Everything You Need to Know About Smart Light Switches in Northern Virginia
More and more people are installing smart light switches in Northern Virginia, and we’ve been getting a lot of calls about them. What are smart light switches, what do they do, and what are the advantages of installing them?
In this quick guide, we’ll go over all the basics and help you decide if smart light switches are right for your Northern VA home.
I. What Are Smart Light Switches?
Simply put, smart light switches – as well as other smart electrical appliances – are connected to the Internet. They typically connect via Wi-Fi, although wired options are also available. Either way, with Internet connectivity, they can be controlled via your smart devices as well as through physical controls, as well as adding several other automated features.
II. What Can Smart Light Switches Do?
Exact features may vary from brand to brand, but in general, most or all smart light switches should be able to do the following:
The smart light switch connects to an app on your smartphone, which can then be used as a remote control for your lights from anywhere with an internet connection. You don’t even need to be at home.
If you live according to a set schedule, you can set up automation that turns your lights on and off without needing to do it manually. For example, if you leave for work at 7:30 AM and get home around 5:00 PM, you can set it to turn off the lights at 7:45 AM, then turn them back on around 4:45 PM.
If the lights in your home support dimming and/or multiple colors, this can also be controlled via a smart light switch. You can create “scenes” that define the lighting look of a room. If you watch a lot of movies, you might have a “home theater scene” which automatically dims everything in the room with one click.
These features can also bring some other benefits. For example:
1 – Improved safety
If you’re going to be away from home for a few days, you can use remote features to ensure a few lights are on overnight, while still turning them off during the day. This will discourage anyone from trying to break in.
2 – Saving money
The added level of control allows you to better manage your electricity usage. Smart use of scheduling and scenes can significantly reduce your power bills, without reducing your quality of life.
3 – Voice control
Most smart light systems can integrate with home automation such as Alexa or Google Assistant to allow voice-based commands. If you already have a home smart system, you could just say “Alexa, activate the home theater scene” or something similar and your lights will adjust themselves.
III. Important Considerations When Choosing Smart Light Switches
Which smart light switches will be right for your northern Virginia home? These are a few of the most important things to consider before picking a brand or model.
1 – Single or three-way switching?
Smart light switches can be connected to one single power point or connect to multiple power points at once. However, this requires different models. So, if there’s only one light switch that powers a particular light, you only need a single switch. But if there are two or more switches connected to that one light, you’ll need a smart switch that can take over all the connected switches.
2 – Does your home have neutral wires?
Most modern homes – most anything built from the 1980s onward – have both a neutral wire and a ground wire on their switches to help prevent fires. Most smart switches expect a neutral wire. However, older homes may not use neutral wires, and you’ll need a more specialized smart switch built for older systems.
3 – Do you have other smart appliances?
If you already use a home automation system, like Alexa, or other “Internet of Things” devices such as smart plugs or smart light bulbs, you’ll need to make sure that your new smart light switches are compatible with your existing hardware.
4 – Is the app good?
Finally, check up on app store reviews for brands you’re looking at. A smart light switch is only as good as its app, so you don’t want to install a new switch only to discover it has lousy software.
RD Matthews Electrical Provides Top-Quality Smart Light Switch Upgrades
It’s always a good idea to hire professionals to install any electrical upgrades to your home since a poor wiring job instantly creates a major fire risk. RD Matthews Electrical can help you choose the best smart light switches for your northern Virginia home, and ensure they’re installed safely and properly.
Contact us to discuss your upgrade options.