Why Does My Motion Detector Stay on all the Time?

A porch with a soffit security light and a wrought iron fence in front of it

Installing a motion detector on your property is a great way to keep your home safe. Approximately 60 percent of convicted burglars say they would steer clear of a well-lit home with a security system. But what if your motion detector malfunctions? If your motion light stays on all the time, you can call a professional outdoor lighting company, or you may be able to do something about it yourself. Here are some troubleshooting tips if your motion detector stays on all the time.  

What Causes my Light to Stay On?

Several things can cause your motion detector to stay on, including age, storm damage, a power surge, improper installation, and improper settings. A few issues are easy to correct without professional help.

  • High Sensitivity Setting – If your light’s sensitivity setting is too high, your light may come on for the smallest triggers, such as a leaf blowing in the wind or a speck of dust that settles on your motion sensor.
  • Long Duration Settings – In most cases, your motion detector light should only stay on for 20 to 30 seconds after it’s triggered. However, you can manipulate the settings so it will stay on longer. For example, many lights come with settings ranging from a few seconds to an hour or more. If your duration setting is too long, it may seem like your motion light never turns off.
  • Stuck in Auto-On – Many lights have an auto setting that causes them to stay on all the time. It’s possible that you’ve triggered this mode without even realizing it. Malfunctions can also cause lights to get stuck in this mode.

How to Fix Your Motion Detector DIY Style  

A motion light that stays on all the time does not always require professional intervention. There are some things you can try yourself before calling for help:

  • Test Sensitivity – Adjust your sensor’s sensitivity settings and test them. Run different scenarios by placing or throwing objects to see which ones trigger your light. If the test objects that trigger your light are far away or tiny, your sensitivity setting is likely too high. Keep adjusting until you get it just right.
  • Reset your Motion Detector – To reset your motion light, unplug it from its power source for a full 10 seconds. Plug it back in and allow it to come back on. This should reset your light and turn off the auto-on function.

In addition to doing these things, it is a good idea to consult your manual and double-check the settings and functions on your light. There’s a possibility that your light’s settings simply need to be tweaked a bit or that your unit needs to be reset.

Know When to Hire a Professional

As with all things, there comes a time when it’s best to call a professional to fix your light for you. If your unit is damaged or if you think the problem is electrical, you should always ask for help because fixing it yourself could be dangerous. Furthermore, if you’ve been working on your light for some time and can’t find a solution, call for help. There’s no sense wasting time on something that could be an easy, inexpensive fix for someone who knows more about security lights and motion sensors.

If you need professional help to fix an outdoor motion detector, call Enhanced Outdoor Lighting & Design. They can help you with all your outdoor lighting needs and will even give you a free estimate.