Automating your home lighting brings several benefits. It enables you to keep your home secure, reduce the chances of family members having accidents, simplifies your life, and helps you to improve the ambiance of your home.We go into more detail about the benefits later, but first, we want to explain the different ways you can automate the lights in your home.
Surprisingly, there are several ways to do it. Having a choice is great, but when you have too many options to choose from, working out which is the best can be tricky. To simplify things and help you to decide which option is best for you we have put together this guide.
Home automation light switches
One of the best ways to automate the lights in your home is to swap your existing light switches for smart ones. Doing so gives you the highest level of control.
You can easily connect them up to home automation hubs and most Wi-Fi security systems. Using this option also means that you can use any bulb you want. This is important if you can only read under certain types of light or have older lamps or light fixtures that you still want to be able to use.
Installing automated light switches is simple
Modern automated light switches are extremely easy to install. Usually, all you need to do is to turn off the power in your home, remove the old switch, and screw your Wi-Fi enabled light switch into place.
Connecting them to the web is usually easy too. You just need to download the App to your phone, and following a simple, fast step-by-step process.
Once they are connected, you can use your Smartphone to turn your lights on or off. If the automated light switches you have bought have a dimmer built-in, you can also control the amount of light in your room from the comfort of your armchair.
If you are not sure if this type of lighting is right for you, why not dip your toe into the water by buying and installing a single home automation light switch or plug? This will allow you to try the system out and give you a light that you can turn on and off remotely if you have to work late. This will help to make it look like you are actually at home, even when you are not, which will make your property less likely to be targeted by thieves.
Smart home lighting
The other way you could go is to install smart light bulbs. Most of the major lighting manufacturers make them, so they are easy to find. For example, a lot of people prefer the GE smart light bulb.
Installing them is easy. All you need to do is to swap your existing bulbs for smart ones. At least that is the way it should be.
In reality, the fact that most smart lighting products are slightly bigger means that you cannot use them everywhere. For example, if you have wall lights, you may find that the smart bulbs are too long or wide to fit your existing fixtures. The other problem is that most smart bulbs are A-shaped, so it can be hard to find bulbs that can be fitted to older lamps and lighting fixtures.
Incorporating automated lighting into a Wi-Fi home security system
Another important consideration when buying smart bulbs is how you want to control them. If you already own a Wi-Fi home security system, you may be able to connect your smart bulbs up to that and control them using the app that you use for your security cameras and other sensors. However, if you decide to do that, you need to check that the make and model of bulbs you buy are compatible with your Wi-Fi home security system.
Canary’s home security system is compatible with most devices, making it a great choice for those new to home automation.
Connecting automated lighting to a home automation hub
Another way of controlling this type of automated home lighting is to connect it up to a home automation hub. If you connect them to something like the Amazon Echo, you will be able to use your voice to control your lights. This is great if you want to dim the lights to create a comfortable ambience you can do so from the sofa.
These standalone bulbs are a particularly good option if you are not sure about where in your home you want to set up automatic lights. The fact that you can move them from one light fixture to another one allows you to experiment.
Plugging lights into smart outlets
Another way you can automate your home lighting is to invest in some Wi-Fi power sockets, like the TP Link Smart Plug. Using these, you can potentially turn any electrical device into a smart home appliance.
Installing these sockets is not difficult. You just have to turn the power off, remove the old socket, and wire the smart home socket up. It is not a difficult job, but if you do not normally work with electrics, it is wise to get an electrician to do this for you.
However, smart plugs like the TP Link are really easier because you just plug them into an existing outlet.
Once you have set up the sockets you just need to connect them to the Wi-Fi using the provided app. You will then be able to turn any one of those sockets on and off, whenever you want, regardless of where you are.
Help an elderly relative carry on living independently
If you have limited mobility, living alone can be tricky. You need to be able to see what you are doing at all times. If you trip over something, it could be many hours before anyone can come and help you up.
In this situation, installing some automated lighting is an especially good idea. It means that you can turn your lights on from the safety of your chair. That way you do not have to walk across a dark room and risk tripping over something on the way to turn the light on.
Take a look at our recommendations for specific smart home lighting products here.