If you have your house outfitted with Philips Hue lights (or any kind of smart bulbs for that matter), you’ve no doubt had to deal with people randomly flipping off the switches to the lights. Here’s how to fix that problem.
With any smart bulb, you control them by turning on and off the light bulb itself, rather than using the light switch on the wall. Because of that, you have to keep the light switch turned on at all times. If it’s just you who lives in your home (or maybe also a spouse), you know to keep the light switch turned on and not mess with it. However, if you have kids or guests over frequently, it’s a bit more difficult to keep that switch untouched.
You might place a sticky note that says not to mess with the light switches, but that looks kind of tacky. Instead, there’s a really great solution for this.
Enter Light Switch Guards
These are normally marketed to folks with motion-detecting security lights where the switch would have to be kept on 24/7, or for switches that control major appliances that you don’t want to accidentally shut off (our dishwasher, for example, has a shut-off switch that’s right next to the switch for the garbage disposal—yikes!).
However, with smart bulbs becoming more and more popular, these guards have a whole new market now. They also come in several different styles.
If you have regular toggle-style light switches, you can get guards that screw directly into the light switch cover, which provides a semi-permanent solution. However, one side is open so that you can still flip the switch if need be without removing the guard.
There are also magnetic guards that use the light switch cover’s existing screws to attach onto. These guards cover the light switch entirely, and if you ever need to flip the switch, you can easily take the guard off with a quick tug and put it back on.
If you have “decorator” light switches that utilize a paddle switch rather than a toggle switch, you’re still in luck, as you can buy magnetic guards for your decorator switches.
If you’d rather stick to a semi-permanent solution for your decorator switches, you can get ones that screw in as well, and they have small holes on the top and bottom so that you can still operate the switch without unscrewing the guard.
Obviously, this won’t stop anyone from still flipping the switch if they really want to, but it adds a barrier that will at least remind folks that the switch is off limits in some regard.
And, to be fair, being able to still get to that switch is important sometimes. Maybe your Echo or Google Home isn’t working properly, or maybe you left your phone in the other room and just need to turn the lights on. The point of most of these covers is just to prevent people (and even you) from casually flipping them off through habit.
Get Philips Hue Dimmer Switches As Replacements
Now that your light switches are covered with guards, there is one downside: you’ll need to control your lights through the app on your phone or your voice assistant, unless you want to deal with bypassing your guards.
If you have Phillips Hue bulbs and want a more streamlined solution, Philips makes wireless dimmer switches that you can install anywhere and control any of your Hue lights like you would with normal lights.
This still gives your kids and house guests a way to turn on and off lights, and in a way that they’re used to with traditional switches. Plus, the switch has built-in dimming capabilities, which is a nice added touch.
If All Else Fails, Go with Smart Light Switches
At the end of the day, if you’re not okay with covering up light switches or spending money on specialty Hue dimmer switches, then your best bet might be to go with smart light switches instead of smart bulbs.
Smart light switches replace your existing light switches and control your existing light fixtures and bulbs, but the added benefit is that you can control the switch remotely from your phone, and even automate them with schedules or geofencing.
It’s a good solution if you like your existing bulbs and don’t really need the added pizazz of the color-changing Hue bulbs. Plus, it can be cheaper overall, since one switch can control multiple bulbs.