Smart Surge Protectors Offer Smart Home Features – at a Fraction of the Cost

family at home watching tv

Probably you’ve seen ads or web sites for all kinds of smart home and office features, such as light bulbs you can turn on and off from afar, voice-controlled TVs and the like. It all sounds great, like the Jetsons come to life – and then you see the price tag. Well, there’s another way to get similar functionality without replacing all your existing lights, entertainment gear and appliances: smart surge protectors.

Surge protectors are a must-have for any home or home office, as they protect sensitive equipment from short bursts of power that are higher in voltage than the devices can handle. Surges can result from a number of causes, including outside utility work, lightning strikes and other weather events, even the normal operation of appliances like refrigerators and air conditioners as they cycle on and off.

Today some smart surge protectors are adding even more value because they have the ability to connect to Wi-Fi networks in your home and/or home office and be controlled by a smart phone app or Alexa. On these emerging surge protectors, some ports will be “smart” ports, able to be remotely controlled. Plug a lamp into these ports, and you’ll be able to turn it off and on from wherever you may be.

Let’s say you and your spouse are out for dinner with friends on a Saturday night. Your teenage kids are home, under strict orders to shut off the TV and head to bed at 10 p.m. When the appointed hour comes, you can check your phone and see whether the TV outlet is live. If so, you can remotely turn it off. You could also use it to program the smart surge protector to shut off the TV outlet at a certain time even when you’re watching.

family at home on wi-fi

Smart Surge Protector = Cost Savings

Cost savings is also a significant benefit of a smart surge protector. Consider the devices in your home office, including your computer, monitor and printer. As long as they’re plugged in, they all draw small amounts of “vampire” power even when they’re not on. Plug them into a smart outlet and you can program it to shut down power completely, such as at night and on weekends. (Just make sure you turn your computer off first to avoid a hard shutdown.)

The same goes for your TV and entertainment systems– if they’re not being used, you can ensure they don’t draw any power.

Many homes routinely run dehumidifiers in summer months, to prevent mold, mildew and foul odors. Typically, they’re in the basement – out of sight, out of mind – probably running 24×7.   Plug it into a smart outlet and you can schedule them to run maybe 6 hours or so during the day and see if that’s enough to do the job. If so, you’ll save a lot of power.

Or consider UV lights that gardeners use to grow plants from seed indoors. A smart surge protector would allow the lights to be scheduled to turn on and off at appropriate times, and to turn them on remotely as needed.

Home Security and Convenience

Smart outlets can also be used to provide a level of security to your home, with apps that can schedule when different surge protector outlets turn on or off. Plug a lamp or two into a smart outlet and when you’re away you can program the lamps to turn on at dusk and off at your normal bedtime – from wherever you may be. It’s a whole lot easier than fumbling with those rotary timers, and nowhere near as expensive as buying individual “smart” lightbulbs.

There’s a convenience factor, too. Plug your coffee maker into a smart outlet and you can schedule it to start brewing in the morning, so you can wake up to fresh, hot coffee.

A Smarter Surge Protector

Not every surge protector has such features, of course, but one that does is the APC™ by Schneider Electric Smart Plug Surge Protector Power Strip. The device features six surge protected outlets, three of which are smart outlets, and four USB charging ports, two of them smart ports. That’s five smart, Wi-Fi-enabled ports on each strip.

The smart outlets and ports can be controlled by Alexa voice commands or the APC Home App, available in both the Apple App Store and Google Play. The app enables you to turn them on and off at will, or to put them on a schedule. You can also group outlets and ports on different surge protectors to follow the same schedule – one light in the living room and another in a bedroom, for example.

Not everyone is ready to shell out what it takes to create a truly “smart” home, and not everyone necessarily wants all those bells and whistles. But for a small investment, you can get many of the same features, while keeping your existing fixtures and appliances. Check out the Smart Plug Surge Protector Power Strip, available at Amazon, and I’ll bet you can think of many uses for it in your home or home office. Also, learn even more about how to ensure power protection and connectivity by exploring APC’s home solutions.

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