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What are smart lightbulbs?
December 17, 2020
By Rocio M.R.
Setting up the ultimate smart home would not be complete without setting up the ideal lighting. By now, you’ve likely heard of people using smart lightbulbs in their homes, but you might not know all of the benefits. Not only are smart bulbs a newer and arguably better-looking option, but they also offer energy efficiency and the flexibility to control their use from apps.
Smart bulbs allow you to control lighting via WiFi, Bluetooth, and smartphone apps. They emit the same amount of light as an incandescent or compact fluorescent lightbulb (CFL), but use LED technology to create light. Unlike the lifespan of a regular lightbulb, an LED smart bulb can have a life of up to 50,000 hours, which is roughly 50 times longer than your typical incandescent bulb, 20 to 25 times longer than a halogen bulb, and 8 to 10 times longer than a CFL. Even better, consumers can save energy and money when transitioning to smart lightbulbs. For example, a 9W ENERGY STAR certified LED bulb has an estimated energy cost of $1.26 per year, while a 43W halogen bulb has an estimated energy cost of $6.02 per year. Both of these offer the same 800-lumen brightness too, which means there is no sacrifice when it comes to light quality and brightness.
Are smart bulbs right for you?
Buying smart bulbs requires a little bit of a financial investment up front. However, there are plenty of benefits if you choose to take the leap. Before purchasing smart bulbs, ask yourself a few questions:
Do you need or want customizable lighting in your home?
Are you comfortable using or willing to learn how to operate your home’s lighting from an app or voice-activated device?
Are you looking for ways to save on your energy bill?
Are you interested in controlling your lighting when outside of the home?
Would you like to dim your lights and create ambiance via lighting in certain areas of your home without having to install dimmer switches?
If you’ve answered yes to one or more of these questions, smart bulbs might be the right fit for your household. Being able to control lighting outside of the home appeals to many consumers. For some, it means not having to fumble around for the light switch when getting home at night. For others, it means being able to make it look like someone is home when on vacation. Tactics such as these can deter burglars, making smart bulbs appealing for many homeowners or businesses.
Even better, some LED light bulbs allow users to change colors to match the setting or mood (that’s right, even the perfect lighting for holidays like Halloween and Christmas). Warm up a room by changing the lighting to a warm yellow or even calibrate it to match your mood. Bulbs such as the C Sleep emits color temperatures that might even help regulate melatonin and positively affect your sleeping patterns by emitting light settings that adjust throughout the day. People have even used their bulbs to change the appearance of a wall color they no longer like. Convenience, safety, and ambiance are just a few novel ways to consider the benefits of this type of lighting.
Setting up smart bulbs
The vast majority of smart lightbulbs can be controlled through a mobile app or a home device such as an Amazon Alexa or a Google Home, making them simple to set up and use. Smart lights use wireless transmissions to function properly, which means you’ll need to connect them to WiFi or Bluetooth. You’ll want to read the instructions for your particular bulb to learn about manufacturer recommendations.
Generally speaking, smart lightbulbs are easy to install. If you’re going the WiFi route, you’ll likely have to download an app and create an account compatible with your bulbs. After pairing your smart bulb product with your network, you can simply screw in the bulb and follow instructions to complete the pairing process. For Bluetooth pairing, you’ll also likely need to download an app, add the smart bulb, screw in the new light bulbs, and wait for pairing.
Some brands may require you to connect via your WiFi router—which works just as well—but may take a little bit longer than WiFi or Bluetooth pairing. There are plenty of options on the market. Be sure to do your research and find out which capabilities you're most interested in before committing to any one brand.
Building your smart home can be fun and exciting. Not only can you enjoy the comfort of voice apps, automatically brewing your cup of coffee in the morning, or monitoring your security cameras from your phone, you can now use smart bulbs to set the right lighting for bedtime. Play music, change the mood in the room, dim the lights of an entire room on your phone, and more when you install LED smart bulbs. Learn more about trending tech topics such as these and more through other blog posts from CenturyLink.