Physical Wall Switch

Smart Light’s Biggest Enemy, the Wall Switch

There’s one problem everyone hits with Smart Lights, without fail. Whether it’s your first Smart Light or you have a house full, you’ll run into this problem eventually. Your Smart Light is completely powered off when someone in your home turns off the wall switch that controls it.

Smart Lights and Wall Switches

Can you use your physical wall switch when you have a Smart Light connected to it? Absolutely! You can use your physical switch with your Smart Lights and get the behavior you’re looking for. But there are some side effects. 

When your Smart Light is switched off, it can’t respond to any of your commands. So, the next person who tries to use the Smart Light–either by a Voice Assistant or by a Smartphone App–won’t be able to. Even worse, that person will get an error message after trying to use the Smart Light, saying: “Sorry, the light isn’t responding. Please check on the light.” Frustration ensues.

Now at this point, the person who hit the error may try to fix it. Or they might just find you to fix it instead. You’re then stuck trying to figure out what happened to the Smart Light. After you’ve run into this scenario a few times–and you will see it more than once–you’ll quickly learn to test the wall switch to see if it’s off. Usually it is.

More frustrating, this problem has a big impact on any sort of automations you set up with that Smart Light. Automations will just fail when the light is powered off, usually with no indication that something wrong happened. This problem can go unseen for days until someone turns the wall switch back on.

Smart Light companies know this scenario happens, too. This case is one of the reasons why Smart Lights turn on after a power outage.But so far, no one has found an elegant solution to it yet. Fortunately though, there are a few things you can do to improve the situation.

How to Stop Cutting the Power with a Wall Switch

Fixing this sort of problem is tough. It’s not really a problem with the device. Instead, it’s a habit that everyone has at home, and we all know how hard habits are to break. We’re all used to turning the light off when we leave a room. Wall switches control lights, so we all have a habit of flipping the switch. I have a few ideas on how you can avoid your Smart Lights from getting turned off that hopefully make this scenario happen less frequently.

1. Yell at anyone who touches the wall switch

Although I joke, this is the default solution if you don’t have any other. I don’t expect much success with this option. Just upset family members.

2. Tip jar each time the switch gets used

A slightly better idea than yelling at everyone. As another benefit, you see the tip jar increase in value over time. Maybe you can use that to buy one of the other, better solutions. Good luck getting everyone in your house to agree to this one, though. I know it wouldn’t fly in mine.

3. Use a switch cover

Now we’re talking! A switch cover has the benefit of making someone think twice before flipping the switch. That’s probably enough of a deterrent to get the job done.

Light Switch Cover
Example Switch Cover

4. Use a Smart Wall Switch instead

Here’s the best solution. Instead of using a Smart Light that is connected to a wall switch, install a Smart Wall Switch instead. You’ll get all the benefits of a Smart Light, minus the color. And more importantly, everyone can still use the switch itself. So no need to break the habit after all. 

smart switch
Example Smart Switch

Lasting Impact on Your Smart Lights

“Oops, I accidentally flipped the wall switch. Does cutting power to the Smart Light  somehow damage it?”

This question comes up from time to time. No one wants to break their new and expensive Smart Light. The good news is you should be fine as the Smart Light itself is not damaged, but there are two annoyances that could happen because your Smart Light lost power.

  1. Loss of network connection, forcing you to reset and register your Smart Light again
  2. The Smart Light responds to commands a bit slower

Most likely though, you won’t notice a difference with your lights once you turn them back on. So don’t fret!

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