What can we do with smart plugs?

Smart plugs. What can we use them with?

Lots of things!

Since they are smart, just like smart lights, they can be turned on and off manually by yourself, toggled on and off with your phone, or automatically by itself.

They can be plugged in by practically anything. While the smart plug will be on 24/7, whatever is plugged into it can be controlled. What can we plug into them? Anything.

  • Lamps
  • Fans
  • Appliances such as microwaves, hot water kettle, laundry machines
  • Above ground pool filter pumps
  • Bed shakers

With a lamp, you can use it to turn it on when it gets dark. In the past we had those old timers that will turn them on and off at specific times. It works but there’s a drawback with them. The sun doesn’t set the same time throughout the year! In the summer, the sun comes down at 10pm. In winters, sun’s down by 5pm. Those fixed timers turns them on too early or too late and you have to adjust it yourself. Smart hubs can toggle them on based on sunset times so it continues to update all the time withour your help! Those smart plugs can have multiple automation rules. One rule for toggling them based on time, but they can also have another rule to toggle them on when you arrive home regardless of time. You can have multiple rules for one of them.

Fans? Turn them on automatically when the room gets a little too warm, and off when it cools down. Or have them on a timer when you sleep and off sometime in the morning. Have them automatically cut the power to the fans if a fire alarm gets tripped.

Hot water kettle? Put water in it, and turn the kettle on but plugged to a smart plug that’s off. Have it come on at 6am at the same time you wake up at 6am. You get up, get dressed, walk into the kitchen and the kettle is hot and ready for you.

Cheap smart plugs can just simply toggle on and off, nothing more. There are more expensive smart plugs that can measure power being used by whatever is plugged into it, for additional automations. It can trigger any other automation if power is turned on, or off. Lets use a microwave as an example. Have it trigger lights when power from a microwave goes down. Sort of like the “chime” for Deaf people. Put food in, turn microwave on. Power will go up and the smart plug sees there’s approximately 1,000 watts being drawn. Once the microwave is done, power drops down. Smart home hub notices power just dropped down, it triggers the lights. You know microwave just finished. Go get your food!

We can do the same with laundry machines.

I have a great way of using those for kitchens. I have old wiring in the kitchen so that if microwave and toaster are used at the same time, it trips the circuit breaker. Put in smart plugs that measures power. If microwave is turned on, it turns off the power to the toaster, making it impossible for us to use both at the same time. No more tripped circuit breakers.

You could use it to plug a TV into it. If kids sneak in and turn on TV when you’re in bedroom because you can’t hear them, the lights will come on because the TV is on. Alerting you!

With some creativity, smart plugs can do a lot of things for you!

Product shown in the video: Wemo Insight smart plug.

Published by Ross LaVallee

Deaf, smart home enthusiast. Plays around with smart home technology to see how much can be squeezed out of it to benefit the Deaf / Hard of Hearing community for accessibility uses.

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