Instead of fumbling for your keys in the dark, install a motion-sensing light switch to automatically turn the light on for you – and save energy at the same time.
Time: 20-30 minutes
Cost: $10-$150, depending on the light fixture you choose
Tools: Screwdriver, circuit tester, wire nuts
Turn off the power to the circuit at the service panel. Flag the fuse or breaker switch with a piece of tape to make sure no one turns the power back on while you're still working.
Take down the existing light fixture by removing the screws that attach it to the house. Gently pull the fixture away from the wall and use your circuit tester to make sure the power is off.
Disconnect all the wires from the old fixture and completely remove it. If a crossbar was used to hold the fixture to the outlet box, remove it too.
If the light you purchased has its own crossbar, insert the two threaded screws through the back.
Then attach the crossbar it to the outlet box using the mounting screws.
Gently pull the black, white and ground wires away from the junction box.
Connect the black wire from the light to the black wire from the house. Twist the ends of the wires together and secure them with a wire nut.
Then connect the white wire from the light to the white wire from the house, and secure them with a wire nut.
Connect the ground wire from the light AND the ground wire from the house to the crossbar. Your new fixture might have a ground screw supplied specifically for that purpose.
Now, carefully tuck all the wires back into the outlet box. Make sure none of the wire connectors comes loose, and make sure that bare wires are not exposed in the process.
Attach the fixture to the cross bar by placing the screws through the holes in the wall plate, and secure them on the front of the wall plate with the ball nuts supplied.
Install the light bulb (for extra energy savings, use a compact fluorescent bulb), attach the cover, attach the finial - and the installation is complete!
Turn the power back on and adjust the motion detector. Most models have has a pair of screws or a slider that control the sensitivity and how long the light stays on after detecting motion.
To keep the light in top working order, you may need to clean the lens of the detector with a soft cloth every month or two.
Please note: These "do-it-yourself" guidelines are provided as an overview, and should not be used as the sole instructions for a home improvement project. Always read and follow the manufacturer's directions for the products you choose. Alliant Energy cannot be held responsible for injuries or damages resulting from these instructions.