Smart Switch Advantages & How to Use Them
Learning how to use a smart switch isn't difficult, even for the least tech-savvy person. If you're considering making your home "smart," a smart switch is an intelligent first step towards getting your home connected.
Devices are considered "smart" when they are Wi-Fi capable. A smart home is one where the lights, appliances, and other devices are connected via a private Wi-Fi network and accessible through a smartphone, tablet, or PC. It allows you to interact with devices remotely and control them with voice commands, too. Now, let's dive a little deeper into the technical world of smart switches and lights to see how things work.
What is a Smart Switch?
A smart switch is an instrument that makes the appliances or devices in your home Wi-Fi capable. When your home is connected to Wi-Fi, you can control many things remotely, even when you're not home. Here are some examples of things you can do when you have a smart home:
- You can accept deliveries by opening and closing your garage door for the delivery man merely by tapping an icon on your smartphone.
- You can tell who's at your front door and answer it remotely. Is it your Aunt Sarah visiting from another state? Unlock the door and let her in!
- You can make your morning coffee by telling your coffeemaker to start brewing.
- You can control your thermostat from afar, even from hundreds of miles away. If you own a vacation home, this is good news.
Smart switches don't need special wiring. They’re easy to install, and each switch manufacturer provides instructions on how to do it. In a nutshell, you swap your new switch with your old, then power up your device and connect!
If you’re building new construction, your home could be pre-wired to take advantage of smart technology depending upon your builder's available options. Existing homeowners can purchase smart switches to replace their existing ones at home improvement stores.
Benefits of Smart Switches
Does all this talk about technology have you thinking of upgrading to smart switches? There are some exciting benefits to smart switches. Even non-techies will want to embrace smart technology. Consider these advantages:
- Security - A key benefit of smart switches is security. You never want to advertise that you're away from home, but nothing announces your absence more than having all the lights off. The ability to turn your lights on and off while you're away is essential.
- Energy Efficiency - You can program your home's lighting so that your lights aren't left on when nobody's home, or you can turn them off from your smartphone.
- Convenience - Voice activation allows you to control your lights with words and phrases. Now, you don't even have to walk across the room and flip a switch.
- Ambiance - Dim the lights with a voice command, and never miss a beat while entertaining family and friends.
- Flexibility and Control - Never worry again about what's happening back at your home. You can control it from anywhere you can use your phone.
The possibilities are exciting! Next, let's talk about smart light switches.
Smart Light Switches
The foremost thing to know about smart light switches is that they connect your light switch to your Wi-Fi network. If you live in a pre-built home, most likely your light switches are standard, meaning they're not capable of connecting to your Wi-Fi network. You'll need to upgrade to smart light switches so you can control them remotely and enjoy the smart technology benefits.
If you're building a new home and your builder offers smart home wiring, he may have a selection of switches you can choose from. If you're upgrading an existing home, you can purchase smart light switches at your local home improvement store.
Installation is simple. With a few turns of a screwdriver, you take out your old switch and replace it with your new switch. You can upgrade your home's switches a few at a time or all at once. If you choose to upgrade gradually, any lights without smart switches won't be on the network, of course.
Smart Light Switch Apps
Smart light switches can be controlled individually with your smartphone. Or, for convenience, you can use a hub like Amazon's Alexa device to tie them all together and control them with one app. Whichever way you decide to do it, it's the smart switch app that allows you to manage your smart lights.
Using this new technology can improve your life because these apps solve problems. Here are some of them:
In the past, forgetting to turn off the lights on your way out would have meant higher electric bills. Now, with the tap of your finger, you can turn your lights off from anywhere.
- Do you ever work late? Never be intimidated about arriving home to a dark house. With smart light switch apps, you can turn on your lights before you arrive.
- Do you have kids? Let them drift off to sleep without turning the lights off when leaving the room. You can program their lights to dim slowly, a life changer for parents of children who are afraid of the dark.
It may seem space-aged, but the future is here today with smart technology.
Want to find out more? Read about other ways smart home technology can make your life easier.
Contributed to Your Home blog by Carol Youmans
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