Recipe to Turn Your Front Porch Lights on at Night

Step-by-step description of how to automatically turn your front porch lights on at night. This post includes information on the equipment, steps, and set-up needed to accomplish this outcome.

Smart switch
A white porch light against a brown vinal siding

This recipe outlines the steps to automatically turn your front porch lights on at night. The recipe assumes that your front porch lights are controlled by a wall switch. This automation is accomplished with a smart switch, but it could also be accomplished with a smart bulb. The smart switch offers the advantage of direct control of the light at the switch and not having to install a smart bulb outside exposed to the elements.

Here’s the recipe:

  1. Smart home hub – The first step is to install a smart home hub so that you can use wall switches that support Zigbee and Z-Wave. This will set you up for more smart home devices in the future. The hub will also come with an app that you can use to control your smart home from your phone.
  2. Smart wall switch – You will need a smart wall switch as the primary device for this function. Here is a solid GE single smart switch, here is a great GE Smart Dimmer Switch, and an overview of some switch options and concepts.
  3. How a switch works – This quick tutorial will give you a basic understanding of how a switch works, which will make wiring the smart switch a little more intuitive.
  4. WiringWiring a single smart wall switch is not has hard as you think. Don’t let it this step dissuade you from doing the project.
  5. Wall cover plates – You will probably need a new wall cover plate after you install the switch. The possibilities are endless, but you can usually find what you need on Amazon. Just search for 2-gang, 3-gang, etc.
  6. Integration – The smart GE Smart Switch will connect to the SmartThings application on your phone. Follow the process in the SmartThings app to connect it.
  7. Automation – Once connected to the SmartThings app, it will be necessary to configure the switch to turn on and off at sunrise and sunset. Configure this by clicking on the Automation tab across the bottom of the SmartThings app. Add a SmartApp called “Smart Lighting”. This SmartApp will walk you through the steps to automate the light. See screenshot below.

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