Everything You Need to Know About Smart Light Bulbs
Smart home technology is truly starting to take off. More and more homeowners are opting for the convenience offered by things like smart doorbells and locks, smart thermostats and other home automation technology. You can even find smart refrigerators and ovens. Today we’re going to focus on smart light bulbs so that you can understand what they are, how they work and the benefits that they provide.
What Is a Smart Light Bulb?
Smart light bulbs are similar to any other LED bulb. The difference is that smart light bulbs have built-in connective technology that allows you to control them remotely from the connected app on your smartphone or tablet. If you have a smart home hub, you can also use this to control the bulbs.
Most smart bulbs are designed to communicate with your home’s Wi-Fi network. However, you can also find smart bulbs that use a different communication protocol such as Bluetooth, Zigbee or Z-Wave.
The majority of smart bulbs use a hub that you connect to your home’s Wi-Fi router. Some bulbs have the connected hub built-in, but these tend to be quite bulky and may not fit in many of your light fixtures. There are also some light bulbs that are voice-activated. If you use a home assistant like Amazon Alexa, Siri or Google Home, you can use this to control the bulbs with the sound of your voice.
Smart light bulbs can be controlled remotely, which means you can turn them on and off even when you’re not home or without getting up from the sofa. Most bulbs are also dimmable so you can adjust the strength of the lighting at the push of a button. Some bulbs also have built-in motion sensors that will automatically turn the bulb on when someone enters the room. There are also more advanced bulbs that even allow you to change the color of the light. Smart LED light strips are also available and work the same way as other smart bulbs.
Smart Bulbs vs. Smart Light Switches
Smart bulbs are usually recommended for use in light fixtures that are not connected to a switch such as table lamps and reading lights. You can also use smart bulbs in most wired light fixtures. However, this does have a number of drawbacks. For starters, smart bulbs can be quite a bit more expensive than regular LED bulbs. Another issue is that if you have multiple bulbs in the same room, you will still have to control each one individually. For this reason, it is usually best to install a smart switch instead.
Smart switches offer the same benefits as smart bulbs and work in a similar way. The smart switch is connected directly to your home’s electrical system and it works to toggle the power on and off just like a normal light switch. The difference is that a smart switch also connects to your Wi-Fi network so you can control it remotely.
Another alternative is to install a smart outlet, which enables you to turn the power on and off to the outlet remotely. If you have a lamp connected to the outlet, using the smart outlet would enable you to control it in the same way as a smart switch would your hard-wired light fixtures.
The only issue with smart switches and outlets is that, unlike a smart bulb, these are not something that you can install on your own. Doing any electrical work on your own can be extremely dangerous. This is why you should always contact a professional electrician if you want a smart switch or outlet installed or need any other electrical work performed.
How Are Smart Light Bulbs Installed?
Installing a smart light bulb is basically the same as changing out any other light bulb. If the bulb has the connective hub built into it, all you need to do is put the bulb in the light fixture, download the connected app and you’re ready to go.
If the bulb has a separate hub, you will need to first connect this to your router. After connecting to the app, you can give each bulb a unique name so you can easily identify which is which. From there, it is up to you how you want to use it.
For instance, you can set the bulb to motion detection so that it will turn on whenever anyone nears it. This can be useful for lighting your path to the bathroom at night, and you can also use this technology as a security light outside your home. You can also set up a schedule so that the bulbs automatically turn on and off at certain times of the day. In this way, you can ensure that the outside of your house is lit up when you get home after dark.
The Benefits of Smart Light Bulbs
If your home still uses regular incandescent light bulbs, switching to smart bulbs can result in some serious energy savings. As with other LED bulbs, smart bulbs will use anywhere from 25% to 80% less energy than incandescent bulbs. They also use less energy than compact fluorescent bulbs.
Smart light bulbs can also contribute to energy savings in other ways. Some smart bulbs include geofencing technology. This means that the bulbs can be set to automatically shut off if there are no connected devices within a certain distance of the home. As a result, any lights that you accidentally left on will automatically shut off after the last person leaves the home. Geofencing can also automatically turn the lights on when you get within range of your Wi-Fi network.
Even if the bulb doesn’t use geofencing, you can still use the app to turn off and lights that you forget to shut off. If you want to make sure that your driveway or yard light is on when you get home, you can use the app to turn the lights on when you’re on your way home instead of having to leave the light on all day.
Most smart bulbs are also dimmable. Not only does this allow you to adjust the lighting to suit the mood, but it also reduces the amount of energy the bulb uses.
Smart light bulbs tend to be more expensive than any other type of light bulb. Nonetheless, the energy savings and convenience that they provide can still make them well worth the added cost.
Smart and other LED bulbs also have a much longer lifespan than incandescent or compact fluorescent (CFL) bulbs. Incandescent bulbs typically have a maximum life of around 2,000 hours. CFL bulbs are much better and should last for around 20,000 hours. On the other hand, smart bulbs can easily last for more than 50,000 hours before they need to be replaced. Even if the light is on for eight hours a day, this means the bulb could potentially last for well over 15 years before it needs to be replaced.
Expert Electrical Services
Brennan Electric has been providing outstanding electrical services to residents of the Seattle area for more than 30 years. If you’re looking to have smart lighting, outlets or switches installed, we’ve got you covered. We also specialize in electrical repairs, and we even install home EV charging stations. If you’re interested in upgrading your home with smart technology or need any other electrical service, give us a call today.