Can Light Trigger a Motion Detector: Three Little Known Facts

Motion Light

Even with the best security system on the market, glitches and problems can still occur. One of the most common issues is when a motion detector is triggered by something other than motion. Sometimes these sensors seem to alarm when there’s nothing there. This may cause them to turn on a light or other device—like a camera—that they’re programmed to activate when they detect motion. So, why does this happen? Is it “seeing” something that’s not there? There are several explanations, and most of them are easily fixed.

What Could Be Triggering Your Motion Detector

First, it’s important to consider that light may be triggering the motion detector. Because motion detectors sense patterns of light and shadows to determine whether there’s movement in the area it’s covering, it makes sense that those same changing light patterns could be enough to set off the motion detector and the other devices it’s connected to. Other naturally occurring incidents that can set off your motion detectors are random patterns, such as sunlight through moving tree leaves, dust being caught in a sunbeam, or slow-moving light changes, such as the sun moving across the sky. While these instances usually aren’t enough to cause a motion detector to go off, you shouldn’t rule any of them out.

Therefore, a motion detector’s placement is critical, as it may end up being triggered by something that doesn’t count as motion at all. This can lead to many false alarms and cause a homeowner undue, avoidable stress.

Motion Detectors See More Than Just Movement

A motion detector sees movement, but it relies on what that movement is doing. Namely, the changing light or shadow levels as they pass or move in the sensor's range. Because the sensors rely on these movements, it’s possible that the way a tree is blowing in the wind and casting patterns on the carpet can be enough to set off a motion detector. This can be frustrating, but the solution is usually just to move the motion detector to another location where it’s not picking up on light or shadow patterns that cause false alarms.

However, if you absolutely need a motion detector in that specific spot, then you may need to turn down its sensitivity. Additionally, you could get heavier blinds or curtains that would diminish the light pattern. It’s a simple fix that could easily reduce false alarms and give you peace of mind.

What Can Set Off a Motion Detector: Other Suspects

Still wondering what can set off a motion detector? Another culprit is…heat.

Some sensors can track infrared radiation. This means a motion detector will be able to detect a light that has been turned on because of a shift in temperature. If there is a change in heat, your detector will react and alert you. To counteract this, consult the user manual for your security system to adjust settings and minimize false alarms triggered by temperature changes.

How to Adjust Lighting to Reduce False Alarms

With a security system that includes a motion sensor light with a camera, adjusting lighting to reduce false alarms matters. That can be done in several ways that don’t involve curtains or blinds. Removing objects that are reflecting light or causing patterns is one of the ways to do that, such as moving a tree whose leaves are creating issues or relocating a troublesome mirror. It is a good idea to brighten your interior spaces to keep your home well-lit during the day to reduce the contract between indoor and outdoor light sources, minimizing false alarms.

Let Brinks Home ™ Help Address the Issue

If you’re covered by Brinks Home, we may be able to help you adjust your lighting and motion detectors so that false alarms become a thing of the past. There’s always the potential for a glitch to occur, and sometimes the sensor may still trigger, but it should be a lot less likely to happen after adjustments have been made. Contact Brinks Home today to establish how you can get your equipment properly working for you and your loved ones.

Brinks Home offers award-winning home security solutions, including motion detectors, indoor cameras, smoke detectors, and smart locks. As a trusted name for over 160 years, over 1 million Americans trust their home with 24/7 professional monitoring from Brinks Home.

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Monitor every corner of your home with award-winning home security from Brinks Home. From motion detectors and indoor cameras to smoke detectors and smart locks, we have best-in-class equipment that keeps you and your family safe. We’ve been protecting homes and empowering our customers for more than 20 years, with locked-in rates and customizable packages that give them control over their home security… And because we don’t believe our customers should have to pay for things they don’t want, you can make sure you only have the products that are right for you.

Interested in professionally monitored home security? Contact Brinks Home for a free quote today.

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