The building I used to work in had light switches that could detect people
entering and exiting a room. When the person count reached 0 it started a
timer and switched the lights off when that timer expired. Someone entering
would cancel that timer.
The system was good but not foolproof. No one entering or exiting the room
for a long time would fool it for some reason and the lights would turn off
and you'd have to get up and turn them back on. That could of been by
design as a sort of failsafe in case it's count did get confused, I don't
Nevertheless they did a good job at addressing the problem you've got. I
don't have any info on the particular model but knowing they exist is 80% of
Home Depot and most electrical suppliers have a sensor-driven switch that
detects when there is movement in a room, will turn on the lights when it
senses movement, and turn off the lights after a certain period in which no
movement is sensed. The sensor replaces the normal switch, fits into a
normal box, and looks like a wall plate with a tiny bay window. I tried
using one in a family room, and discovered that if you were sitting and
watching TV or eating brunch there wasn't enough motion to keep the sensor
active. OTOH, an office in which I work uses sensor switches in all rooms,
with the lights coming on when you enter and turning off about 15 minutes
after the last person leaves. We replaced one sensor switch that had failed
last week -- the replacement is ~$90.00.
Not a light switch, but I use this -
It's made by First Alert. The downside is that it only stays on a
certain period of time, and continued motion within the room doesn't
seem to keep the light on. It works well in the hallway where I don't
need the light to stay on and if I need to turn it back on, a wave of
the arm handles it. OTOH, the manual is available at the First Alert
site, and says the light goes off 4 minutes after movement stops, so
maybe mine has a problem, but I find the timing sufficient for what I
need. What might be a bigger problem for many people is that you can't
put a cover on the bulb; it needs to be a bare bulb.
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