The mission of changing a home’s lighting system can be a pretty daunting undertaking, especially when you consider that the wires connecting the grid may need a few additions or even replacements. However, if you’ve been looking for an upgrade to your home’s convenience and security, smart lighting has all these upgrades in store.
You can have your lights operate alongside motion sensors, timers, and complex centralized lighting systems to open new possibilities for convenience and security.
The game of home automation is open-ended between using the elements of safety for purposes of convenience and comfort. If you’ve never had an automated lighting system, you will ask yourself why when you see it at work.
The system makes things easier in three ways:
Timed Control: Based on your preprogrammed settings, the lights can be taught to automatically switch on when you’re within a certain distance from your home. You can have scheduled intervals for certain sections in your home to remain well-lit or dark.
Dimming Settings: Advanced automated lighting can even let you adjust the voltage levels reaching the modules to create an atmosphere for work, dinner, and events.
Voice-Controlled: Using your voice alone, you can change the dimming levels, timer settings, preferences, and the on and off cycle.
Wireless: As mentioned earlier, automated lighting will require a changing and/or rearranging of in-wall wiring, which will cost you a professional installation by a certified tech. That’s the main problem wireless bulbs solve – that and not having to be at home when you need the lights on or off. Sitting inside the bulb’s driver is a WiFi chip that connects to the main control hub, giving you wireless access and control over the system.
Compatibility: Some - not all - brands of wireless bulbs function just fine with control hubs from different providers. The Philips Hue controller does a great job at recognizing wireless bulbs that weren't built with the same hardware. The most reliable approach, of course, is to have both products coming from the same source.
When you want to ensure your home stays protected while you’re away, active lights are known to be major burglar deterrents. This is due to the fact that burglars prefer spaces with dark hiding spots for them to plan their next course of attack. Well-lit neighborhoods tend to be avoided by burglars, and your home is no exception.
Let's take a look at how you can secure your home with smarter lights without compromising in-home comfort.
Smart Bulbs: The scope of smart bulbs varies from using WiFi-enabled individual modules to a network of bulbs connected through a hub controller. These little guys are easy to install and super convenient when you can’t get up from where you are or want passers-by to think that your home is occupied.
The main advantage with smart bulbs is that you can place them anywhere and have them function instantly without an installation cost. You can even spend the would-be installation money on higher tier smart bulbs that change color or ones that are motion sensitive (for burglars).
Smart switches use the same method of execution as do smart bulbs, only your commands would be transmitted to the bulbs indirectly through the switch's WiFi chip. As is the case with smart bulbs, the scheduled lighting cycle of your choice is not inactive when the switch is turned off. The main problem, although tolerable, is that installing a smart switch requires a little more participation than a smart bulb.
Smart Outlets: Although these can be used by anything with a plug, we're including smart outlets on the list to give you more ideas on how you can automate your home. Smart outlets work exactly as traditional ones only they can be timed, accessed, and controlled with any web-enabled device.
Some homeowners find it easier and more affordable to install an automated lighting system powered from a wall outlet. If that is the way you want to go about it, then smart outlets are a must if you want a true home automation experience. Simply plug in the lights and program their cycle with the swipe of a finger.
Web-Enabled Control: Get access to all the lighting systems in your home no matter where you are. Whether through your smartphone, tablet, or computer, you can control the lights of all the sections in your home.
Motion Activated Lights: While they function a little different from preset automated lights, motion activated lights only turn on when they're built-in motion sensor detects movement within a certain radius. These can be armed and disarmed when needed, and they can be pet-proof. Pet-proof motion sensor lights work by setting the sensor to only detect foreign bodies above a certain weight class to avoid a false alarm.
A would-be burglar who notices an exterior motion sensor light turn on will know that you mean business on the inside of your home and avoid targeting it altogether.
The point of energy efficient strategies in automated lights is to limit the toll monthly bills have on our monthly savings. Below are two qualities of smart lighting that go a long way in lowering those costs.
Monitoring: If you have home automation, the great thing you can do is monitor the energy distribution in your home. A visual representation of where the energy is currently being used can be viewed using the provider's app. With this kind of information under your belt, you'll know exactly when to switch certain fixtures on and off based on your needs.
Dimming the lights even by 10% has huge savings on your pockets. The GE Smart Dimmer (available from Amazon) is compatible with the Z-Wave main hubs as well as some Alexa thermostats. This form of compatibility will come in handy if you decide to subscribe to a professional monitoring service (i.e. Frontpoint, ADT, Protection 1, etc.) later on, as they mostly use Alexa and Z-Wave control units.
Dimming not only creates an atmosphere of warmth and coziness to your home, it also improves the longevity of your bulbs and lamps' supposed dates of expiration. This is achieved because dimming uses less voltage to operate the bulbs, maintaining its durability.
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