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How Do Smart Light Bulbs Work & How Do You Use Them?

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By: Editor
May 6, 2019
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How Do Smart Light Bulbs Work & How Do You Use Them?

Definitive Guide to Smart Light Bulbs

As we add the term “smart home” to our collective vocabulary, we may still be left wondering how exactly smart devices work.  a smart light bulb is a light that can be controlled wirelessly through an app. Instead of having to flip a switch to send power to a light bulb, now you can simply press a button on your phone.

If you’re considering what types of home automation are right for you, today we’ll be explaining how smart light bulbs work and how to use them.

How Do Smart Light Bulbs Work?

Smart light bulbs are similar to “normal” light bulbs in terms of electrical components and outward appearance. The main difference is that smart light bulbs have the ability to “communicate” with a hub.

For all of your automated home devices, including smart light bulbs, Z-Wave is the frequency that runs the show. This frequency is low enough not to interfere with other household appliances or your WiFi, yet allows smart bulbs to send and receive messages from the Hub. The ability to receive and transmit Z-Waves are built into a smart light bulb, which screws into a lamp just like any other bulb.

Smart Bulb vs. Smart Switch vs. Smart Plug

To get even more control over your home’s lighting, you can add another level of automation with smart plugs and smart switches.

Smart switches can manually control lights like normal switches do, while also enabling you to operate lights wirelessly. Rather than attaching to a light like a smart light bulb, smart switches are mounted in your wall and can control fireplaces, bathroom ceiling fans, lights (of course) and more.

Smart plugs are great for wirelessly controlling lights that don't use a standard size bulb. For example, you could automate your desk lamp to come on as the sun sets so that your work is always illuminated.

If you’re looking for a quick way to update the lighting in your living room, smart light bulbs come in a few standard sizes and can be screwed directly into your existing lamps and lights. This way, you can turn a light on from your phone when you’re away to make it seem like you’re home.

Why You Should Use Smart Light Bulbs

We briefly covered some use cases in our exploration of smart bulbs vs. smart switches vs. smart plugs, but let’s cover some additional reasons why you should use smart light bulbs.

  • They make it easy to control lights from anywhere in the house

One of the top ways to use smart light bulbs is controlling lighting from anywhere in the house. If  lights were left on in other rooms, you can save time by turning all of them off at night from your phone. Smart light bulbs also come in handy when you’ve finally gotten comfy in bed, only to remember you left a light on downstairs.

Smart light bulbs also have more settings and automation capabilities than normal light bulbs. Dimming lights are easier with smart bulbs—and some are even able to change colors. Smart light bulbs also enable you to set lights to your schedule. Turning the lights on in your kid's room each morning makes sure they never run late for school again and you can even schedule back porch lights to turn on each evening for summer evenings outside.

  • They keep your house secure

A less obvious, but equally as important, way to use smart light bulbs is for home security. Homes that look empty for days are better targets for burglars, so it’s best to set up smart lights that you can turn on and off while you’re on vacation. Smart lights that can be controlled with a wireless keychain also ensure you never walk into a dark house at night, since you can turn on the lights from the driveway.

Smart Light Bulbs Are a Worthy Investment

I know what you’re thinking—the convenience and security possibilities of smart lighting sound great, but how much do smart light bulbs cost? The cost per bulb is typically around $10-$20, though specialty sizes or color-changing bulbs can cost more. While this may be more than you’re used to spending on a single light bulb, there are two ways that smart light bulbs can save you money in the long run.

  • Keep electricity usage down with smart light bulbs

    Being able to remotely control your lights and set up light schedules means you’re less likely to leave on lights you aren’t using. While a single light bulb likely isn’t the reason your electric bill is high, you can see energy savings over time from only using the lights you need at any given time.

  • Smart light bulbs are energy-saving LEDs

    Each smart light bulb will use less energy than traditional bulbs. Since smart light bulbs are LEDs, they can provide the same brightness with less electricity. Plus, the average LED light bulb can last for 15 years or more.

Smart light bulbs are one of the many ways you can keep your home secure and energy-efficient. We hope you will try them!

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