Switch Your Ways: How One Device Changed My Entire Life

One Small Device Changed My Life, My Marriage and My Future

by Marvin Jolly

There are certain experiences you might have had that changed the course of your life.  Retrospectively, you look at a tipping point and know that your journey will never be the same.

These life points might be events such as finding your life’s purpose, meeting your soulmate, or aligning your faith for eternal destiny.

While I have had each of those three experiences personally, there is one additional epiphany that created nothing less than a renaissance for me.

What is it, you ask?

Occupancy (motion) sensors. On light switches. In key locations in our home.

motion-sensor-occupancy-switch-lutronThat’s right. Motion sensors. Those unique switches that aren’t normal switches, pictured to the right. 

Like THIS.

How did this life experience come about ?

It goes like this:

My wife and I moved into our newly constructed home. By day two, we realized that we loved our spacious walk-in pantry. And we had ‘walked in’… and out several times… per day, per hour.

Because one of my life goals is to demonstrate on a daily basis to my wife that she has superior ‘spouse-selection’ capability, and that I do, in fact bring a high level of value, I made a suggestion.

“You know what would be great?” I  asked. “We should get a motion sensor light switch for the pantry.”

My wife seemed interested in the idea of walking in and out of the pantry with hands full on a mission and having the light  automatically turn on. The more we discussed the concept, she actually became extremely interested. We even started thinking about other places that motion sensors would be helpful.

Imagine walking into the laundry room with a full basket of clothes. No need to attempt the elbow angle on the light switch or risk dropping the basket. The light would simply come on when we walked in to the room!

laundry-motion-sensor-occupancy-switch-lutron

The master closet could be great. Again, carrying clothes in from the laundry room or dry cleaners would be a cinch. And taking clothes out to the bedroom or to pack for a trip would be easy and no attention paid to turning on the light.

And the garage. Just think how great it would be to walk into the garage carrying tools or  luggage and the light is no concern. Or arriving home late at night, and while the garage door opener light certainly comes on automatically, the amount of light isn’t the best and the timer could be an issue. And what if the garage door opener automatic light has a bad bulb? You’re in the dark. A motion sensor in the garage would provide more light for security, and it would be a backup to the current status.

This motion sensor idea was becoming BIG.

As we began visioning our utopia, we imagined how great life would be when we would one day walk around our home and effortlessly turn on lights simply by being there.

We talked about energy savings as the light would automatically turn off after some time. And resale value. I’m sure a future buyer could see the value in a series of motion sensors throughout the house.

Life was going to be better than ever before, all because of occupancy sensors !

Then my wife’s curiosity turned cold for some reason. Maybe it was the part where I mentioned that I could easily install the motion sensor switches myself, saving us time and money.

[Note: We do not recommend installing your own electric switches without proper training, experience and safety protocols in place. Seriously.]

She was open-minded yet less than enthusiastic.

I made a trip to Home Depot and purchased three switches.

Upon my return, I installed the first one. The pantry. The process took about 20 minutes from start to finish as I took my time and double-checked all the steps.

how-to-install-a-motion-sensor-light-switch-3

It worked great.

Then I installed the laundry room switch and the master closet switch.

Again, success and success.

There was a second Home Depot trip for the garage switch. After installation, it worked like a charm.

So it’s true. Occupancy sensors have indeed changed my life, my marriage and my future. I am a huge fan of the devices. It is fairly safe to predict that I will recommend them to my real estate clients upon their home purchase. We will also most likely have occupancy sensors in any future home(s) we have. 

My wife and I now walk into ALL rooms waiting for the lights to come on (even if there are no motion sensors in place). We get more done in less time with less hassle. Life is easier. We’re happier. The little devices have improved our marriage dynamics. Think about it. In addition to just being happier people with lower stress, I was able to contribute an idea and some personal sweat equity into making life better for my wife.

In the pioneer days, men built cabins on the prairie to provide shelter for their families and the men were appreciated and seen as protectors and defenders of the family. It’s EXACTLY the same thing when you install a couple of light switches….right ??

hero-husband-motion-sensor-install-occupancy-switch

Here are a few quick tips if you would like to change your life by upgrading to motion sensors in your own home:
  • Consider hiring a pro. If you value your life and the property occupied by your family, it’s probably best to get an electrician to install your motion sensor. We recommend Eschevarria Brothers Electric at 972-533-1617. Cost is approximately $150.
  • The units in our home are the LUTRON Meastro available at Home Depot.  Cost ranges from $19.99 to $39.99 depending on amperages and single pole or three way applications. You can also find them at Lowe’s, and other manufacturers, such as Eaton may have comparable products.  Details on the models, options and uses can be found HERE.
  • If you feel like you are qualified to do electrical work safely in your own home and would like to get some information on the details of the unique installation, there is a good video HERE. Just be safe. We do not encourage the Do-It-Yourself approach.
Regardless of who installs them, where you purchase them, or where you put them, trust that ‘Occupancy Sensors Are Life-Changing’ !
Go. Change your switches and change the world !

Marvin Jolly is a real estate broker, trainer, consultant and business coach. He currently serves as Regional Vice President for the Texas Association of REALTORS and leads a team of real estate agents specializing in North Texas.

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