Best way to make lights stay on when you're spending an extended amount of time in a room

I have two rooms in my house that I rarely go in. The lights are set to turn off if there’s no motion for 5 minutes. The reason they’re set to this low is because I have cats that routinely explore these rooms throughout the day, and if I leave it on for longer, these lights end up staying on way longer than needed.

When I do end up spending an extended amount of time in these rooms I’m usually pretty motionless and/or out of view from the motion sensor and do not want to change its placement.

My question is this: how can I configure these rooms differently to allow the lights to stay on longer when I’m in there?

I thought about creating a mode for “in office” that turns the light on, but I don’t know where I’d configure the light to stay on and disregard its the motion sensor’s rule to turn it off if there’s no activity for 5 minutes.

Note: all of the programming I did on my house was done 10 months ago on the older version of the app and I haven’t touched it since then. I’m very lost as to where some things moved to, so if you can give specific tabs that settings are on, that would be great!

@automatedmatt You could use more that one motion sensor, especially with the price point (and size) the Iris sensors are at. I did what you are trying to do in our sitting room. I have one of those small Iris sensors on a bookshelf right next to a couch, and it picks up the slightest movement. Between that sensor, and another that covers the entire room, both have to show no motion to turn off my lights.

And to your note about where to do it - I’m using Smart Lighting automations for many, many, scenarios like yours. If you’re still on hub v1, but app 2.x and still have the Lights & Switches dashboard, it can be done there too. If you decide to go with a second motion sensor, I can help you with either way of getting this done.

I think the key to this will be identifying a second thing that you do when entering/leaving or when in the room, and then setting the lights to only turn off if both conditions are satisfied. Some examples that come to mind:

  • If you currently turn on a reading lamp or appliance when in the
    room, put it on a smart energy switch that detects current draw. Then
    set the lights to go off only if current draw = zero AND no motion within 5 minutes.
  • If you open a drawer, door, or window when in the room, place an open/close sensor on it and only turn off lights when it is shut/closed AND no motion within 5 minutes.
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@automatedmatt Did you get this sorted? I’m having a similar problem in my living room. I have the ceiling fan triggered to come on by a motion sensor which is placed to cover the room.

However when I’m laying on the couch reading a book I may fall asleep and the fan will come off within x mins of no motion.

Is there a routine I can use to keep the fan on?

This is a good question and one that is frequently discussed in the forums. You’ll probably find the following thread interesting (this is a clickable link)

@JDRoberts Thank you very much.

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