Few things can spoil a pleasant day or night at home faster than a sudden blackout. Aside from being a major inconvenience, the loss of lighting can pose a safety risk and lack of security can put you at risk of home intrusion. Not to mention the potential for spoilt food and damaged electronics.
If you’re one of the many people who have converted your ordinary devices to smart devices such as lighting, outlets, power boards, locks, air conditioning, and more, you’re probably wondering: What happens to my smart home during a blackout?
Read on to find out.
Here’s what happens to your smart home in a blackout
Different smart devices rely on different sources of power. Some devices like smart hubs must be plugged into an outlet, while other devices can run independently on batteries. Certain devices rely on mains power but also have a backup power source which means they keep running even during a blackout.
With this in mind, let’s find out how some of the most common smart devices cope in a blackout:
One of the biggest concerns surrounding smart locks are, ‘Will I be locked out of my home if the power goes out?’
Fortunately, the answer is no.
Why? Because most smart locks are battery powered. For example, the Kevo Smart Lock runs on 4 AA batteries. So a power outage will have no effect on a battery powered smart lock. Even if your smart lock isn’t battery powered, you can still use a key to manually open, close, and lock the door.
Unfortunately, smart locks powered by Wi-Fi won’t work, as a power outage will cause the modem to switch off and the house to lose internet connection.
Smart garage doors let you remotely open, close, and monitor your garage via a dedicated app. Some models of garage door openers can be fitted with a rechargeable battery backup. This means the garage door will still be operational in the event of a power outage.
However, if your garage door is operated via Wi-Fi, then you may not be able to open it wirelessly. Fortunately, most models have a manual release mechanism, which lets you manually open, close, and lock the garage door.
Just like regular lighting, if there’s no power running through your house, then your smart lighting won’t work. This is because your smart bulbs are connected to the same wiring system as regular bulbs. So, when the main power switches off, anything connected to it goes with it.
While there’s not much you can do about loss of lighting, you have to consider what happens when the power comes back. Depending on your make or model, the smart lights might instantly blare up as soon as the power returns, potentially ruining your sleep.
Fortunately, models like the Phillips Hue Bulbs can be instructed to switch to their last used setting prior to the power outage. So, any lights that were previously switched off will stay that way once the power returns.
Smart security cameras
Whether or not your smart security cameras will keep working during a blackout depends on how they’re installed, and whether they have backup power.
Wired smart cameras obviously need to be connected to the main power. So, in the event of a power outage, they’ll stop working. Keep in mind, even if a wired camera has backup power it may still lose Wi-Fi connection, which could prevent the camera from sending a live video feed or storing footage in the cloud.
Smart wire-free cameras are a great way to keep your home secure during a blackout. They have a built-in battery that conserves low energy when not in use and can provide up to 3-4 weeks of power before recharging. Plus, they’re ideal for outdoor use as they’re easier to install than wired cameras.
How to keep your smart devices alive during a blackout
Practically any smart device connected to main power won’t work in a blackout. These include common devices like:
- Smart air conditioners
- Smart switches
- Smart outlets and power boards
- Any ‘smart’ version of an existing appliance (i.e. kettle, dishwasher, or fridge)
Considering that a loss of Wi-Fi connection is one of the biggest reasons for losing access to your smart devices, wouldn’t it be great if you could maintain a stable internet connection in a power outage?
Fortunately, there’s a way. By plugging your smart devices into a UPS (Uninterruptable Power Supply), this keeps any plugged devices working for a short period of time when a blackout occurs. The amount of reserve power a UPS has varies based on the model. Most consumer UPS’s provide anywhere from 45 minutes to 1 hour or more of backup power. Plus, they have built-in surge protection that protects your smart devices from damage.
Regardless of how many smart devices you have in your home, it’s worth knowing how they operate and what you can do to keep them working in times where you need them most. Fortunately, all it takes is a bit of time and research to choose products that won’t let you down when the power goes out.