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Swipe Your Lights

Tarun really likes to fix things in the house. I mean reeeeallly likes to fix things...himself. On the other hand, I am ever ready to get a referral and bring in someone else to fix things.

I don’t feel a compulsion to know how to fix things, just a compulsion they be fixed ASAP and cost-effectively.

Tarun wants to know the how and the why and the what about busted things. He definitely has more brain cells than I do.

Recently, my strategy collided with his. We needed to put the porch lights on a timer to activate them from dusk to dawn without manual intervention We called electrician after electrician to no joy! The pandemic has left us with a new problem - there aren’t enough people for home repairs. The wait times are enormously long or people just don’t show up.

This was fertile ground for Tarun’s inner electrician to run into his inner IoT junkie.

Rewire?! So old fashioned, he scoffed!! An intelligent light switch that can be controlled by our phones is the way to go.

Oooh! Now he had my attention.

We marched off to his favorite store. Home Depot, of course.

We picked out a Lutron Caseta switch and tuned to Youtube to figure out how to replace an analog switch with a smart one. We cut power to the circuit in question. Then it took us 30 minutes to pull out the old switch, wire the new switch, shove the wire nuts into the dry wall, align the new switch with neighboring ones, and screw on the faceplate. The last step was to use one of our phones to program the lights.

Unscrew, cut, screw, click, done.

That night the lights turned on and the house didn’t burn down. Phew.

Smart devices and YouTube certainly make it possible for novices like us to attempt fixes we would not think of doing a few years ago. But master electricians, you need not worry. We remain steadfastly petrified of voltage and won’t venture beyond piddly fixes.

If only I could use my phone to wash off bird poop from my upstairs window....sigh!

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