What Can Smart Switches and Light Plugs Do For Your Home?

“Siri, how much water did I drink today?”

“Alexa, what’s on TV tonight?”

“Google, turn off the lights!”

You know the drill. We’re all starting to talk to ourselves under the guise of speaking to our smart speakers and voice assistants. There’s nothing at all wrong with this, but it’s a future no one could have conceived even a decade ago. Smart speakers were cool for creating grocery lists, but that’s just a fraction of what they’re capable of now.

Your computer friends can control your lights and outlets from anywhere now. How cool is that?

The Power of Smart Switches and Plugs

Smart switches and plugs are among the most underrated components of a smart home. In fact, they’re a cheap way to get into the smart home world if your home wasn’t built with this type of equipment in mind.

They’re simple to install and essentially disappear after a few days. After all, they’re just boring plugs and switches, right?

Well… that’s one way to look at it. But, then again, how long do you go in a day without interacting with an outlet or a switch? Are you using either right now?

Behold the Handy, Hidden Household Helpers

If you really think about it, you use outlets and switches all the time for a wide range of reasons. Smart switches and smart plugs are no different, they’re a frequent touch item in your home. But they’re so much more than power regulators. Smart switches and plugs can do things for your household like:

  • Making mornings tolerable. Most people have heard of the coffee pot that’s powered using a smart outlet. You fill it up at night, then your programmed smart outlet switches on in the morning and starts the coffee cycle. It’s a popular trope, but it’s also a real thing… so you have that to look forward to.
  • Proving peace of mind. Whether you’re across town or across the state, it’s not a great idea to advertise that you’re not home at night. Your smart switches and plugs can be programmed to flip on and off at different times to make it appear that you’re just hanging around the house.
  • Conserving resources. Believe it or not, a lot of homeowners find that they save a lot of energy with smart plugs. The better units have use reporting built in, all you have to do is check your app to see which ones are using up the most juice. Create a schedule for those plugs, then check your usage again in a few months. Adjust the whole thing as necessary.
  • Creating a safer indoor environment. Are you the kind of person who doesn’t like to walk into a dark house, even when it’s yours? Then smart switches and outlets should definitely be on your shopping list. You can turn all the lights in the house on when you pull into your subdivision or driveway, making it clear that you’re home, in case any ghouls (or burglars) happen to be lurking.
  • Assisting people with handicaps. You may not need the help now, but even a debilitating sports injury can be enough to make you want to scream when you forget to turn a light on or off and are already across the room. For people who are permanently disabled, that’s an every day event. Today with the help of Siri, Alexa and Google Home Assistant, all anyone needs to do is shout, “Siri, turn off the kitchen lights!” and it’s a done deal.

Those little almost-invisible switches and outlets are pretty busy, looks like. They’re also an inexpensive way to jumpstart your smart home transformation. For example, if you wanted a way to turn your bedroom’s ceiling fan light off at night, you would save a bundle to install a smart switch versus using smart light bulbs and the switch won’t burn out any time soon, so bonus!

Ready to Make a Move Toward a Smarter Home?

Even if you have an older home, you can start transforming it into a smart home with switches and outlets. Every home and family will have different needs that a smart home can service, but due to the dizzying array of equipment out there, it can help to speak to a home pro about your plans. Not sure where to find one? Start in your own backyard with HomeKeepr. Your real estate agent can recommend a smart home consultant or installer to help you pick the right bits and pieces to build the perfect, smartest home on the block.

Modernizing Your Home Security

Technology can will wake you up in the morning to your own personalized display screen, adjust your room temperature, turn on your lights and operate other household functions. What next?

As technology evolves and becomes more affordable, homeowners should consider replacing their older equipment with a completely new security system, rather than patching together outdated units that provide specific functions in isolation.

A modern system will wake you up in the morning to your own personalized display screen, adjust your room temperature, turn on your lights and operate other household functions. When you leave the house, wireless technology will allow you to watch your property, both inside and out, from any number of computing devices. This means you can also program household functions from afar.

These newer residential security systems can coordinate a wide range of functions by remote control, from locking windows and closing the garage door, to adjusting the thermostat, drapery and lighting. They can even notify you if a room has been entered or a cabinet has been opened. Commercial-type closed-circuit television cameras (CCTV) with live video feed are also being introduced to residential systems in many average-sized homes. In addition, these modern systems coordinate driveway and doorway cameras (connected to your home computer or TV), monitor for break-ins, provide smoke and CO2 detection, and include water sensors for the detection of a burst pipe, leaking water tank or an overflowing tub.

In the near future, residential video surveillance will distinguish pets from people, and even burglars from letter carriers. The latest CCTV cameras can identify intruders using motion or heat sensors or even activity pattern recognition (e.g. climbing a fence or jimmying a lock).

Photo by Luke Chesser on Unsplash