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Smart Home Lighting FAQ: Everything You've Ever Wanted to Know

Dec 05, 2019|

Want to make your home smarter, safer, and more efficient? Smart lighting is a great place to start.

With smart lighting, turning lights on and off with a switch becomes a thing of the past. Instead, you can control your lighting no matter where you are or even automate it so you don't have to think about it.

If you're curious about smart lights, what they can do, and how they work, check out these most-commonly asked questions.

What is a smart lighting system?

smart lighting system integrates lights in your home into one system that can be automated or controlled and managed via an app on your smartphone or mobile device. Unlike traditional lighting, which requires you to physically turn lights on and off with a light switch, smart lighting is hands-free.

vivint smart lighting control
With smart lighting, you can control your home's lighting from anywhere.

Do smart lights save money?

Smart lights save money in a couple ways.

  • They use less energy than traditional incandescent bulbs, which can add up to significant savings over time.
  • They also last longer, which means you don’t need to replace them as often.

For example, if you were to replace just five 60-watt incandescent bulbs in your home with Philips Hue LED bulbs, you’d save $150 over the course of a year. (You can get a more accurate idea based on the number of lights in your home with this calculator.)


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How long does a smart bulb last?

Because they are more energy efficient, a smart bulb will last significantly longer than incandescent or halogen bulbs. The average Philips Hue bulb, for example, lasts up to 25,000 hours. To put that in perspective, the average incandescent bulb, on the other hand, only lasts about 1,000 hours.

What can smart lights do?

With smart lighting control systems, you can do a number of different things to increase the convenience and comfort of your home, including:

  • Turn lights on and off wherever you are via your smartphone app
  • Connect to your smart speaker for hands-free voice control
  • Create lighting groups, such as bedrooms and downstairs lights, to control lights by area or group
  • Set custom schedules so your lights turn on and off automatically
  • Create mood lighting with dimming and color ambiance

The exact features will depend on the smart lights system you select.

What is automatic lighting control?

Automatic lighting control allows you to automate your lighting based on your schedule. For example, you can set your bedroom lights to turn on automatically at 7 a.m. to help you wake up naturally, or set your downstairs lights to turn on at 6 p.m., whether you’re home or not.

Do smart lights use power when off?

Unlike traditional lights, which are either on or off, smart lights do use a small amount of power even when they’re not giving off light. This standby mode is necessary in order to remain in communication with the smart lighting hub.

Despite this, the amount of energy used as well as the effect on savings in insignificant. (One blogger tested the Philips Hue in standby mode and calculated that it cost him approximately 1.6 cents in standby time).

Which smart lights work with Alexa?

Want to use your Amazon Echo to control your lights? Make sure the smart light you choose is compatible first. You can find a complete list of compatible lighting here.

vivint smart lighting
You can control your lights with your voice with smart lighting and a smart assistant.

How do I control my lights with Alexa?

In order to use voice control with your smart lights, you’ll first need to select compatible lighting, such as Philips Hue. You can then find step-by-step instructions on your smart light’s website. Some smart lights connect directly with Alexa through the smart lights hub or app.

For many lights, you can connect them directly with Alexa in the Alexa app.

  1. Select Add Device from the menu.
  2. Select the Lights option.
  3. Choose your smart lights brand
  4. Press the Discover Devices button and follow the prompts

Once connected, you can control your lights with simple voice commands, such as, "Alexa, turn on the living room lights."

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Can Google Home control lights?

You can use your Google Home to control your smart lighting, provided the lights are compatible with Google Home. Once you choose the light bulbs, simply follow the instructions on their website for pairing with your Google Home.

What smart lights work with Google Home?

If you want to use your voice to control your lighting with Google Home, you can do so with a variety of smart lights. The smart lighting system you choose will indicate whether or not they are compatible with Google Home.

Smart lighting as part of a complete Vivint system

There’s no doubt smart lighting is pretty cool by itself. But if you want to get the most out of your smart lights, combine them with a complete smart home system from Vivint.

Take a look at some of the things your smart lights can do when they’re part of a Vivint system:

Stay safer with automated lighting

Nothing says “There’s no one home!” like a dark house. But an unnatural light pattern, like leaving random lights on all day and night, can also be a telltale sign to a potential burglar that you’re not home.

With a Vivint system and Philips Hue lighting, you can create custom schedules that give the appearance that someone is home, even when you’re not. (Plus, your Vivint security system means you’ll also have the peace of mind that comes with 24/7 monitoring).

vivint professional monitoring
With a complete Vivint system, our team will have an eye on your home 24/7.

Step inside a well-lit home

If you’ve ever come home from a day at work, errands, or after picking up the kids from after-school activities, you know how inconvenient it can be fumbling for lights with an armful of groceries or a car seat.

With custom actions, you can create rules so your lights automatically turn on when you unlock your smart lock or disarm your system. It's like magic.

Keep it simple with hands-free control

Wouldn’t it be great to turn off the lights without going from room to room flipping off switches? When Philips Hue smart lights are part of your Vivint system, you can log on to your Vivint app and turn off all (or some) of your lights right from the app. Or, if you have a smart speaker, you can just tell Alexa or Google to do it for you.

google home vivint smart home
Have a Google Home or Amazon Echo? You can use your voice to turn off your lights.

Smart lighting can transform any home into a smarter, more convenient, and safer place to live. To see for yourself, contact a Vivint Pro today at 855.710.6033 for a free quote.

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