Smart Home

How to Set Up Smart Lights So They Don’t Annoy Everyone

Shay Meinecke 06-06-2016

Smart lights are innovative tech products that have proven valuable in many homes and businesses around the world. They’ve been written favorably many times on MakeUseOf 5 DIY Home Decor Tips With LED Strips and Smart Lights For centuries we've been living under the yellowish hue of incandescent bulbs, but no longer. Cheap, bright, multicolored LEDs has given us an entirely new visual dimension to play with home decor. Read More and seem to be loved by many.


But, let’s be honest, they aren’t without their problems. For anyone that has smart lights, you’ll know that sometimes all you want is a bulb that does what it’s suppose to do – turn on, turn off, and shine brightly. Simple enough, but sometimes it can be downright difficult to get your smart light to work properly.

What To Do With Bulbs Behaving Badly

Listed below are some problems you may have encountered with your smart light bulbs, and some solutions for you to try when your bulbs behave badly.

Glitches with Smart Light Apps

No piece of tech is without its faults or glitches. Over time, you’re bound to discover problems that can be really annoying. Some of these problems are so bothersome that smart bulb users have taken to social media to express their frustrations.

And that’s exactly what @yoyoyoel did when he tweeted about not being able to turn on any of his lights:


The problem here weren’t with his lights, but a “glitchy iOS app update” that ultimately didn’t update properly.

Thankfully, this is an easy fix. Most of the time, a simple resetting of the app will do the trick.

Way Too Expensive

Unfortunately, another smart light downfall is its price tag. The excellent smart bulbs from Lifx, for example, cost about $60 dollars per bulb, which is a lot of cash to spend if you’re looking to upgrade your lighting situation throughout your entire home or office. While buying a couple is okay for most people, that kind of investment is a lot for the average spender.


Fortunately, there’s an easy solution for this problem: You can buy cheaper bulbs from Cree, which has priced its lights at around $15. There are other options as well, such as these awesome DIY projects that are equally awesome 5 DIY Home Decor Tips With LED Strips and Smart Lights For centuries we've been living under the yellowish hue of incandescent bulbs, but no longer. Cheap, bright, multicolored LEDs has given us an entirely new visual dimension to play with home decor. Read More . Also, remember: Smart products can increase the value of your home Installing These Smart Devices Can Increase Your Home's Value In this article, we take a look at which smart technology you should install that will let you add those extra few thousand dollars onto your asking price. Read More .

How To Turn it On or Off?

There are other problems, too, as @nicrankin tweeted about:


While he didn’t claim a glitch, he did suggest that a problem with smart lights are its number of switches. Apparently, there are too many, as you can choose to turn on or off the light from an actual (dumb) switch or from an app.

This, too, has a simple solution: Smart switches.

The Belkin WeMo Switch (plus motion activated sensors), for example, promises to turn on your lights and appliances so you don’t have to. There are other smart switches that are just as good Which Smart Plug Is the Best One for You? Even if you aren't into the whole smart home automation trend, you really should get yourself a few smart plugs. They're one of the easiest smart home products to use. Read More , too.


Awesome solution in theory, but this too can be annoying if you don’t know how to properly set it up.

Set Up Your Smart Light Sensors

In order for the smart lights and sensors to work properly and not be so annoying, you’ll need to set them up for optimal efficiency and convenience. This solution is going to take more time, but it’s worth it.

To better set up your system, you’ll have to consider and do a few things:


Most smart lights sensors are made to work wherever you want. You could set up your lights to work in the garage, the balcony, or the patio. You could even put a light sensor in your kitchen, bathroom, or bedroom, if that makes sense for you. It doesn’t matter in which room or place you set up your system, but it does matter where you put the bulbs.

You don’t want your smart lights to be in a haphazard location, such as somewhere that could cause someone to trip. It’s also not best to put it where it could obstruct a walkway. The goal here is to have it perfectly placed in your desired room and space, and completely out of harms way. I’ve seen bulbs awkwardly placed, and it’s no fun for anyone.

Direction is Equally Important

While where you put your light is important, how you point the light is also equally important.

What doesn’t make sense, is using your light sensor to react to every little moving thing or nothing at all. If you have the sensor pointed to the ceiling or sky, the sensor could constantly detect some form of movement, which would eventually tire out the battery and most likely not be used the way you intended. If the sensor is pointed to the ground, the sensor would be hard pressed to detect anything and, again, probably not how you intend to use it.

Be sure to point the sensors more for what you want to detect, which brings up my next main point:


If you’re using lights for security 4 Ways a Smart LED Bulb Can Keep Your Home Safe & Secure Did you know that a few LED bulbs could be the difference between a home robbery and peace of mind? Sounds weird, but it's true. Read More , be sure to put the lights near a door, the garage, balcony, etc — anywhere that could potentially scare off an intruder or light up a dark area. With security in mind, it might be smart to use a bulb that shines brightly. Using too dim of a bulb or a soft color wouldn’t do you much good.

If you’re using the lights for practical reasons, do so reasonably. Bulbs that are way too bright aren’t so welcoming for guests. Blue bulbs, for example, might not be great for detecting an invader but could be nice for your bedroom when you want to relax.

Timing is Everything

Another important thing to consider is how long the bulb shines. If your bulb only shines for 15 seconds, you’ll probably not want it to be used for your front door when you need to look for your keys and the key hole in the middle of the night. A 5 minute shine is most likely too long though. Consider your needs and plan accordingly.

Choose Smart Bulbs

Smart bulbs were made to be energy efficient and ultimately save you money, which is great for the environment and awesome for your pocketbook. They’re convenient. They’re intelligently made. They can be used in intelligent ways. And there are a number of apps that can connect with smart bulbs to make them even smarter. They really are a must have for home owners!

Also, there are a number of brands to choose from 5 DIY Home Decor Tips With LED Strips and Smart Lights For centuries we've been living under the yellowish hue of incandescent bulbs, but no longer. Cheap, bright, multicolored LEDs has given us an entirely new visual dimension to play with home decor. Read More , so you’re sure to find one that is cost effective and perfect for you.

Just be sure to set up your smart light system so that you don’t annoy your guests or even yourself!

Do you own smart bulbs, and has anyone ever complained about them for any reason? Share your own smart light horror stories in the comments section below!

Image Credit: bored expression by Carlos Caetano via Shutterstock

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  1. Anonymous
    June 8, 2016 at 10:25 pm

    How long do smart bulbs last? I wouldn't want one blowing out while I'm trying to walk down the stairs or something!

    • Shay Meinecke
      June 9, 2016 at 1:58 pm

      Depends on what you get, but smart bulbs are known to last longer than 'dumb' bulbs. plus, they're energy efficient, according to various tests. The idea is if you spend more money on a smart bulb than on ordinary lights, you'll eventually save money on energy costs and on repeatedly buying ordinary bulbs. That's the idea, at least.