DIY: Automatic Closet Light

Our walk in closet lighting has been a problem for a few years. You see, the single bulb light is a pull chain type fixture. There is no switch on the wall to control it. Those fixtures are rather cheap. I have replaced the pull chain several times and I am not sure what it is but they don’t seem to last very long. I was fed up having to replace the pull switch and I was determined to add a wall switch to the light fixture to lessen the hassle of replacing the pull chain switch every year. While at the hardware store I passed by the outdoor lighting section and a light literally turned on above my head. That’s when it hit me. What if I installed a motion-detecting light that would automatically turn on and shut off when there was no more movement in the closet? This would solve a two-fold problem. I was as guilty as my wife of leaving the light on on more than a few occasions.

After looking around I had gathered materials for wiring a wall switch with a motion detector integrated into the switch. As I started to make my way back through the outdoor lighting section, a device wrapped in entirely too much plastic caught my eye. The device was a screw-in lighting fixture with a built-in motion detector. It was not going to be a pretty solution but I would not have to fish electrical wiring through the walls. Who even looks up at the light in a closet anyway? The only time I look up there is to change the bulb or switch. I replaced incandescent bulbs with LED bulbs a couple of years ago so I have not had to replace a bulb since then. Now, hopefully, I will not have to replace a switch.

Motion activated lighting in our closet.
Motion activated lighting in our closet.

I did have to leave the glass bulb off the fixture, but again I am going for usability not looks in this case. I just screwed the new motion detector in the light fixture, made sure the pull chain switch was on and screwed in the bulb. The motion detector has a user selectable shutoff timer. I set it to shut off after one minute of inactivity. It took a couple of weeks of learning not to reach up to pull on the chain. I shortened it to a stub so we would not accidentally pull on it. My wife has commented that I should have done that upgrade sooner. Now I have plans to add the detectors to the bathrooms. My daughters are always leaving the lights on in there. Those will be the wall switch type detectors.

Hope this is useful and I have linked to some related products below. Every purchase goes to help keep this blog going.

Thanks for reading!

First Alert PIR725 Motion Sensing Motion Activated Light Socket

iRainy E27 LED Infrared Motion Detection Light Sensor Pir Warm White Light Bulb Lamp Auto Switch Stairs Night Light-5W

QPAU E27 5W Infrared Motion Light Bulb, Warm White

Lutron Maestro Motion Sensor switch, no neutral required, 250 Watts Single-Pole, MS-OPS2-WH, White


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