Can Smart Plugs be Used Outside?
With outdoor spaces operating more and more as extensions of the home, having smart technology out there almost seems like a must, right? Right! When thinking about how to upgrade the technology on the back patio or deck, I was curious as to what might and might not work, which led me to write this post.
The first tech I could think of that would be nice to have outdoors were smart outlet plugs, but will they work and are they safe? The answer is yes, there are smart outlets that are made specifically for outdoor use that are waterproof, durable and capable of withstanding the elements year round. Outdoor smart plugs extend the smart and automation features you enjoy inside your home to your favorite outdoor living spaces.
To be safe, indoor plugs should not be adapted for outdoor use. There are so many great choices out there that this should never be considered. Safety first, don’t take that chance.
Uses for an Outdoor Smart Plug
When you think of smart home technology, most people typically think of automating the indoor living spaces, but there are some great opportunities outdoors as well. Wouldn’t it be great to smarten up your favorite spaces outside the home? I sure think so.
Automating Christmas or String Lights
One of the best uses of smart plugs come around the holidays when those Christmas lights are going up. Imagine not having to go outside every time you want to turn the lights on or off.. With a smart plug working with your lights, you will now be able to set them to a schedule, a scene or connect them to your favorite home assistant.
You can find outlets that work with just about every smart home ecosystem out there as well. Whether you prefer Amazon Alexa, Google Home or Siri, you’re covered. Many smart plugs offer compatibility with multiple platforms so you won’t be locked down.
Check out our Recommended Smart Plugs!
Christmas lighting in most neighborhoods seems to be more of a competition these days. If you are one of those that like to “compete,” setting up fun scenes up with your lights, inflatable snowmen and projections of Rudolph on the side of your has never been easier.
Be the talk of the neighborhood, you deserve it!
By using a schedule for your lights, you can even save some energy by setting a time for them to turn on and off. No need to keep them on all night anymore. Just plan to keep them on when most people will be up and about to enjoy them.
Landscape Design Automation
This might not be for everyone, but for the readers who have taken their landscaping to the next level, smart outlets will be your best friend. A lot of people are using the smart plugs to control water fountains, landscape lighting and patio lighting.
If you have a fountain, setting it to a schedule will not only save you money, but will increase the life span of the fountain. Same with the landscape lighting and patio lighting. Set the lights to turn on after sunset and off at sunrise. Have the fountain turn off at night when no one is around or awake to enjoy it. There are so many options, one is sure to work for you.
A lot of these smart apps come with an app that includes energy monitoring. Know exactly how much energy those string lights or Christmas lights are consuming. Some even come equipped with limits where they are set to turn off if the energy consumption gets to high. Pretty cool, right?
It goes even further with live consumption usage. You will have the ability with any smart plug that is equipped with energy monitoring to check who (appliances, lights etc.) is consuming what at any given time.
Utilizing schedules also come in handy here as well. Setting your outdoor lights or landscape installations on a routine to turn off when you know they won’t be needed will help you with monitoring energy consumption as you will no for a fact nothing is running when it doesn’t need to be.
Some outlets even provide visual indicators of how much energy it is consuming in real time. They are equipped with LED lights that you can check at a glance to see how much energy that plug is using.
This is a pretty cool “security” feature you can use if you are traveling or away from the home to help deter a would be intruder. You can set a schedule, or run it at random, to turn the smart plug on and off to simulate someone actually being home. A lot of smart plugs, lights and tech in general are starting to adopt away mode, so look out for it!
Why make your home an easy target for bad guys when it doesn’t have to be.
Smart home technology isn’t restricted to the homestead anymore. Why not update your home on wheels as well? Bring along a smart plug or two on your next camping trip to automate anything an everything you can think of while you are enjoying the great outdoors.
I know it seems like an odd place to integrate smart tech but I believe the convenience of these plugs knows no boundaries.
Be sure to check out our post on if Smart Plugs are a Fire Hazard.
What is the Difference Between Indoor and Outdoor Plugs?
The biggest difference between indoor and outdoor plugs is pretty simple. Outdoor plugs are weather and impact resistant. They can handle the rain, moisture and cold and still function properly. IP44 rating seems to be the industry standard with these fixtures. Read more about that here.
A lot of the outdoor plugs also come with a bracket to secure the plug in place. Some plugs also come with a protective outer coat and suggest positioning the outlets facing downward for some extra protection. This is where that bracket really comes in handy and installing is pretty simple. Not only will it be secure and have added protection, it will also look a lot better.
Is Voice Control an Option?
With just about any new smart tech you choose to bring home, voice control will always be an option. Some plugs do integrate better with different platforms, but more and more these plugs are supporting multiple smart home ecosystems.
The great thing with most smart plugs, indoor or outdoor, is they do not always require a hub. A Wi-Fi connection is all you need. As they almost all come with accompanying apps, you can control these plugs from just about anywhere, as long as you have a connection yourself.
You are always able to connect them to your existing hub as well. If you prefer Z-Wave, just ensure that the plug supports that.
Do Outdoor Smart Outlets require any rewiring?
No, outdoor smart plugs do not require any rewiring. Just like plugs designed for use inside the home. They are as simple as plugging into an existing outlet, then plugging a device into the smart plug.
The set up process will vary depending on if you have a smart hub you intend to connect to or not, but as most of these plugs comes with an app to control it, thats not always necessary.
Do Smart Plugs Require a Hub?
Smart plugs do not require a hub. These are always accompanied with an app, some better than others, that allow you to control the outlet from anywhere.
If you have a hub that you want to connect to, make sure the smart plug you purchase is compatible and can speak to that hub.