Four Things to Consider when Installing Smart Switches

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Everything seems to be getting “smarter.”  Old technologies like room lighting are developing to increase control and function. This leads to lighting being more efficient, easier to maintain and more energy efficient. Now, the humble light switch has recently joined the ranks of devices that can integrate into a smart home system. In fact, the light fixtures are a great place to start when you want to transform your traditional home into a smart home. Before you enlist the help of smart lighting to control the light in your home, there are a few things to consider:

 

Are you buying the right technology for your home? – Smart light switches, smart plugs, and even smart light bulbs are available. It takes some thought on what you want to buy before you spend your hard-earned money.

  • Smart plugs turn a regular lamp with a regular bulb into a smart lamp that can be turned on and off from anywhere.
  • Smart bulbs can be installed in traditional light fixtures for remote control of the bulb itself. Some bulbs can even change color and intensity on-demand.
  • Smart switches control lighting from the wall similar to traditional lighting. However, switches require a more involved installation and replacement of existing switches whereas smart bulbs and plugs can be installed in seconds.

 

What lights do you currently use? – You must check that the light bulbs you are going to use to determine if new smart switches are compatible. Most switch manufacturers offer a compatibility tool to find out if what you’re currently using needs to be replaced. Also, you should take into account any other smart devices currently installed in your home to make your smart switch is compatible for integration.

 

How much will it cost? – Smart switches (truly, any smart home device) are not cheap.  Traditional switches are only a few dollars at the hardware store. But at an average retail cost of about $65, smart switches are a significant investment. This doesn’t include the time and expense of replacing all the existing traditional switches currently installed. Also, the wi-fi network in your house must have the bandwidth to handle all the rooms in your house communicating with each other as well as all the current devices and smart technology in use.

 

Who will be helping you control the lights?  Amazon Alexa? Google Assistant?  Siri? – When you shop for smart switches, be sure to know what service they will integrate with. It’s pretty cool to be able to use voice commands to tell an Alexa-enabled speaker or Siri to “turn on the kitchen lights” or “turn off all the lights” over using an app on your phone.

 

Upgrading your house from a traditional one to a smart one is a wise decision; however, the options and technology can be daunting.  Lighting Solutions can help you assess your lighting situation and develop a budget-conscious custom solution to best fit your needs!