Evaluation: The Lutron MS-OPS2 Occupancy Sensor Switch - The Silicon Underground

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I installed a Lutron occupancy sensor switch this weekend. It detects you entering the room, turns the lights on, then turns them off 5 minutes after it detects no person is within the room. The timeout interval is adjustable. It comes in 4 models: MS-OPS2-WH (white), -AL (almond), -LA (light almond), and -IV (ivory) and retails for $29. Set up was surprisingly easy-it took about quarter-hour, which is about how long it takes me to vary a daily switch, and in contrast to most models in its price range it really works with trendy CFL and LED lighting, but I recommend some prep work forward of time. It solves a real downside. Most days once i come home, every mild in the house is on. I know why. I have two younger boys who can’t attain the lights, in order that they can’t turn them off and on themselves. However besides that, they’re demanding. My spouse goes down to the basement to get one thing, turns on the light or lights she wants, comes back upstairs, and can’t flip the lights off because her hands are full. The bathroom lights stay on most of the time because the boys can’t reach. I go back around and turn the lights off, but let’s face it. Even though I make a acutely aware effort to show off lights, several unoccupied rooms within the home stay lit even when I’m house. Lutron claims its switches can prevent as much as $25 a yr. We’ll speak about that math in a bit. However there’s a caveat. Before you purchase one, double-check your mild switches. Most computerized switches require a ground connection, and it’s solely been in comparatively latest years that electrical codes have required ground wires on light switches. In older homes, it's possible you'll discover there is no such thing as a ground wire. If the light change is in a metal box, the steel field may be grounded, but you can’t essentially assume that. If there’s no floor wire, use a unique swap. My dwelling dates to the early 1960s but has been renovated a minimum of twice. Some of my switches have the bottom connection and some don’t. I've metallic boxes at lots of my switches, which are supposed to be grounded. In some circumstances, I can see they are, however you can’t assume all metallic boxes are grounded. At my rental house, built in the 1950s, some are and some aren’t. So test first, before you purchase a bunch of switches, find they won’t work for you, and have to return them. The upside to the MS-OPS2, versus many others prefer it, is that you simply solely want the two wires that go into the switch, plus floor. Many similar switches need the white neutral wires too, in addition to ground in fact. Putting in is definitely a bit of bit easier than swapping a standard switch. Turn off the breaker field (essential), then take away the outdated switch, straighten the wires, attach one wire from the outdated change to one of the black wires on the Lutron with a wire nut, then attach the other wire from the old swap to the opposite black wire with a wire nut, then attach all the bare floor wires in the box to the naked ground wire on the Lutron and the inexperienced wire. In some circumstances you might have an even bigger wire nut than the ones the Lutron consists of. You may manually flip the swap off and on using the big pushbutton. I put one in my basement, and it detects me from 15 ft away. It makes an audible click on when it turns on the lights, but the press sounds very like some other light switch. The last regular swap I purchased is quieter than the Lutron, but it doesn’t hassle me. I put one other one in my L-formed kitchen. If I can see the switch, it sees me and turns on the sunshine. Opening a door won’t journey the switch, as it makes use of an infrared sensor that a door won’t journey. You'll be able to regulate the default settings utilizing directions included in the package deal. For instance, you possibly can modify the timeout to 20 minutes if you’re involved about the longevity of your CFL bulbs. You may as well allow a daylight sensor, so it doesn’t automatically turn the lights on if there’s already plenty of sunlight within the room. To determine what the Lutron may prevent, estimate how many hours a specific light stays on. Calculate the wattage of the bulbs. Multiply these two numbers, then multiply by 365. Divide that number by $1,000 after which multiply that quantity by what you pay per kilowatt/hour of electricity. Ten or eleven cents is a good estimate, when you don’t know. 11. I get $14.45. With the Lutron, the bathroom lights would in all probability be on less than 2 hours per day. 11. I get $3.61, for a savings of $10.Eighty four per year, which suggests it will pay for itself in less than three years. You’ll understand further savings from the increased life expectancy of the bulbs and a slight lower in your cooling costs throughout the summer months. If the life expectancy of the bulbs doubles or triples, $2 per yr is an inexpensive tough estimate. If you use greater bulbs than me, the payoff would be faster. And if you still have incandescent bulbs, the payoff can be a lot faster. If your house wiring allows you to put in these switches without much difficulty, they’re a great vitality-saving and quality-of-life upgrade. The one thing you’ll want that doesn’t come in the package deal, apart from a screwdriver and needle-nose pliers of course, is a GFI/decora-kind plate the identical measurement as the one it’s changing. You possibly can take a look at it as an excellent funding, too. I can’t consider many issues-let alone things that value lower than $30-that give me a 30% return on investment every year. The cost of bulbs will come down over time, in fact, but the cost of electricity goes nowhere however up. I’ve done quite a few other things to help me save power over the years. Most are fairly inexpensive. I put in thermal blinds and thermal curtains. Then I insulated my electrical outlets and added child security plates. In fact I use LED bulbs. I also insulated my sizzling water pipes.