I don't think you understand the layout:
This first shot is what I see from upstairs looking down. There
obviously is a light at the base of the stairs but it usually is off.
The second shot is from the other side of that door into the garage from
the living area. The door in the background is into the driveway.
The third shot is of the back wall of the garage from the other side of
the central shaft (where the stairwell is). This back wall parallels
the entire back side of the house and separates the garage from my
workshop. The workshop has its own lighting which is not controllable
from any other place.
The last shot is of the garage from the front. Picture #1 would be on
the inside on the right side of the image; picture #3 would be on the
left and the stairwell is directly behind the center door but is
accessed from the right hand bay.
So the problem was that when I was looking down the stairwell in picture
#1, I couldn't tell if the lights were on in the garage with that door
closed to the stairwell. Don't worry about any of the exterior
entrances to the house; I know upstairs if any of them is open.
Anyway, there is a light switch on the inside of the stairwell at the
bottom; another just inside that front door to the outside; and a third
just inside the workshop next to the doorway into the garage. All of
those switches can control the overhead fluorescent lights in the
garage. Those overhead lights are the ones I'm concerned with; the ones
I sometimes forget to turn off.
Was this clearer?
In any case, I'm going to try a peephole as earlier suggested since
they're only about $4 at Lowes.
Get a Lucite rod from .25 to .75 inches in diameter and however long it
needs to be to pass through the wall or door.
Cut one end at a 45 degree angle and polish with sandpaper. Insert into a
hole between the garage and the stairwell. Position the angle cut end so
that the flat faces the "viewing point" and it will pipe the light from the
garage into the rod where it will be quite visible from the other side.
Or, you can try to local a cheap "ship's prism" somewhere:
Did you put a red reflector lens over it? The color will stand out a
lot more. Use a kids bike reflector. I don't know where your lights
are in relation to the door, and whether the lights have deflectors or
are recessed so not much light is being thrown laterally, but you
could try putting a mirror (concave is too much to ask) in the garage
and bounce light onto the peephole. If that doesn't work, I think you
might be looking at running some wiring. Or running a radio in the
garage that's plugged in on the light circuit, and set up an intercom.
Hmmm....I just had a thought. Maybe you could go through the house
electrical system, install an X-10 module or something like that, and
have a remote switch upstairs. There are also wireless things for
stuff like that, but I've never installed any such.
Oh, and I had one last question - do the doors in your garage have
windows? I can look out my second floor window and see the light
coming out of the garage windows even though I can't see the windows
Nope, didn't try the red reflector but I did try stuffing some fiber
optic rod from a rifle bore inspection light into the peephole. With
all the lights off in the house except in the garage, the rod could be
made out if I stared long enough into the stairwell. I believe adding a
red lense over it will darken it to the point of absolute invisibility.
The lights are two 8' fluorescent tubes in each bay. They have the
standard shop type fixture holding them in place with no cover or
anything else over them.
Seeking out a four way switch with a pilot light is probably my next
If you look at the top of the photo you can just make out the bottom of
the rails to the deck above. There is a screened in porch directly in
front of my bedroom and the rest of the house has a deck that extends
its full length. That isn't going to work for me.
Like I said, I think I'm going to look for a pilot light switch. my
second choice will be the radio idea and the third choice the ship's prism.
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