Smart light switches

Smart light switches

A smart light switch is a technologically enhanced light switch that allows for more control of your homes lighting by enabling things like app control, scene saving, motion sensing and more. It acts as another access point for your home’s smart lighting without sacrificing functionality.

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What is a smart light switch?

A smart light switch looks and feels like a traditional light switch but is equipped with advanced features to enhance control options. The main difference is that smart switches are network enabled, meaning they connect to WiFi or a hub giving you an array of capabilities, including voice control. Their installation process is almost identical to their traditional predecessors, making them easy to integrate. The design of the switches varies, most of them have extra buttons and rockers for more specific control. Others include sensors and light indicators.

Do smart light switches work with traditional bulbs?

Smart lights switches can work with traditional bulbs but with limited functionality. Whatever fixtures the switch is connected to, you'll be able to turn on and off, and dim. However, scene setting and other smart features will require smart bulbs and network enabled fixtures that are compatible within your specific ecosystem. Ensure that the switch you purchase will work with the fixtures you have in your home.

What do smart switches do?

Smart switches add an extra layer of convenience to your home. Although the main function is the same (turning lights on and off), a smart switch is able to connect to a network or hub, unlocking a plethora of features that enable more lighting options. Here's an overview of the main functions a smart switch brings, in addition to its traditional functionality.

Comprehensive dimming: Smart switches bring more expansive dimming, allowing for more precise adjustments. However, dimming depends on the bulb that the switch is controlling. Some will dim traditional bulbs but you'll gain the most control with smart bulbs.

App control: Each smart switch will come with an accompanying app from their brand. App control is particularly useful when you aren’t up and about but want to adjust the lights from where you are. The dimmer switch acts as the intermediary between the app and your fixture or bulb. Connecting allows you to control your lights from your couch or bed. You can also set schedules and create scenes in the app.

Sensors: Some smart switches have sensors. This can come in the form of a motion sensor or touch sensor. Smart switches with a motion sensor integrated will detect movement and turn on the light that you have configured with the sensor. For example, a motion sensing switch can be installed in the laundry room so you don’t have to worry about turning the lights on and off when your hands are full. Touch sensors are just another intuitive way of controlling your smart lights.

Smart bulb compatibility: Smart switches obtain the most functionality when they are connected to a smart bulb. Depending on your ecosystem, you can connect multiple smart bulbs to one switch, so multiple lights are adjusted at a time. This also unlocks remote capability, allowing you to control your lights from wherever you are, thanks to the network enabled devices.

Scene saving: Many smart switches have extra buttons and some of these are usually reserved for scene setting. Scene setting allows you to save your favorite lighting scenario in a button. For example, you can save a certain brightness or color and assign it to a button for quick access. You can also save scenes with multiple bulbs. Have one button reserved for turning on both the kitchen and living room lights and have another button for turning off the kitchen light and dimming the living room, to get ready for chilling on the couch.

How to install smart switches

Smart switches replace your traditional light switch, so you'll need to connect your homes wiring to get going. Smart switches require a neutral wire or neutral line to function. Most homes built after 1990 will have a neutral wire but older homes may not which will make using a smart switch impossible. Double check your homes wiring to make sure it has the proper electrical system to power your smart switch. When installing, always ensure that the electricity is turned off. You’ll need a screwdriver to remove your old switch and install the new one. Wires can be identified by color, each of which identify the type of wire. Make sure you know the wire code in your area.

Are smart switches energy efficient?

Smart switches enable energy efficiency with your lighting systems. Features like scheduling and motion sensing will help maintain energy saving lighting habits. It'll also help to ensure you don’t forget to turn your lights off which will keep your energy bill low and your environmental footprint small.

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