I chose the Lutron occupancy sensor switches with XCT sensing technology because they’re easy to install and get great reviews. The installation is easy and takes less than 15 minutes. Just turn off the circuit breaker, remove the old switch (Photo 1) and connect the new occupancy sensor switch. The two black wires connect to the wires from the electrical box. The switch isn’t polarity sensitive, so it doesn’t matter which black wire goes to which existing switch wires—the Lutron switch doesn’t need a neutral wire (Photo 2). The bare and green wires connect to the ground wire in the electrical box (Photo 3). Then just fold the wires into the box and mount the switch with the screws provided (Photo 4).
The Lutron occupancy sensing switch is factory programmed to turn off lights after five minutes of inactivity, but you can change the programming to suit your needs. For example, you can set the “timeout” to turn the lights off at 1, 5, 15 or 30 minutes. Plus, you can change the motion sensor’s sensitivity. I left the motion sensitivity at “high” in the family room because the kids like to read or listen to music with the lights on. Lutron’s XCT technology detects that kind of minor movement and keeps the lights on while they’re active. The only caveat is that the sensor can only detect motion that’s within the sensor’s line-of-sight. I also activated the unit’s daylight-sensing feature in the family room switch because that room gets plenty of sunlight during the day and I don’t want the lights on. However, the switch does have a learning feature; if you think there’s not enough daylight and want the lights on, just tap the switch and it’ll learn your preferences.
For the hallway switches, I changed the sensitivity to the low setting since I only want those lights on when there’s major movement. There’s also a vacancy mode, where you manually turn on the lights when you enter the room and the switch turns off the lights when there’s no longer any motion. I didn’t use that feature on any of the switches.
The programming procedure is easy—just press and hold one (Photo 5) or both buttons (Photo 6) and count the number of flashes. Let go when the flashes correspond with your preferences. Change the programming at any time by removing the switch cover plate and repeating the procedure.
The switches I installed were single-pole, but Lutron also offers a three-way occupancy sensor switch and one with occupancy sensing and dimming capabilities. The single-pole version sells for about $20 at home centers, and Lutron occupancy sensor switches are available in 27 colors.
If you’ve got family members who leave lights on and you're tired of nagging them, install Lutron occupancy sensor switches. You’ll save money and eliminate stress.
— Rick Muscoplat, Contributing Editor
This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of LUTRON. The opinions and text are all mine.