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What Is a Smart Plug? 4 Ways to Use Them Around the Home

MULTIZ321

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What Is a Smart Plug? 4 Ways to Use Them
Around the Home




Richard
 

rickandcindy23

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These smart plugs would have helped Kevin McCallister (Home Alone).
 

Sandi Bo

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We used a smart plug with a touch lamp to be able to turn the light off in my mother's assisted living room. Crazy, but it was often left on. In part because she would wake in the middle of night, or they would come in. When she'd finally get back to sleep, the light would be left on. We monitored my Mom using a ring camera and could turn the light off when it got left on. In conjuction with a touch lamp (which didn't come back on when we turned the smart plug back on), that did the trick.

Follow me for more tips on micro-managing your mother's care in a dementia care unit.
 

moonstone

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Our DD gave us 2 smart plugs (run by an app on DH's phone) as well as a security camera for Christmas. The day before we left for Belize DH plugged the smart plugs into an outlet in the family room as well as one in our bedroom and then plugged a lamp in each. He forgot to tell our good friend and neighbour who looks after our house what he had done. One evening just as Paul was just coming into our home, DH turned the family room light on. It was purely by chance as we had no idea poor Paul was in the house and he nearly had a heart attack when the light came on. He truly thought there was an intruder in the house and had his cellphone out ready to dial 911 when DH then switched the light off. Paul switched a different light on and saw the plug at the outlet and then messaged DH to ask if it was a smart plug. Luckily he laughed when we said yes and he told the story. Paul said he had to go home and change his underwear! DH has not put the light on since, but we will next week when we arrive home between 1 and 2AM after our flight from Belize.

The camera is pointed at a thermometer that has 3 wireless remote readers so we can tell the temperature in the basement and on each floor of our house as well as outside. It is great to be able to check on the inside temps as last winter our furnace decided to quit right after Paul was in the house. It was bitterly cold out and if our DD hadn't decided to come in the next day and get our mail a day early, our pipes would have frozen as it was already 40F inside and dropping. Now if we see the temps dropping below what our furnace is set to, we can take action before the interior temps get dangerously low.

All this new technology is amazing and so handy, especially when we travel so much!


~Diane
 

PigsDad

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The camera is pointed at a thermometer that has 3 wireless remote readers so we can tell the temperature in the basement and on each floor of our house as well as outside. It is great to be able to check on the inside temps as last winter our furnace decided to quit right after Paul was in the house. It was bitterly cold out and if our DD hadn't decided to come in the next day and get our mail a day early, our pipes would have frozen as it was already 40F inside and dropping. Now if we see the temps dropping below what our furnace is set to, we can take action before the interior temps get dangerously low.
You might want to look into a smart thermostat. Not only will you be able to monitor the temperature in your home remotely, you can control it as well. Plus, you can have it automatically notify you if the temperature is out of bounds vs. you having to manually look at your camera. What if you forget to look for a day?

Smart thermostats are easy to install, have the ability to have multiple remote temperature sensors, tons of advanced features (schedules, occupancy sensing, etc.) and there are many very reasonably priced. The best part is coming back to a perfectly warmed/cooled house after a vacation. I would never have a home without one these days.

Kurt
 

DaveNV

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You might want to look into a smart thermostat. Not only will you be able to monitor the temperature in your home remotely, you can control it as well. Plus, you can have it automatically notify you if the temperature is out of bounds vs. you having to manually look at your camera. What if you forget to look for a day?

Smart thermostats are easy to install, have the ability to have multiple remote temperature sensors, tons of advanced features (schedules, occupancy sensing, etc.) and there are many very reasonably priced. The best part is coming back to a perfectly warmed/cooled house after a vacation. I would never have a home without one these days.

