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Here’s How Smart Switches & Outlets Can Improve Your Home

Smart switches and Smart outlets are quickly becoming essential components of any Smart Home. They’re also some of the most cost-effective Smart devices available. You can integrate them with your lights, use them to run your appliances, or control other fixtures—all remotely or through voice command. Here’s what you need to know to start adding Smart switches and outlets to your home.

Smart Switches A Smart switch looks and functions similar to a traditional light switch or dimmer. It can control anything it’s connected with including appliances, fans, and of course lights. Unlike traditional switches, however, Smart switches can be controlled remotely through a smartphone app, or by connecting to your home’s Wi-Fi network. The benefits this creates for your home are many, including:

Voice Control

You can operate your Smart switches through voice assistants such as Alexa, Google Home, or Apple HomeKit.


Smart switches can be controlled from when you’re away from home via your mobile device. You can even set them to turn on lights when someone enters a room and turn off when they leave.

Energy Saving

Smart switches can be programmed to efficiently regulate your lighting, heating, and cooling and appliance usage for significant cost and energy savings.


Most Smart switches can connect to your Smart Home security system. That means you can link them with motion sensors where movement will trigger lights to go on. You can also link them to a video doorbell. Also, if you’re delayed getting home in the evening you can simply turn your lights on remotely to make it appear as though someone is actually home. Some Smart switches even have a vacation mode which turns your lights on and off randomly to make it look like you're at home.

Smart Home Integration

Your Smart switches can easily integrate with your Smart Home hub which controls all your Smart Home devices.

Multiple Device Integration

Most Smart switches can integrate several devices for more convenient Smart Home automation. One way would be to program your switch to turn on your AC along with your

lights prior to arriving home. Another might be to have a Smart switch trigger your morning alarm along with your favourite music channel or radio station.

Programmable Schedules

You can program your lights to turn on just before you arrive home, turn off at bedtime each evening, or even set your coffee maker to turn on at a certain time each morning.


You can set your lighting to enhance different activities such as working, reading, or watching a movie. You can also program a Smart switch to gradually increase the brightness of lights during the morning, and gradually dim them at bedtime.

How to Install a Smart Switch The steps below are for the most common type of installation—a single pole switch. This means it controls one circuit vs. two. If you have a bit of DIY electrical experience, installing a Smart switch should be relatively easy. If not, you might want to call a licensed electrician.

Step 1: Turn off the power to the existing switch. Step 2: Remove the faceplate with a screwdriver and gently pull the switch out of the receptacle. Step 3: Examine the current setup. Most will have four wire: a ground wire, an “in” wire, an “out” wire, and a neutral wire. If you’re unsure of the wiring, use voltage meter to determine which wires carry electrical current.

Step 4: Choose your new Smart switch, taking care that the wires match the setup in your receptacle.

Step 5: Disconnect the old switch, taking note of which wire is which to avoid confusion later.

Step 6: Connect the wires on your new Smart switch to the wires inside your wall and secure them with wire connectors. You may need to use a wire stripper to remove the plastic coating (your ground wire might already be bare). Step 7: Test your wiring by turning on the power.

Step 8: Turn off the power again and neatly place the wires inside the receptacle. Step 9: Screw your new Smart switch into place and attach the new faceplate Step 10: Turn the power on again and test your switch one final time to ensure it’s still working

Smart Outlets

Smart outlets, also called Smart plugs, are another great addition when building your Smart Home. Similar to Smart switches, Smart plugs can also be controlled with your mobile device, or through Smart Home assistants like Alexa, Siri and Google Home. In general, Smart outlets are available in three different formats:

Plug-In Smart Outlets

Plug-in Smart outlets are cost-effective and easy to set up. First, these little Smart Home devices simply plug into your wall outlets. Then you download the app that connects the Wi-Fi chip in the Smart outlet to your home network. The exposed socket on the back of the Smart device lets you plug in anything including table lamps, fans, your TV, or any type of household appliance. Many Smart plugs also have a physical on/off switch, which means you can still control them if your Wi-Fi goes down. There’s one more big benefit of plug-in Smart outlets too: they're renter-friendly. No installation is required, so you simply unplug them from the wall when you leave.

In-Wall Smart Outlets

An in-wall Smart outlet is designed to replace your existing wall outlet. The real benefit here is it makes for a neater, more seamless finis

h vs. a protruding smart plug. That said, installation requires working with wires, and in-wall plugs do cost a little more. Also, with ever-improving technology, replacing or upgrading them will require more time and effort than simple plug-in models.

Outdoor Smart Outlets

There are also Smart plugs specifically designed for use outside. They can power your outdoor lights, holiday decorations, and outdoor appliances, and you can integrate them with the Smart hub in your home. Single and double outdoor Smart outlets are available, often with the ability to control each outlet separately.

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