It seems like everything is going smart these days: refrigerators, vacuums, water bottles, and now—light bulbs? Smart bulbs are arguably the easiest way to begin your smart home upgrades. For some systems, all you have to pop them in your sockets and download an app. Compared to traditional lighting, smart lighting is a more advanced method of gaining complete control of your electricity, both consumption and usage, with some added benefits only available from smart bulbs or smart light switches.
Smart lighting isn’t limited to just residential homes, either. The University of Michigan started installing these lights on their campus and in classrooms to take advantage of the extended lifetime of these bulbs. Transitioning from common incandescent bulbs to smart LED bulbs is both a cost-effective and energy-efficient solution.
Having the ability to control lighting from anywhere, even a country away if needed, is enticing. But that’s only the beginning glimpse into the benefits these smart lighting solutions.
What Are Smart Light Bulbs?
Have you ever wanted to control your lighting with your phone? Getting up to physically turn the lamp on and off is certainly doable, but it’s not possible if you’re trying to light your house up on your way home from work in the dark winter months. Technology is expanding in all areas and finally, our lights are benefiting from such advancements.
With smart lighting, you can turn all the lighting in your home off and on with your smartphone using Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, Z-Wave, and even wireless radio. And you can do more than adjust your lighting—although that’s helpful too, especially if you want to dim the lights in the evening or turn them off completely while snuggling up for a movie. But if you have colored LED bulbs, you can also adjust the color of your light. All it takes is a couple of effortless taps on your phone.
How Does Smart Lighting Work?
Most smart bulbs connect with a hub, which is just a bundle of hardware. It’s easiest to compare it to a wireless router for your computer. You rarely need to fiddle with the bulbs again after they’re set up. The hub and corresponding app (how you manage the bulbs) will walk you through the installation set up and leave you with a full range of lighting options afterward.
Although bulbs are enough for most people, there are other components to smart lighting you should know about, like smart switches. Both have their pros and cons, depending on what you’re looking for in light quality, costs, and setup.
Smart bulbs have a simple install and the price is easier on the wallet than other smart home upgrades. These LEDs can be six times more energy efficient than incandescent lighting. Considering these bulbs can last for over 25,000 hours of use, changing over to these bulbs is cost-effective in the long run. Not to mention they can have a lower impact on the environment, compared to compact fluorescent bulbs, because they don’t contain mercury .
You likely won’t need to change or alter existing fixtures in your home because smart bulbs come in all different sizes, light temperatures, and brightnesses. If you need bigger bulbs for one room but smaller for another, you have options. After installation, you need to download the appropriate app to connect and use the bulbs, but if the light switch is off, the bulbs won’t work, so keep that in mind.
The switches will require some rewiring to work in your home. You’d be exchanging the regular switches for their smart counterparts. The switches use Wi-Fi or a hub. They’re pricier than smart bulbs with the switches averaging about $50 or more.
But you can use any bulb you want for lighting with a smart switch. If you’re particular about the quality of light in your home, choosing switches over bulbs might suit your needs better. However, it will require more time and effort to install than a bulb, so take that into consideration. Additionally, if you’re renting an apartment, you may not be allowed to tinker around with the electrical wiring. And unlike with bulbs, you can’t take them and set them up quickly when moving to a new location.
5 Benefits of Using Smart Lighting
Although it’s fun to play with your light settings with your smartphone, it’s more than just a cool gimmick. Changing out your regular lighting for smart lighting offers several benefits including simplicity, control, and mood setting.
The Potential To Save Energy
With the power to dim your lights so accessible, it’s even easier to save energy. You can do this manually through the app on your device or you could set up motion sensors. Smart lighting enables the use of motion sensors in every room where either a smart light switch or smart light bulb is installed. When a room is unoccupied, you can instruct the bulbs to shut off and only switch on again when motion is detected in the room. Conserve even more energy when you use LED bulbs. They use less electricity than the average bulb, without sacrificing the brightness or warmth you’ve grown accustomed to.
Controlling your smart lighting is simple. You can lay in bed, sit at your desk at work, or even be on your phone on a remote island and still have access to your lighting. Smart lighting also helps those who have mobility issues or live in a home with loud, creaky stairs and light sleepers. You won’t have to physically go from room to room when you forget to turn the lights off. With some bulbs, you’re even able to adjust the brightness, intensity, and hue (with the colored LED smart bulbs) from your device.
Personalized Scenes For Every Occasion
Get even more control of your rooms with smart lighting “scenes.” These scenes can change the colors subtly but still have an impact. If you’re big into reading (or someone else in your family is), changing the shading of the light could ease eye strain.
But you can also set the scene for your daily routine. When you wake up, you might want to dim the lights to allow your eyes to adjust comfortably. Or as a way to avoid bothering your partner if they have a different schedule. You just have to select the appropriate scene. Or maybe you only want to turn on the lights by the door for when you’re ready to head out.
People also use scenes when taking a business trip or vacationing. If you’re uncomfortable having the lights off for those few days, you can set the lights to turn on periodically so it seems like someone is home. Whatever your routine, you can customize your lights for it.
Set The Mood With Color
Adjusting the color wasn’t always a smart lighting benefit, but it’s available now when you use LED bulbs. It’s not just a gimmick. Changing colors can help when you’re watching a movie, reading, or ready for a nap. Certain colors can reduce eye strain and improve sleep quality. And that’s not all. Blue lighting may improve your mood, especially during winter months when the cloud cover is impenetrable and sunlight is scare.
Add More With Interior Design
You can go the extra level by using the smart lights to decorate your home. You can change the decor and appearance of your rooms at the drop of a hat with smart lighting. For family gatherings, parties, and hangouts with the friends, smart lighting makes setting the mood even easier.
You can go a step further by using a smart bulb with speakers built in. This allows you to listen to your favorite songs in every room they’re installed. Or you can use the songs to complete the look and feel of each room.
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