12 Best Ways to Use Smart Plug at Your House

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Home » SMART Switches » 12 Best Ways to Use Smart Plug at Your House
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Written By Dinu Sri

Dr H. T. D. S. Madusanka is an electronic expert with 10 years of experience, involved in the research and development of SMART HOME systems.

Here’s 12 ways to use smart plug at your house.

1. Can smart plug turn on TV?

Yes, you can turn on or off your TV using a smart plug. But there is a catch. Since most of the TV uses an IR signal to turn on its display, you won’t be able to turn on the TV display just by activating the smart plug.

So, even your smart plug establish the power connection, you still need a method to turn on the display by sending an IR signal.

Even though you can do this by manual (just pressing your TV remote control), the ultimate goal is to make everything smart. Right?

So, to solve this problem, you can use an IR hub. IR Hub is a device that is used to control all IR remote control based devices. By using an IR hub, you can do not only turn on/off a TV but change channels, increase volume and many more. This IR hub that I have found from the Amazon is fully compatible with Alexa. So if you can have this item together with a smart plug, then there won’t be any issue regarding TV operation process.

2. Can smart plug turn on an air conditioner?

Air conditioners can be controlled using a smart plug. However, the same problem can be occurred as in the TV control process. ( when AC machine required a soft switch or IR switch to turn it on by manually pressing will cause this issue)

There is a small test that you can do to check whether your AC machine works with a smart plug or not. First, turn off your air conditioner machine from the main power switch. Wait for one or two minutes. Then turn on the main power supply and check. If your AC machine works appropriately without any extra input, then congratulations !.; your AC machine will work with a smart plug without any hassle.

However, even after producing the main power, still, if you need to press a button to turn it on, then smart plug option will not work with that type of AC machine.   

Sometimes, AC machines will work with an IR remote control. If that is the case for you, then you can use IR hub-based method to control your AC machine (similar to TV control method that I have explained in above question).

smart plug turn on an air conditioner

The AC unit power requirement plays a significant role when selecting a smart plug for them. Let’s assume you have a relatively large AC unit. Then most probably, it will draw high amount of current.  In this kind of case, you need to select a smart plug that has higher current ratings.

Usually, in our day to day life, we do not use that much large AC units in homes. So, in general case, you will be in safe side with a medium or small size air conditioner units.

Further, there is a nice option in smart plugs to associate your air conditioner machine. That is schedule based on/off feature. You can schedule your own time slots for the AC machine using smart plugs. That way, you do not need to worry about extra power wasted on your AC machine when you forget to turn it off.

3. Can amazon smart plug dim lights?

No. you will not be able to dim your lights using a smart plug. Since smart plugs will act as a mechanical switch that directly cut off your power, it does not have the capability to control voltage or current into different values.

But, there is a solution to this matter. If you want to dim your table lamps or bedroom lamps, then there is a small device called “smart plug-in dimmer.”

This device can dim your lights with Alexa or Google Home. It’s a small device and not cost that much. If you have this one set up with your lamp, then no need to use another smart plug to control on/off steps. This dimmer is fully capable of all the functions that can offer from a smart plug. I have found this dimmer from Amazon, and it has many impressive features.

4. Can a smart plug turn on a kettle?

Yes, it will work on your kettle. Anyhow, you may need to check two things before buying a smart plug for your kettle.

First, check the current rating of your kettle. Since kettles tend to draw higher current, you will need a smart plug that can safely produce the current requirement.

In my experiences, I think TP-link smart plugs have excellent durability and higher current rating over other brands.

Further, you have to check your kettle operation compatibility with smart plug. You can do this following the steps mentioned below.

  • Leave your kettle ON by pressing any relevant switch
  • Then unplug it from main power socket
  • Wait a few minutes
  • Now again plug it back in

If the kettle starts heating up again without any extra involvement of yours, then it will probably work with a smart plug.

5. Can a smart plug turn on a coffee maker?

Any coffee maker will work with a smart plug until it does not require a further manual button press to start. Similar to TV, air conditioner and kettle that I have mentioned above.

Further, you can set schedules for your smart plug that used to connect your coffee maker. Using schedules, you can have a nice coffee ready for you, right after you wake up in the morning.

6. Can a smart plug be used on a power strip?

Yes, you can use a power strip with a smart plug. But, you need to careful not to exceed the smart plug’s rated wattage with the total wattage that draws in power strip. Extra wattage can cause burn the fuses inside the smart plug or worse.

Let’s assume if you want to turn on/off devices separately, which were connected to your power strip. If this is a requirement, then you will not be able to do that with a single smart plug.

For this kind of requirement, you will need a smart power strip like this one. This kind of power strips are capable of controlling socket by socket.

7. Can a smart plug turn on a Keurig?

Yeah. It will work. If you want to be sure, just follow the steps mentioned in question number 4.

One more thing, I have seen some Keurig devices with inbuilt auto turn on/off schedules. If your device contains a function like that, then do not try to buy a smart plug for it.

You can use your Keurig as smart as it is with that function.

8. Can you use a smart plug outside?

You can use smart plugs outside. Especially for your outdoor lights or decorations.

However, it should resist moisture and rain. Otherwise, it can cause a big problem. There are few smart plugs that could handly these weather conditions.

TP-link KASA outdoor smart plug is the best one I came across. It has two outlets with individual control. There are waterproof and compatible with Alexa.

9. Can a smart plug turn on Xbox?

Yes, you can do that. But, do you know that Xbox One has an inbuilt feature to support Alexa. With this support, I think you won’t need an extra smart plug to control it.

If you want extra details, just read this article from business insider.

10. Can a smart plug turn on a lamp?

Yeah, this is the most common and widely used application. Just plug your lamp into the smart plug, and you are ready to go smart.

11. Can smart plug use for immersion heater?

With a proper current rating, yes, you can use a smart plug for immersion heater. Well, I would go for at least 15 A rated smart plug to be at safe side.

Immersion heaters are not that much safe item. So you may need to pay careful attention to this application.

12. Can smart plug use for washing machines?

Nowadays, most of the washing machines are already smart. They will do all the necessary steps automatically, and once everything finished, they will go to shut down mode to save energy. If your washing machine is similar to this one, then don’t go for a smart plug. It’s just a waste of money.

Sometimes, there are old washing machines that do not go shutdown mode. In this kind of case, you can use a smart plug to schedule on/off time or watch energy consumption to detect the stage of washing process (realtime energy monitoring smart plugs will indicate the power usage of your washing machine. Once the process is finished, the energy levels can come to a shallow level. That means, the washing process has been completed)

Give your attention to buy a smart plug with a high current rating (15 A). Washing machines are devices which use high current.