Kurt

And even a basic smart thermostat has enough information to let you know what's happening at your home. When we moved to Nevada, I switched out the 12 year old Honeywell manual wall thermostat for one that would automatically select Heat or Cool on a programmed schedule. (The previous one would control one or the other. but not both without being manually switched over.) Just being able to set times and temperatures in the house was a great savings. And when the temperature raised or dipped below certain thresholds, it could turn on heat or AC, as we wanted. A fantastic investment for not a lot of money, and it took less than 20 minutes to install. If we're traveling, I can look at the phone app and know the temperature at the house, and change it, if desired. Handy, very handy.

Dave
 

Bucky

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We have smart thermostats in both of our homes and over 12 smart plugs working between the two homes. Wouldn’t be without them. But, I’m still trying to figure out why they call phones smart phones and then turn around and let idiots buy them? Seems like the world largest oxymoron!
 

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We have two smart bulbs in our bedside lamps. We have them on timers and also use the Apple Home app to control them. I noticed a couple of you use smart plugs instead of the smart bulbs. The smart bulb seemed to be a much easier way to go instead of having to swap out the wall plug (no, I’m not a handyman and electricity scares me). What are the advantages to using a smart plug if you’re just using it to control lights?
 

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We have two smart bulbs in our bedside lamps. We have them on timers and also use the Apple Home app to control them. I noticed a couple of you use smart plugs instead of the smart bulbs. The smart bulb seemed to be a much easier way to go instead of having to swap out the wall plug (no, I’m not a handyman and electricity scares me). What are the advantages to using a smart plug if you’re just using it to control lights?
Many (most?) smart plugs do not require any wiring -- they just plug into an outlet and then you plug in the appliance/lamp/etc. you want to control into that. The advantage is that they not only control lights, but anything you plug into them. In your case, you could use a single smart plug and plug both lamps into it to control them both at the same time. Also, when the bulb burns out, you don't have to replace the more expensive smart bulb.

Kurt
 

DaveNV

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We have two smart bulbs in our bedside lamps. We have them on timers and also use the Apple Home app to control them. I noticed a couple of you use smart plugs instead of the smart bulbs. The smart bulb seemed to be a much easier way to go instead of having to swap out the wall plug (no, I’m not a handyman and electricity scares me). What are the advantages to using a smart plug if you’re just using it to control lights?

I use an Alexa-ready smart plug to turn on and off a circulation fan in the garage, to control air circulation around some tropical plants in dormant winter storage. I have a smart plug attached to festoon patio lighting around the backyard pool area, set to go on and off at certain times. I have another smart plug attached to grow lights over seedlings in my guest room, so I can control when the lighting is active. It's lots more than light bulbs. At least, it is at my house. shaka

Dave
 

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You might want to look into a smart thermostat.
Yes, we are going to get one when we replace our almost 25yr old furnace and central AC unit in the spring. The camera was our DD's thought of a Christmas gift for her dad who is usually difficult to buy for. It works very well for our needs for the time being. DH thinks he will aim the camera out the kitchen window for next winter so while we are in Florida or Belize we can look to see how much snow is on the ground at home -and laugh!

~Diane
 

Krteczech

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We installed smart thermostats on each floor of our house. It makes is easy to make our bedroom warm and welcoming after week+ long ski trips. Great investment.
 

davidvel

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We have about 50% of our lights on wifi controlled smart switches/plugs, using Google home to control. We have google speakers in most rooms, allowing us to turn off/on any of these lights/appliances by voice throughout our home. We also have some programmed to schedules (porch, etc.), and do the same for holiday lights. Certain lights come on automatically when G-home senses we arrive.

I can also control these from phone/watch when away from home. My wife calls us the Jetsons. I do not call her Rosey.
 

TUGBrian

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love them for christmas lighting...

kids get a kick out of saying "turn christmas tree on/off" too
 

easyrider

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I'm going have to look into these smart plugs and smart thermostats. It would be kind of cool to have these plugs voice activated for the lamps. I'm not sure if the thermostat matters because I set it to 73 all year and leave it on auto.

Bill
 

DaveNV

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I'm going have to look into these smart plugs and smart thermostats. It would be kind of cool to have these plugs voice activated for the lamps. I'm not sure if the thermostat matters because I set it to 73 all year and leave it on auto.

