– Trying to figure out where
to start your smart home? Today we're going to review part two of How to Start Your Smart Home with lighting and switches, stay tuned. (techno music) Hi again, John Stone,
the DIY Smart Home Guy. In part one of the How to
Start Your Smart Home series, we talked about the need for a smart hub. In that video I mentioned
that a great place to start your DIY smart home
automation was with lighting. The reason for this is because lighting is the most versatile of
all smart home features. In my thinking, there are five categories of smart home solutions, being
lighting, energy savings, entertainment control, home security, and environmental control. When we look at the relationship between lighting and the
other four categories, it's pretty easy to see
that the efficient control over lighting can be used
to enhance the comfort of your overall living environment.
This is because lighting is a simply way to enhance your home
entertainment experience, help save on your energy bill, and improve your home security. Also in part one, I talked
about how it's essential to ensure that you have a plan that'll keep your smart home simple to use for other people that
may be trying to control your things inside your
house, from inside. This is especially true with lighting. Remember, having manual
control of your smart home is an essential consideration. It's pretty obvious that the main purpose of lighting is utilitarian,
so let's cover that first. One question that I get
quite often is about when to use a smart light bulb, a smart switch, or just
a regular light bulb. While there are many
considerations to work through, I'm going to keep it simple and describe how I approach the problem.
When looking at this diagram, I've separated the items
that control power, meaning switches and modules, from the items that require power, being lights and appliances. In general, I don't like
controlling anything that benefits from constant power, like a smart light bulb with a switch. This is because a smart
light is already smart and turning off the switch
removes the control. Also, most smart lighting reverts back to a default color, which is usually white when the power's restored. This means that you need to
create a secondary mechanism to change the lighting
to the desired color. In my world, this would
be pretty frustrating. Unfortunately, this isn't
a hard and fast rule. There may be cases where you'd need to use a smart light even if you
also use a manual switch, like if you live in a dorm or apartment, installing smart switches
may not be a good idea.
It could also be that
you're not comfortable with wiring in a new switch. If that's you, I've left
links to smart switch installation videos in
the description below. Also, this diagram was
posted on my Facebook page, which is @DIYSmartHomeGuy. I've heard of people
hard wiring the light on by bypassing the switch
to make it impossible to turn it off manually. Personally I don't like this idea since it takes away manual control, which I believe is very
important in a smart home. My suggestion is to design
a smart lighting experience that incorporates colored lighting in such a way that it can't be interrupted with any kind of switch, smart or not. Now, smart light bulbs are probably the easiest smart home
products to install, next to the plug-in outlet. You can find them in
many shapes and sizes, offering standard light,
adjustable light, and full color, meaning that they have adjustable red, green, blue, and white. Plug in modules for lamps are also an alternative to the smart light, unless of course, color's your goal.
In my home I only have
two smart light bulbs. One is an OSRAM full color A19 bulb and the other's a GE connected bulb. The GE light sits on my
dresser next to my Amazon Echo and the OSRAM RGBW bulb sits
on a lamp behind my couch. Both are controlled
exclusively by schedules and Alexa voice commands. I literally have not touched
these lights in months. They just turn on and off
through my home automation setup, so I really don't even
think about 'em much. When it comes to normal
lighting and ceiling fans, I have about 25 smart switches installed throughout our house. This is combined with a
combination of 13 plug in modules and Quirky smart power strips that control interior and exterior lighting, water fountains, outdoor decorations, my hot water recirculator pump, and an in-wall AC unit in my sunroom. And of course, there are links to all of these videos
in the description below. All of these are controlled primarily through the motion activated robots, schedules, or Amazon Echo voice commands. In my house we rarely
even touch a light switch. On the LED light strip side of the house, you have several options.
Philips Hue is one of
the more popular brands and LIFX gets great reviews. In our home we're using four
OSRAM strip light setups that are complimented by OSRAM
RGBW lights behind my couch. This light is controlled through a Stringify flow in conjunction with the other living room LED strips. The entire light set
includes my TV back lighting, my under bar accents lights, the bar shelf accent lights, and the back lighting on the guitar case. At sunset, the Stringify flow triggers all the lights through a sequence that changes the color every 10 minutes until they finally settle
on a dark blue color. Unless I decide to change them, they stay that color for the
remainder of the evening. We do plan to add more
under cabinet lighting after we complete our kitchen remodel. Other lights in my home turn
on and off automatically based on the motion settings. These lights include
my laundry room light, garage lights, and my water closet light. The WC light has its
very own Stringify flow that determines the
brightness of the light depending on the time of day and a couple of other lighting factors.
Basically, in the middle of the night, the light automatically
turns on when motion is detected to a brightness level of 20%. I also use lighting to provide
me with visual indications of changes in and around my home. In the ring video doorbell video, I showed how I used doorbell motion to control lighting inside my home. And in my sensitive strips video I showed how I used
door and window sensors to change the settings
on my Ecobee3 thermostat.
Let me quickly go over that part again. Since I have open/close sensors on all of my windows and doors, when certain doors or windows are opened my thermostat switches to the away setting and broadens the threshold
for turning my HVAC system on. This automation also turns
a few of my OSRAM lights on to a nice forest green color. This way I have a visual indication that my house is in eco mode and there are doors or windows open. When designing your smart lighting, your goal is really threefold. Have lighting reflect a mood or a scene through control of color, have it happen automatically, and always allow a simple
method of manual control. The lighting should automatically match your needs and desires without the need for manual control, but you're gonna want the
manual control for backup.
If you do want to control it manually, you should have simple controls that don't require an app on your phone. My preferred method of manual
control is voice automation, using either Google
Home or the Amazon Echo. So I hope that helps you get started on your journey into smart home lighting. I can honestly say that my
family loves the automation, mostly because they don't have to do anything to control it.
When they do it's either
through normal feeling switches or the Amazon Echo, which
they think is pretty fun. Thanks for watching. Don't forget to subscribe and don't forget to click like. Over here, there's a
couple of other videos that you might enjoy. And thanks to all of you that already follow me over on Facebook and Twitter. Both are @DIYSmartHomeGuy. Until next time, cheers. Stop, stop, stop (speaks gibberish)..
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