Conservation Think Tank: News, Ideas and Solutions for Energy and Water Company Thought Leaders

How to Use Smart Plugs to Keep Your Home Safer

Posted by Mark Stroub

Tags: Smart Home

S

mart plugs give you more control over your home electronics than ever before. Using a simple smartphone app (as seen in the example below), from anywhere on the internet, you can command your WiFi-connected smart plugs to turn appliances on and off remotely, any time of the day or night.

Smart Plug App Demo Simply Conserve app icon

Simply Conserve Smart Home App

Download on the App Storegoogle-play-badge

 

But smart plugs are about far more than simply managing your lawn sprinklers, or getting a machine to make your morning coffee before you even get out of bed each day. One major reason smart plugs have become so popular is that they allow you to keep your family safer in your home.

Smart plugs slash the risk of fire

Failures and malfunctions of electrical appliances like toasters, microwaves, clothes dryers and dishwashers are a leading cause of fires in US homes—they were responsible for 13 percent of home fires between 2012 and 2016, and accounted for nearly one-fifth (18 percent) of civilian deaths.

Smart plugs could have a big impact in cutting these shocking figures.

The smart plug itself could even stop a potential fire happening when a device goes wrong. Some plugs monitor the temperature of the wall socket and the appliance plug, and if it gets too high—because the device is malfunctioning—the plug sends an alert via the app, or it shuts off power automatically.Because a smart plug acts like a ‘gatekeeper’ between the power outlet and your appliance, you can program it to make sure your electronics are completely switched off whenever you’re not using them. This cuts down the chance that a device will develop a fault and catch fire while you’re sleeping or away from the home.

Another reason electrical devices can cause fires, of course, is human error. For example, if you accidentally go out and leave the curling iron switched on, it can quickly overheat.

Make sure this never again becomes a problem by powering all your heated devices through a smart plug. That way, you can either program the plug to always switch off the device after a certain time, or you can turn it off remotely using the smartphone app if you think you’ve forgotten.

Smart plugs can deter intruders

Studies suggest that just 12 percent of burglaries are pre-planned to any extent, and someone is home while the burglary occurs only about 28 percent of the time—which means that something like 88 percent of home invasions are opportunistic crimes, and 72 percent happen in empty homes.

How can smart plugs help?

If you’re going out for a few hours—or a few weeks for vacation or a work trip—why not use smart plugs to program your lights, TVs, music and other safe devices to turn on and off at times that simulate your normal daily activities?

That way, potential intruders outside will think you’re home, and be less likely to break in, causing damage and heartache.

Smart plugs help keep kids safe and sound

Of course, your kids are smarter than any smart plugs, and could quickly override them if they chose to—but to send a message that ‘now is your homework time,’ for example, you might want to program your smart plugs to switch off the TV or gaming console for a couple of hours each night.

You might also choose to plug your router into a smart plug, so that the internet is only online during programmed hours that you agree upon.

For younger children, smart plugs are handy for scheduling bedtime or night lights to turn on and off. You could also use an if-this-then-that (IFTTT) integration to turn on a lamp in the hallway when your child opens a bedroom door or motion is detected in the night.

Simply Conserve Smart Home Packaging A19 Br30 Smart SocketSmart plugs are an easy, affordable first step into home automation—and after you’ve tried them, you’ll wonder how you ever got by without them!

Explore More Features