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Sorry if I got excited there. But, I'm a big fan of LEDs. In fact, LEDs rule the roost in about 90 percent of my own domicile. From front porch to the dog's yard to my own home office, fixtures everywhere sport some form of light emitting diode technology.

Finally … LED Smart Lighting for Home and Hearth!

Steve Maurer, IME
Sorry if I got excited there. But, I'm a big fan of LEDs. In fact, LEDs rule the roost in about 90 percent of my own domicile. From front porch to the dog's yard to my own home office, fixtures everywhere sport some form of light emitting diode technology.

Even my ceiling fans have LEDs instead of the old school fluorescent lamps or even the ancient incandescent bulbs. Part of the reason is that LEDs are inherently resistant to vibration. After all, there are no filaments involved … just diodes.

Remember that incandescent bulbs need to be rated for fan use. They need a heavier duty filament to withstand a whole lot of shakin' going on.

I'm ditching fluorescents, for the most part, because of the mercury content of the lamp. Not good for the environment, according to experts.

And if you read and actually follow the directions, there are special procedures for disposing them, particularly if they're broken.

But there's another, newer reason for using LEDs. One that actually caused me to give my "old" LED lamps to my kids and buy new ones.

Build a better light bulb …

And I'll buy it.

Yeah, I'm kind of a lighting tech nerd. Technology in general fascinates me. But lighting tech? Goosebumps, man, goosebumps.

So, yes, I ditched all my "old tech" LEDs for something, well, smarter.

Smart LEDs bulbs.

And by smart, I mean Wi-Fi enabled. Very cool.

I can walk into a room now and talk to my lights. And they listen … every time. Even when no one else does.

Which is most of the time. Hah!

Seriously, though, once I bought my first pack of smart LEDs, I was hooked. Within a week, I'd replaced every "dumb" bulb I could with a smart one.

And honestly, it wasn't that expensive. I turned my lighting into smart lighting for less than expected.

Set the lighting to match your mood or activity

This is kind of cool. With smart bulbs, you can set the lighting to match your mood or to what you're doing. For example, set the lighting to full brightness for preparing dinner. But when you're eating dinner, dial it down a notch to make it easy on the eyes.

And with some lamps, you can even adjust the color to set just the right mood for what you're doing.
For me, I like the easy brightness adjustment most. When reading on the couch, I keep 100% brightness to make it easy on the eyes. But when my favorite show comes on TV, I dial it down to 20% brightness. Just enough to find the remote and my snacks easily, but still dark enough to view the TV comfortably.

And all of that … with my voice or phone.

Your personal lighting command center

I control my LEDs with my Google Minis and Hub through their Google Home app. That means I can talk to my lights. And because they're all tied into the system (via Bluetooth and WLAN connections), I can control all the lights from anywhere in the house … or the world, for that matter.

If the dog need to go out to, uh, do her business at night, and I'm in the kitchen, no problem. I just light the path to the back door and keep from stubbing my toes.

And through the app, I can set schedules that match my lighting to what I will be routinely doing at a given time.

If the wife and I are out on the town, we can turn on the lights on the way home so we don't have to enter a dark house.

Once a routine is set up, it can run automatically. That means that if we go out of town for a week or two, it looks like we're still at home, turning lights on and off.

Next time you need to replace bulbs, consider turning your home into a smart home. Believe me … you'll wonder why you hadn't already done that before.
Photo courtesy of Philips Lighting
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