Plugging your vehicle to keep it from freezing in cold weathers

We plug in the car in very cold weathers, to prevent it from freezing so that we can still start it, right? We typically use timers for the block heaters because we do not need to plug it in 24/7. Only a few hours are enough to thaw out the engine and battery so we can start it before heading out to work. But as we all know, weather can be strange. We have a week of -30c (-22f) weather, then the next day it goes up to -3c (+27f). Those weather we do not need to plug in the vehicles, so it would be a waste of electricity (and a waste of money paying for it) having them plugged in.

Block heater timers are dumb timers, they follow a schedule, turning on sometime in the night and then off in the day, based on the time you set it. That’s it. Doesn’t care about any other factors. If you plugged in the car upon coming home from work, ready for the next day and it happens to become warm, the timer is still going to heat up your car in a weather that doesn’t require it being plugged in.

That’s where smart plugs can come in handy! A smart plug can still turn on the block heater according to the schedule you set, but also be able to check the weather, and skip turning on the block heater if it’s not cold enough, saving you money in the long run! You do not need to come home, check the weather, and decide whether to plug it in or not. Just plug in and let the smart plug take care of deciding whether to activtate the power to it or not.

The other advantage of smart plugs is that it will allow you to go outside of your usual scheduling. For example, you aren’t working today and plan to go out tonight with friends, to watch hockey. Your parked vehicle is sitting all day without the block heater on (assuming you set the schedule for it to turn off in the morning, such as 8am), it’ll be cold to the point it might not start that night. You step out to start the car and realize it’s frozen and now need help to boost it. You forgot to go outside and turn on the override timer button or unplug from the timer and plug it in bypassing the timer to heat the vehicle.

You could just pick up your phone, connect to the app and turn on the smart plug from the comfort of your heated home. Now your vehicle will be ready for you when you leave. The smart plug that was turned on, will resume it’s usual schedule the next day and turn off at 8am.

That is smart! Be smart!

Product shown above: Samsung SmartThings

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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