A porch light timer is simple but extremely useful feature to add to your home. The products available today make it even easier and more convenient than ever before. In 30 minutes, you can set up an automatic porch light timer. Never come home to a dark front door again! This articles explains how to put your porch lights on a timer.
A front porch light serves many purposes. For a guest, a lighted front porch says welcome to my home. For a criminal, it is a deterrent that says find an easier target. A lighted front porch also makes it safer for your family and guests to walk by allowing them to see steps and other obstacles.
Dusk to dawn light bulbs have a built-in photo sensor to automatically turn the light bulb on and off depending on how bright it is outside.
These light bulbs are not "smart bulbs" that can be controlled with your voice (see below). However, they are a perfect and simple solution for a dusk to dawn light on our porch.
No apps. No programming. Just screw the light bulb in, turn on the light switch and you are done.
The easiest and most cost effective solution for an outdoor dusk to dawn light. The built-in photo sensor will turn off the light during the day and turn on the light at night. Just leave the light switch on and everything just works. Pair with a light switch cover to ensure the light is ready.
Philips Hue lights by Signify are great for creating a front porch light timer. There are several product choices including outdoor wall lights that replace the entire light fixture or simple smart bulbs that can be placed in your existing sealed and covered lights.
You can set up a porch light timer in just a couple of minutes with the Philips Hue app.
The first step is to select 'Routines' and then 'Other Routines' in the Philips Hue app. Next, you select 'At Sunset' as the trigger to start the routine.
The next step is to customize your sunset to sunrise routine for your porch light timer. There are six items to configure that are labeled with red numbers below.
It's that easy to set up your front porch timer and it is just as easy to install the lights.
Philips Hue lights are the easiest to install because the lights are controlled directly by the hub without using a wall switch. However, if the light switch is turned off, then your light timer will not work. The light switch has to stay on all the time with these lights or they are rendered useless. If you choose this solution, then you might want to consider light switch covers so the lights aren’t accidentally shut off.
The Philips Hue lights are the fastest and easiest way to create a porch light timer. There are multiple products to choose from including white light bulbs, color changing light bulbs and outdoor wall fixtures. The Philips Hue app allows you to easily create your light timer and it automatically adjusts to sunrise and sunset times in your area.
The Kasa TP-Link WIFI Switch replaces your existing front porch light switch and connects directly to your WIFI network. A WIFI based switch is easy to connect and set up. However, it relies on the strength of your WIFI network to operate remotely or with a smart speaker. This normally isn’t an issue, but a WIFI switch will be a little less reliable than other options. The good news is that once you set up a sunset to sunrise timer, it will run as scheduled whether or not you have an active internet connection.
Installation is fairly simple, but it requires you to replace your existing light switch. This is a simple process that only takes about 15 minutes, but ask a friend or hire a professional if you aren’t comfortable working with electricity.
This light switch requires a neutral wire in your switch box. You should check if a neutral wire is available before proceeding. Most modern homes have a neutral wire in the box and it is usually found in a bundle of white wires in the back of the box.
The Kasa Smart WIFI Switch by TP-Link is the best choice if you want a switch the connects through your WIFI network and doesn’t require another hub. The Kasa Smart app makes it easy to create a sunset to sunrise timer for your front porch light.
The GE Z-Wave Switch is an extremely reliable smart light switch. When you pair the GE Switch with Samsung SmartThings, you can easily create a sunset to sunrise timer for your front porch lights. This combination is the most complex but it is also the most capable. This is what I use in my home.
SmartThings makes it extremely easy to setup a sunset to sunrise or porch light timer with their Smart Lighting app. The SmartThings Smart Lighting app runs locally with your GE Z-Wave Switch, which means it doesn't need an active internet connection to work. This is a very reliable setup.
The first step is to select 'Automation' and then 'SmartApps' in the SmartThings app. Then, you add or select the 'Smart Lighting' app to create the porch light timer automation.
There are four primary areas to configure in the automation. These settings correspond to the numbers in the image below.
The GE Z-Wave Switch and Samsung SmartThings is the most capable and powerful option for creating a porch light timer. This setup allows you to create the most advanced timers and schedules of all the solutions. This option is best for someone the wants to build out and invest into a fully functioning smart home.
I highly recommend setting up a porch light timer for your home. This is a simple convenience, but it provides a lot of benefits in safety and energy savings. My family and guests both prefer approaching our front door when it is well lighted. I have also avoided teenage pranks on multiple occasions that my neighbors unfortunately had to deal with. If a front porch light can deter teenage pranksters, then it probably deters those with more sinister thoughts too.
P.S. Please leave a comment below to ask a question, help someone else or share your experiences. Thanks!
Husband, father and Smart Home enthusiast. I look forward to discussing Smart Home products and projects with you. I have over 100 connected devices in my home, and I'm excited to share what I have learned to help you build a Smart Home that works!
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