Times have passed when only the very wealthy could afford a smart home system. Now you don’t have to buy the whole multi-thousand dollar installation. You can start by controlling just the light in your front window, or the air conditioner, or the television, or whatever appliance you want.
One of the most popular entryways into smart home living is through smart light switches. Hubs and lights are a popular bundle because the lights can teach you how easy it is to control your home. You can even pair most smart lights with an Amazon Echo to control your lights through Alexa. voice commands.
Depending on the brand and what type you start with, you will be able to control a light’s brightness or color as well as simply turning them on or off nor scheduling when they turn on or off when you’re away. One of the most common type of smart lighting nowadays are smart switches.
What Are Smart Switches and What Are Their Uses?
Smart switches are like the normal light switches you have at home except for the extra features. It allows you to have better control of not only your lights but your other fixtures as well such as ceiling fans and air conditioners. Reducing the time your air conditioner or fan is working will also shave money off your energy bills
Most smart switches do not require hubs and would only need a Wi-Fi connection. With this, you will be able to control your fixtures no matter where you are. Whether you are at home or traveling to the other side of the country, you’ll be able to set schedules on when you want your lights to turn on and off. Another great thing about this device is that it can give you extra security.
For example, when you are away from home, you can schedule the lights in your home to turn on and off at certain times or at random intervals to make it appear that there is someone in the house. With this feature, you will be able to scare off any potential intruders or burglars.
Some smart switches are also compatible with Alexa-enabled devices which lets you control the fixtures in your home with the use of your voice. Other brands that are more on the expensive side will also include extra features such as dimming capabilities, built-in speakers and microphones, IFTTT (If This, Then That), and full color touch screen.
However, for those that have no experience with electrical wiring, setting up a smart switch can be a bit difficult. If you prefer to install it yourself without bringing in help from an electrician, then you can read this guide on how to install and use a smart switch.
Installation and Use
Most smart switches can be connected to Wi-Fi, while some require a hub or can only be controlled using Bluetooth. For smart lighting, switches are considered the more complicated route because you will need to do a bit of wiring, unlike bulbs and plugs that you only need to attach.
Because of this, make sure to follow the necessary steps above in order to successfully install and use a smart switch without a help of an electrician.
If you do decide to install one yourself, here are the steps you’re most likely to need to follow:
- The first and most important step is to turn off the power from the main fuse box to avoid getting yourself electrocuted.
- Next step would be is to determine whether the smart light switch you have requires a neutral line. This is important because most electric boxes, especially from old homes, does not have this. If the smart light switch you have does require one, and you do not have a neutral line in your electric box then you would need to add one first. If you completely have no experience with wiring, then you may require an extra help.
- Remove the light switch you currently have and take note of each wire by either taking a picture of it or labelling each of them to avoid confusion when attaching your brand new smart light switches.
- After attaching the wires on their corresponding lines, you can now place the switch on the wall.
- Once everything is in place, you can now put the power back on and toggle the switch to check if it is working.
- Next is to connect the switch to your phone and in order to do that you would need to install an app which can be found on Google Play or App Store. The name of the app would differ depending on the brand of smart switch you have.
- Once you have downloaded and launched the app, there will be steps you would need to follow in order to successfully pair you mobile phone to the smart switch.
- When you have finally paired your device, you can now configure the settings and customize it depending on what you like. You can control it remotely, set a schedule, and more.
- If you will be installing multiple smart light switches, do not forget to change the name of each one on the app so that controlling them will not be confusing.
Take note that installations may differ depending on what brand of smart switch you have. There will be some smart light switches that would require hubs and some that can only be controlled using Bluetooth.
Automating your home can be a bit hard especially for those who are just starting out. A great way to begin your home automation journey is with smart switches.
Despite the name, smart light switches not only let you control the lights in your home but other fixtures as well such as air conditioners and ceiling fans. You can control them remotely, setting a schedule on when you want them to turn on and off, and some can even be connected to Alexa which lets you control them with your voice.