Bill

If the smart plugs are Alexa-ready, you can have her do the heavy lifting. I admit, it gives me a sense of power to say "Alexa, turn on/off the patio lights," and have her respond "Okay." And it happens. Those same lights are on a timed schedule (on at 5:00PM, off at 10:00PM, to correspond with the swimming pool lighting.) So the voice thing is only needed after that timeline.

But I also like saying "Alexa, turn on the patio lights at 25 percent," or whatever, and she does that, too. Voice controlled mood lighting. :D She may be annoying at times, and I ignore the thought that Jeff Bezos is listening to my life, because I'm basically lazy, and I like that I can do things with voice control.

There's a reason our Roomba-style automatic vacuum cleaner is named Rosie on our home network. "Alexa, tell Rosie to vacuum the living room" is a sentence heard around my house. She replies with "Okay," and a minute later the vacuum starts all by itself. It's positively empowering. :D

Dave
 

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If the smart plugs are Alexa-ready, you can have her do the heavy lifting. I admit, it gives me a sense of power to say "Alexa, turn on/off the patio lights," and have her respond "Okay." And it happens. Those same lights are on a timed schedule (on at 5:00PM, off at 10:00PM, to correspond with the swimming pool lighting.) So the voice thing is only needed after that timeline.

But I also like saying "Alexa, turn on the patio lights at 25 percent," or whatever, and she does that, too. Voice controlled mood lighting. :D She may be annoying at times, and I ignore the thought that Jeff Bezos is listening to my life, because I'm basically lazy, and I like that I can do things with voice control.

There's a reason our Roomba-style automatic vacuum cleaner is named Rosie on our home network. "Alexa, tell Rosie to vacuum the living room" is a sentence heard around my house. She replies with "Okay," and a minute later the vacuum starts all by itself. It's positively empowering. :D

Dave
Hey, our Roomba is also named Rosie! :D And, our iRobot mop is named Alfred.
 

DaveNV

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Hey, our Roomba is also named Rosie! :D And, our iRobot mop is named Alfred.
I once had a home network named Spacely Sprockets. :D

Dave
 

1Kflyerguy

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I'm going have to look into these smart plugs and smart thermostats. It would be kind of cool to have these plugs voice activated for the lamps. I'm not sure if the thermostat matters because I set it to 73 all year and leave it on auto.

Bill

Some of the smart thermostats have optional remote sensors. We have a few of these around the house. You can setup a program for which sensor is in control or change manually. Our main thermostat is in the center hallway, We have remote sensors in the bedroom, family room where i spend time watching TV at night, and also my home office.

That allows me to adjust the temp based on where i am actually located.
 

easyrider

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Some of the smart thermostats have optional remote sensors. We have a few of these around the house. You can setup a program for which sensor is in control or change manually. Our main thermostat is in the center hallway, We have remote sensors in the bedroom, family room where i spend time watching TV at night, and also my home office.

That allows me to adjust the temp based on where i am actually located.

So the thermostat works off the remote rather than the main ?

Bill
 

marmite

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We have about 50% of our lights on wifi controlled smart switches/plugs, using Google home to control. We have google speakers in most rooms, allowing us to turn off/on any of these lights/appliances by voice throughout our home. We also have some programmed to schedules (porch, etc.), and do the same for holiday lights. Certain lights come on automatically when G-home senses we arrive.
Same set up at my place. We control some things from our phone before we arrive home too. I start running out of good names for them though, telling Google to turn on Christmas, tree, upstairs tree, sparkle, Garage 1, 2, 3, 4 etc.
 

PigsDad

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So the thermostat works off the remote rather than the main ?

Bill
Yes, that can be done. For an example, we have Ecobee thermostats w/ multiple remote sensors. During the day when we are mostly in the great room, the thermostat uses only the sensor in that room, and then at night, it only uses the sensor in the bedroom. It just provides a more accurate control of where you actually are in the house, since it is rare for a whole house to be exactly the same temperature at the same time.

Kurt
 
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