This is the time of year when fall directions fall and festive Christmas decorations rise. If you’ll be hanging a bunch of Christmas lights around your house, here are a few different ways to automate them so you never have to worry about turning them on and off manually.
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Keep in mind that you don’t need to have the fanciest SmartHome products for this to happen, but you will have a bit more flexibility than what you can do if you already have a SmartHome hub. With that said, let’s get started.
The cheapest and easiest option: output timers
If you just want your lights to turn on and off at specific times each day, you can’t go wrong with some basic socket timers. They are cheap and you can buy them almost everywhere. This package is only $11 and is great for low power double sided fixtures like Christmas lights and lamps.
This is the simplest solution for automating Christmas lights as you simply set the time you want the lights to turn on and off, turn it on and you go racing.
For advanced automation: Smart Plugs
If you want to do more than what the socket timer provides, you should get a smart plug instead. You can program your lights to turn on and off at specific times, but unlike some socket timers, you can also select specific days to control your lights at different times. For example, on weekends, you can turn on the Christmas lights for longer than during the week.
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Also, if you only want Christmas lights to turn on at home, you can set up an automation task based on your location that will turn on the lights when you get home and turn them off when you leave. Something like this would require a SmartHome hub and an app that accompanies it (like Wink Hub), so the app can use your phone to locate part of the task, and then it will tell your Christmas lights what to do based on that information.
Or, if you just love the idea of using your voice to turn your Christmas lights on and off, a smart plug is a great way to do just that. Most smart plugins work with Alexa and Google Assistant. Some smart plugs will also work with Siri if they support HomeKit. Here’s how to find out which plugs support which standards.
For outdoor lighting: weather-resistant timers or smart plugs
If you want to automate all of your outdoor Christmas lights, you can still use timers or smart plugs, but you need to make sure they’re designed for outdoor use.
This open timer will work great if you are looking for something cheap. If you want something with some wits, this smart outdoor plug from iClever is simple, cheap, and works great.
Be aware, however, that according to US code, external outlets must be protected by some sort of weatherproof box. There are many styles of outlet covers to choose from, but the downside is that you usually can’t insert an outlet timer or smart plug into one. and connect anything while still being able to fully close the lid. Be sure to check if your outer socket covers are capable of this.
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The best solution is to install a smart socket that will completely replace the traditional one at the present time. It’s like a smart plug, but the smarts are fully integrated into the socket itself, saving a lot of physical space. With just a bit of know-how, you can install one of these yourself, and we have a guide to walk you through the process (it’s for USB-equipped sockets, but it will also work with these outdoor smart sockets)
Most of them use ZigBee or Z-Wave as their wireless protocol, so you’ll need a SmartHome hub like the Wink hub to run them (although you can find some that use Wi-Fi instead). But once you do, they work pretty much the same way a smart plug does, allowing you to set all sorts of automation tasks, like turning Christmas lights on when it gets dark and turning them off when the sun rises in the sky. morning.