POSTED ON October 29, 2019
One of the first pieces of smart home technology that many homeowners invest in is smart lighting. With increased convenience, customization options, and cost savings, it’s easy to see why! But with so many options on the market, it can also feel complicated to get started with smart lighting solutions. This article will help simplify the world of smart lighting solutions and give you a starting point for implementing it in your home.
One of the many benefits of smart lights is that they make life more convenient and efficient. Imagine if your lights turned on with your alarm in the morning? Or if you could program them to dim in the kids’ bedrooms at bedtime? Or if you could switch up your lighting to better match the movie you were watching? All this and more is possible with smart lighting.
The first step to get started is to decide on the type of hardware that you want to invest in. Below are some of the most popular options on the market.
One of the first places many people start with their smart lighting solutions is by replacing their traditional light bulbs with smart bulbs. But what exactly makes these models so much different than a traditional light bulb? First off, smart home lighting is done with LED bulbs. These are more energy-efficient and last longer than traditional bulbs, but that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
Smart light bulbs are controlled from an app on your phone or tablet. Many models also allow you to connect to voice assistants like Alexa and Google so you can say “Alexa, turn on living room lights.” Using either of these options gives you the chance to set up the lighting in a room without ever having to move. That means less stubbed toes fumbling for the light switch in the dark or arguments about who has to get up from the couch to dim the lights before the movie.
Certain brands like Philips Hue also let you customize the colors of your lights, allowing you to create totally custom scenes in every room of the house. And all major models have the option to set up recurring routines to help automate your home to better suit your needs. The possibilities are endless when it comes to the ways you can customize the lighting in your home with the use of smart bulbs.
Smart wall plugs are an easy and cost-efficient way to get started with smart lighting. They plug directly into your outlets and work with virtually any device. This means you can take your existing lamps and utilize smart outlets to make them run on a schedule, turn on and off with voice assistants like Alexa and control them from your smartphone.
Of course, lighting isn’t the only use for smart home wall plugs. You can also use them for fans, small appliances, computers and more to fully integrate your smart home.
Don’t forget to think about the outside of your home when it comes to smart lighting. There are actually a variety of options available for smart outdoor lighting including path lighting, floodlights, and smart bulbs designed to withstand the outdoor elements. Using any of these on their own, or in combination, will give you plenty of options to customize your outdoor space.
Many of these products also incorporate motion sensors so the lights turn on when your neighbors walk up to your front door or when the kids are playing in a certain part of the yard. And, of course, being able to set your lights to turn on and off at specific times is a huge benefit. Voice assistants also work with most models so you can ask Siri to turn on the porch light before your dinner guests arrive.
A smart home light switch can also help you take your existing lighting setup and add a smart touch. You’ll basically replace your existing on/off switch with a smart one that can be used with an app as a remote control. Smart switches also give you the option to program your lights to run on a schedule or work with voice commands. “Alexa, turn off the bedroom lights.”
There are also smart light switch dimmers available that allow you to control the scene of the room either from the switch itself or from your smart device. One of the biggest perks of still having a physical switch that controls your lights is that family, friends, babysitters, and housekeepers don’t need to have the app to turn on the lights. As you can imagine, this saves a lot of time and frustration.
You will want to partner with a professional electrician before you purchase smart light switches to ensure they work with your current setup. They will also be able to help guide you towards the best brand for your needs.
So now that you know a bit more about the different options for smart lighting, let’s look a little bit further at how it all works and what you want to consider when comparing different brands.
One of the biggest things you need to decide is how you want your smart lighting to connect with your home and devices, with either a Wi-Fi or Bluetooth connection. You should also consider whether or not a model works with your voice assistant like Amazon Echo or Google Home. And, if creating custom scenes in your home is important, you’ll want to look for colored bulbs that give you a wide variety of options.
Many smart home light switches and light bulbs connect via Wi-Fi. One of the benefits of using Wi-Fi controlled smart lights is that you can control the lights in your home from anywhere in the world that you have a Wi-Fi connection. That means you can always make sure a light wasn’t left on when you rushed out of the house, or turn on the lights if you get a notification from your smart doorbell that someone is at your door. With a Wi-Fi connection, you can also have multiple devices connected to the same lights. That means each member of the family can have the app downloaded on their phone without any issues.
The downside of smart lighting solutions that use Wi Fi is that if your internet connection goes down, you lose the ability to control your lights. And, if you have the lighting throughout your home, it could use up a bit of bandwidth slowing down your other Wi Fi connected devices. Wi Fi controlled light bulbs also usually have a hub that you must purchase to control the device, making these a more expensive option.
Another popular option for connecting your smart lighting solutions is through Bluetooth. One of the main benefits of this type of connection is that you don’t need any sort of hub to connect your lights. That means you could go buy an individual smart light and simply connect it with your smartphone. This makes it a cheaper option, especially if you only want smart lights in a few lamps.
The downside of the Bluetooth connection is that you have to be nearby your lights in order for the connection to work. So, you won’t be able to turn lights on/off if you’re anywhere outside your house. Bluetooth also works on a one to one connection, meaning you can only control the lights from one smart device at a time. This can be challenging if you have multiple members in your household or visitors staying over.
The obvious benefits of smart lighting include greater control over your environment and increased convenience by being able to control the lights inside and outside of your home with an app or voice assistant. However, one of the benefits we haven’t yet covered is energy efficiency.
Research from Energy Star shows that lighting uses an average of 12% of the total electric bill for most American homes. Smart lighting solutions reduce this cost by using more energy-efficient light bulbs, running lights on a preprogrammed schedule and eliminating unnecessary use when lights are accidentally left on.
If you’re ready to get started with smart lighting, you might want to consider working with a professional to design a plan for your home. Our team at Super Electric can help you decide which pieces of smart technology will work best for your needs and ensure that everything is installed correctly. If you already have other pieces of smart technology installed or want to put more tech in your home in the future, we’ll also help you ensure it all works together seamlessly.
Contact Super Electric today.