The Best Smart Plug Ideas for Automating Your Home
Smart homes give homeowners control over everything from energy use to home security. But transitioning to an entirely automated home can be a little overwhelming. If you don’t already have a smart home hub, smart plugs might be the perfect compromise. Smart plugs (sometimes known as smart sockets or smart outlets) let homeowners turn any device into a smart device.
Smart plugs are an easy-to-use introduction to the world of home automation because they can function independently. But they can also easily integrate into home monitoring systems like Constellation Connect, which supports a number of Zigbee and Z-Wave smart outlets, including Constellation’s PowerPlug.
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Once you discover the many common uses for smart plugs, you’ll get a feel for how making your home smarter can improve your life.
Pro Tip: Zigbee and Z-Wave are wireless technologies that can help your gadgets communicate with one another (instead of using Wi-Fi or Bluetooth) in a smart home.
What are smart plugs and what do they do?
So what are smart plugs, anyway? Looking a lot like travel adapters, these small devices turn any regular light or appliance into a smart appliance that can be controlled by an app or voice assistant. Some, like Constellation’s PowerPlug, can also monitor energy usage and control other smart devices. And the best part is how simple they are: All you do is plug any appliance into the smart plug and then plug the smart plug into the wall socket.
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Smart plugs connect to an app on your smartphone via Wi-Fi or Bluetooth, allowing you to control whatever appliance is connected to that plug, often without the need for a separate smart hub.
How to use a smart plug
Once connected to an appliance, smart plugs allow users to create “scenes.” Scenes are small IFTTT (If This Then That) programs that can adjust your lighting, coffee maker, washing machine and other appliances based on the time of day, the temperature or anything else your smartphone measures. The best smart plugs won’t sacrifice any wall outlets by taking up too much space, and different plug designs are available to accommodate different space requirements.
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The Best Smart Plug Uses and Ideas
Best things to use smart plugs for
What are smart plugs for, exactly? Since smart plugs can control almost any device that uses electricity, they offer hundreds of possible solutions to the inventive homeowner. In fact, there are so many creative ways to use smart plugs that we bet you can add to this list of best things to use smart plugs for. Here are some of the best smart plug uses:
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Lights. Try combining smart plugs with motion detectors to turn on lights when you enter a room. Or create scenes to adjust when outdoor or ornamental lights are in use. Or decrease the power consumption of your Christmas lights during the holidays. Pairing the PowerPlug with smart light bulbs saves you energy, conveniently allows you to control lights remotely and adds security by turning on lights when you’re away.
Smart thermostats. One of the benefits of a smart plug like the PowerPlug is that it can be used to control a compatible smart thermostat via its built-in hub. You can raise the temperature on a frosty morning without getting out of bed. Or you could schedule different temperatures when you’re out of the house to save energy.
Televisions and computers. One of the most common smart plug uses is to reduce energy consumption of power-hungry devices. Use scenes to monitor when computers and televisions receive power to create routines for children or to turn off devices at specific times.
Gaming systems. Gaming consoles are notorious for consuming energy even when turned off. Cutting off power at the plug can save you money.
Coffee makers. Connect your coffee maker to a smart plug and set a time for it to turn on, and you’ll wake up to fresh coffee every morning. Program your smart plug to decrease the coffee maker wattage or turn the pot off after a set amount of time.
Refrigerators. Monitor your freezer or refrigerator energy consumption. But be sure to check if the energy rating of your smart plug is safe to handle the energy needs of your refrigerator or freezer.
Washing machines. Receive notifications of when a cycle is finished and improve your washer’s energy usage by automating run times during off-peak hours.
Slow cookers. A common use for smart plugs is to have dinner ready when you get home by scheduling your slow cooker to turn on at a specific time of day. Check out these delicious Crock-Pot® recipes that save time and energy.
Battery chargers. Older battery rechargers don’t always have the most effective automatic shut-off features. Use a smart plug to turn off power after a set amount of time.
Space heaters. Smart plugs make a lot of sense for portable heaters. Aside from the convenience of turning them on remotely to warm a room before entering, you’ll also be able to monitor their energy use.
Sound systems. Controlling the music around your home is a wonderful convenience. But being able to turn on and off your sound system from anywhere can also add an element of security. You can deter break-ins by creating the illusion that someone’s home even if they aren’t.
Leak detectors. One of the top home insurance claims in the United States is water damage from a leak, which can cost thousands of dollars to fix. Among the best uses for a smart plug like Constellation’s PowerPlug is pairing it with a smart leak detector via its built-in hub. When the device detects standing water, you’ll receive an alert so you can take action right away.