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Lamps Plus Tip: Outdoor light sensors have two primary functions: security and energy conservation. A light-level sensor can help building owners by turning lights on when it gets dark and turning them off again when the light returns. Lighting the outdoors with motion sensors is useful in cases where household members are frequently in and out at night, or where any unexpected lights-on will be investigated. They're not as effective if a burglar can see that no one's going to notice if they go on. In such cases, always-on low-voltage outdoor lighting may provide better security. Outdoor light timers are useful if you want the lights to go off or on at a specific time -- for instance, if your Christmas light display should shut down at 11 p.m. to avoid wasting electricity.