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How to Change Outdoor Light Bulb With Sensor

    Security lights with motion sensor settings are very common in this day and age. They are used for many reasons, such as security and as a deterrent to stop anyone from entering your property.

    They are also great for helping families with pets. The motion sensor light can be activated when your pet goes out at night. They are also used to add some light front yard and paths if you happen to be coming home late at night.

    Like all lights, whether indoor or outdoor, motion sensors or manual, they do not last forever. They too can have issues, and one of the most common issues with these outdoor motion sensor lights is the lightbulb burning out. Because of the way outdoor lights with built-in sensors are structured, if the bulb burns out it can be difficult to replace. It is not like a typical light fixture where you can just reach up and turn the bulb to get it out.

    Outdoor motion sensor lights usually have fittings around them and tend to be fixed to the wall. As well as this, the bulbs used may be slightly different from the bulbs you are used to using in your indoor lights and light fixtures. As if that wasn’t enough, there is also the added issue and risk of the light turning right back on when you fit the new bulb and stunning or blinding you in the process. Luckily for you, that’s where we come in. We have the ultimate guide to changing an outdoor lightbulb from a light with a motion sensor.

    Step By Step Guide On How To Change The Lightbulb on Your Outdoor Motion Sensor Light

    We wanted to keep this guide as straightforward as possible so you know exactly what you need to do to get your lightbulb safely changed, and exactly what order you need to do it in.

    1. Ensure the power is turned off, either via the breaker or the electric point if you have one for it
    2. Take off the outer cover. This is typically made from glass or strong, durable plastic. You may need a screwdriver for this if it is bolted on.
    3. Locate the bulb (or bulbs) inside and remove them. Please be careful in case they are still hot. Wear gloves or use a cloth.
    4. Put the old bulbs to one side. If you are up a ladder to reach the light you should come back down carefully, palace the bulbs somewhere safe, and go back up the ladder with the new bulbs.
    5. Insert the new bulbs carefully into the fixture, ensuring you have a cloth to hold them or that you have gloves on.
    6. Replace the light cover and screw it on if necessary.
    7. Turn the power back on and go outside to check that the light is working as it should by walking slowly in front of it.

    Our Top Tips For Changing Outdoor Sensor Light Lightbulb

    As well as our detailed and comprehensive guide to changing the lightbulb on your outdoor motion sensor light we gave you above, we thought that you would likely benefit from a collection of our top tips to bear in mind when you are changing these kinds of bulbs in the future.

    Safety First – Use a Clean, Dry Cloth or Small Towel

    No, this isn’t to wipe the stress-sweat off your brow! Whenever you handle any light bulb, you should protect your hands first! Even if the light bulb burned out earlier in the day, there is no telling how hot it is going to be. Anyone who has ever made the mistake of accidentally touching a lightbulb that is turned on or has recently been put out will be able to vouch for us when we say that these things can get mighty hot! Protect your skin first! As well as this, you may be surprised (or not) to find out that the heat of your skin and the natural oils you have in your skin can affect the lightbulb. Oily fingerprints can cause your fresh new lightbulb to prematurely burn out, resulting in you having to repeat the changing process more frequently. You should also note that gloves may work well too, provided they are clean and dry. Your oily gardening gloves or wet kitchen gloves will not suffice in this instance. You should also take due care to handle the bulb (both the old one and the new one) gently and carefully. After all, they are made from very thin, fragile gas and pose a risk to you if you smash or damage them.

    Locate The Main Fuse and Turn Off The Power

    As you may know, there is not typically a power off or power on switch for automatic lights or motion sensors. Sometimes there may be an overriding switch that you can access, in which case, ensure that you switch it off so that the light doesn’t suddenly come on. However, in most cases, you will need to turn the power off at the breaker for you to deactivate the outdoor motion light sensor. Locate this and shut it down, but make sure that you locate the correct breaker, or else you could end up shutting down the power for your whole house! When you are satisfied that the outdoor sensor light has been sufficiently deactivated you can carry on without the risk or worry of being blinded by the bright light or electrocuted.

    Two Birds With One Stone – Change Up The Sensitivity

    Use this as an opportunity to get two jobs done at the same time (killing two birds with one stone as the old saying goes). Now that you are up close and personal with your outdoor motion sensor light, you can finally get the sensitivity adjusted to something that suits you better. For security purposes, people tend to have the light set in the most sensitive setting possible. Of course, this may not suit you and you may be sick of being awoken by a bright light in the middle of the night only to find that a passing bird or raccoon triggered it! Take the time to play around with the sensitivity settings whilst you are up there changing the bulb – you’ll be glad you did!


    As you can see, changing an outdoor lightbulb from a motion sensor light does not need to be a stressful experience. With a few simple tips and tricks, and our detailed, comprehensive guide, you’ll be a whizz at changing these pesky bulbs in no time.