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How to Control Smart Lighting

Ask This Old House home technology expert Ross Trethewey tests out some new smart lighting configurations.

Steps for Controlling Smart Lighting:

  1. Ross explains a couple of different ways to create a smart lighting configuration in a home.
  2. Ross starts by discussing smart light switches, which can be used to replace old, standard switches. Then, all the smarts of the lighting configuration are embedded in the switch itself and can be used with any lighting fixtures. Ross does warn, however, that this requires wiring the new switch, which should be done by an electrician.
  3. A simpler option is to purchase smart bulbs, which require no wiring whatsoever. Simply unscrew the old bulb and screw the new, smart one in. These will only take advantage of their smart features IF the light switch at the wall remains in the on position.
  4. A hybrid option is to use a wireless remote. The mounting bracket locks onto the light switch, which keeps it in the on position and prevents it from being turned off, and the wireless remote can be pushed on/off or dialed for dimming capabilities. Then, the smart bulbs can still be controlled by the app and it’s less likely they’ll be powered off. Ross does warn that in this case, power is constantly running to the light fixtures. He suggests caution when changing out the lightbulbs.


Ross demonstrated the Aurora Smart Bulb Dimmer, which is designed to work with Philips Hue light bulbs and is manufactured by Lutron.

Shopping List:

Smart switch
Smart bulb
Wireless remote