fluorescent light bulb, we’ll be able to save on energy literally without lifting a finger.
Win a #BestLight home upgrade
Want a chance to automate your home the same way? Lutron is giving away a $2000 smart home upgrade. Just submit a photo, video, or caption showing how light is important to you during the holidays at the contest website or by using the #BestLight hashtag on Twitter or Instagram.
Disclosure: I received product and compensation from Lutron to facilitate this review and for my time and effort in writing this post. As usual, all opinions are my own.