Clap On, Clap Off


indoor digital wall switch timer for outdoor lights

If you replaced your normal outdoor bulbs with Halloween bulbs, you will discover something annoying. You have to remember to turn on the outdoor lights at night and turn them off before you go to bed. Here’s a simple tip: install a timer switch for your outdoor lights. I don’t mean one of those timer you plug into an outlet. I’m talking about a timer that replaces your light switch (see photo).

The timer isn’t just for Halloween and Christmas lights. You can also use the timer to control your lights when you are out for the evening or out of town. We actually got our timer to light up the porch to discourage pranksters. We live in a fairly good neighborhood, but had problems once or twice at night. Ever since we turned on our porch lights, we have not had any more pranksters.

princess m as a toddler in an oregon state beavers cheer leader outfit

The timer is very easy to install, just remove the old switch and replace it with the timer. You only need to connect two wires and you don’t need to figure out which wire is the hot wire and which one is the common (unless you have a three way switch). This is very important: don’t forget to turn off the power at the fuse box first. Otherwise your hair could look like the one in the photo on the right.

I purchased my digital timer for $20 at Home Depot. I saw another one for a dollar less. You don’t want that one. It has a rotary knob for setting the time and for programming the switch. If you have to change one item, you have to reset everything. Very annoying — especially since the sun sets and raises at a different time every day. Eventually you will have to change the on and off time, which means you have to re-setup everything again. The digital timer lets you set each item separately. You can even set it to automatically adjust the sunset/sunrise time.

Note: the timer does not work well with fluorescent bulbs.


3 thoughts on “Clap On, Clap Off

  1. I’ve done this three times now… I even did it in our rental house (the owner was pleased that I paid for it myself). It gives you a peace of mind, especially when you’re out of town for a few days. Gotta remember to adjust the “on” time for daylight savings next week.

  2. Can you tell me the name brand and model number of the digital timer that you placed? I’ve been looking for something like this and for some reason can’t find one. Please respond to my regular email as I just happened across your page by a search.



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