What Happens to Your Smart Home When the Power or Internet Goes Out?

Man staring at light bulbs in black and white picture.Man staring at light bulbs in black and white picture.

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Some smart home devices function during a power or internet outage, while others will not function at all. It depends on how the device is powered, whether or not it has a backup battery, and what features rely on the internet.

What Happens to a Smart Home During an Outage?

One of the main disadvantages of a smart home is that most connected devices rely on the internet to function.

Depending on the device, some smart products will revert to “dumb” products during an internet outage. Others won’t work at all.

If smart products are wired to your home or plugged into an outlet, they won’t work during a power outage.

However, if a smart device runs on a traditional or rechargeable battery or has a battery backup, it will still work in a power outage. 

Only the functions that rely on an internet connection will not work.

What Happens to Smart Cameras During an Outage?

A Ring camera next to a plant

Whether or not a smart security camera will work during a power or internet outage depends on how it’s powered and whether or not it can store footage offline

If you have a wireless smart camera or one with a battery backup, it should work fine in a power outage. 

While you won’t be able to see your camera feed through your smartphone app in a power or internet outage, battery-powered cameras can sometimes still record and store footage locally

Type of CameraWill It Work in a Power Outage?Will It Work Without Internet?
Wireless Nest CamYes, it will workYes, but not for long. The Nest Cam can store one hour of footage locally.
Blink camerasWireless models will work in a power outage.Yes, with a Blink Sync Module 2 and a USB flash drive.
Ring camerasAll models except the Doorbell Pro and Doorbell Elite will work in a power outage.No
eufyCamOnly the original eufyCam.Yes, with a eufy Homebase.
Wyze CamNoOnly if you install an SD card and change your settings to store video locally ahead of time.

Most Ring cameras run on batteries, but the Doorbell Pro and Doorbell Elite do not. For this reason, they will not work in a power or internet outage.

The original eufyCam is the only eufyCam that will work in a power outage. This is because other models require a eufy Homebase to function, which needs to be plugged in to work.

Do Smart Locks Work During an Outage?

The Schlage Encode lock

If you have a smart lock on your front door or fence gate, you’ll be happy to hear it won’t be affected too much during a power or internet outage.

Most smart locks are battery-powered, including some of the most popular models from brands including:

  • Schlage
  • Ultraloq
  • August

If your WiFi is down, you won’t be able to use any of the features in your smart lock app, including remote access

Will My Smart Garage Door Opener Work in an Outage?

Chamberlain MyQ is the biggest name in the smart garage door opener world. 

While the MyQ hub is battery-powered, it relies on WiFi to open or close your garage door through the MyQ app.

For this reason, you can’t use MyQ technology to open or close your door during a power or internet outage.

But, when my MyQ hub stopped working during the last power outage, I used my old “dumb” garage door opener. Since it has a battery backup, everything worked fine.

Do Smart Security Systems Work During an Outage?

A Ring Alarm keypad

No one wants to leave their home unprotected, but smart security systems will mostly work in a power or internet outage.

Security SystemWill It Work in a Power Outage?Will It Work in an Internet Outage?
Ring AlarmYes. The Base Station has a backup battery that lasts for 24 hours.Yes, if you have a Ring Protect Plus plan.
Ring Alarm ProYes. The Base Station’s backup battery works for 24 hours.Yes, if you have a Ring Protect Pro plan.
Night Owl Security SystemNoYes, but you can’t view footage remotely
SimpliSafe Security SystemYes, the backup battery lasts 24 hours.Yes, with a SimpliSafe Monthly Monitoring subscription.

The top DIY smart security systems make sure your home is always protected, even when power or internet are not available. 

What Happens to Smart Lights During an Outage?

It goes without saying that smart bulbs do not work in a power outage. But smart bulbs you control with Bluetooth, like newer Philips Hue bulbs, will work without the internet.

But smart bulbs have one downside when the power goes out.

Many smart bulbs, including Philips Hue, are set to turn on automatically when power is restored by default.

No one wants all the lights to turn on suddenly at 3 AM. Luckily, there’s a way to combat that.

  1. Open the Hue app on your phone.
  2. Select “Settings.”
  3. Press “Power-On Behavior.”
  4. Select the bulb you want to adjust.
  5. Set the bulb to “Power Loss Recovery.”

Choose this option for all the smart bulbs in your home to revert them to their last-used setting when power is restored.

Do Smart Thermostats Work in an Outage?

An ecobee thermostat showing the weather

Like traditional thermostats, smart thermostats will not work in a power outage. Most work in an internet outage, but they function like normal thermostats.

Some of the most popular smart thermostats that still work without an internet connection include:

Without the internet, you won’t be able to use your phone to control the thermostat remotely. But you can walk up to it and control it like a regular thermostat.

Do Voice Assistants Work in an Outage?

A blue Google mini

Both Amazon Alexa and Google Home rely on internet connections. They will only work in an internet outage if you connect them to a mobile hotspot or hotspot device

No Google Home or Amazon Echo devices that run on battery power. So, you cannot use your voice assistant in a power outage.

Do Car Charging Stations Work in a Power Outage?

If you have an electric car, you might worry that you can’t charge your vehicle when the power goes out. But there are some options.

  • Local public charging stations
  • Solar-powered charging stations
  • Charging systems with a battery backup

If you live in an area known for power outages from severe weather, you should have a gas generator you use to keep the refrigerator and a couple of lights on during a power outage.

But you should never use a gas generator to charge your electric car. Gas generators often output uneven amounts of power, severely damaging your vehicle.

Does Wi-Fi Work During a Power Outage?

If your router is plugged into a power outlet, it will respond like most other smart devices in a power outage: by shutting off.

But there are a couple of ways to combat going offline in a blackout.

An Uninterrupted Power Supply

An uninterrupted power supply, or UPS, is essentially a battery backup that also acts as a surge protector. 

When a UPS detects a surge or power drop, it uses its own battery to keep the router functioning until power is restored.

Using a UPS is the best way to keep your router online, even when the power is out.

Switch to Cellular Data

If the entire network is down in your area, a UPS won’t be much help. But, some routers offer the option to switch to cellular data when the internet is out. 

In most cases, this will require you to pay data charges on your next bill. It’s a good idea for short power outages, but it can be expensive if a blackout lasts more than a few hours. 

Use Your Mobile Hotspot

Many cell phone providers include a mobile hotspot in their plans.

This hotspot can connect devices like laptops, TVs, and iPads to the internet when a WiFi connection is unavailable.

However, your mobile hotspot runs off your cellular data plan. If you use it too long, you may go over your allotted monthly data and rack up overage charges on your next bill.

Get a Hotspot Device

Some companies have begun manufacturing physical hotspot devices. These work just like mobile hotspots, but instead of using your phone’s data, they come with their own data plans.

This is a popular solution for people who travel abroad and need reliable internet access, but they’re also ideal for network outages. 

Just turn it on whenever you need the internet, and you’re good to go!

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