Using Automation to turn off lights

One of the first things that I did when getting started with home automation was to set up an automation to turn off lights automatically.

I was tired of running across the house and up the stairs to turn off the lights when my kiddo left them on in his playroom. I’ve written a story about that before which you can read here.

Since then I’ve created more advanced systems. But they’re still very easy to do even when you’re just starting out with home automation.

I’m sure you’ve figured it out by now but I use Apple HomeKit and Siri for all of my home automation needs. I believe that this is the best system because it is easy to use is affordable and they have a great privacy policy. To see a list of all the equipment in my house just click here.

Can a Light turn off by itself?

The number one question I get is kind of light turn off by itself? The answer is absolutely yes. We can create automations and scenes with Apple HomeKit to control lights automatically. Do you get to decide when the light goes on or off.

Some of these techniques require only an iPhone (or Siri) and the light switch (or lightbulb). More advanced systems like I describe later in this article require switches or other sensors to trigger (or start) the automation.

Let’s get started with the easiest way to turn off the light without using the light switch on the wall.

Using Siri or Apple HomeKit to turn off (or on) a light

If you have an iPhone and some HomeKit enabled device you can very easily control it from your mobile phone or by voice command.

The set up is super simple and can be done in just a matter of minutes.

For this example I’ll be using a regular overhead light and a Lutron Casetta Switch with a bridge to demonstrate how to turn a light on or off.

This is a simplified way to add a Lutron switch and router to Home in HomeKit. This assumes you have correctly wired and installed the switch in your house. I’m not an electrician, but I do install my own switches. If you are interested in hard wiring your own switches – do your research.

  1. Open the Home App on your iPhone
  2. Click the plus button in the top right corner
  3. Scan the code on the Lutron Bridge near your router – you should see switch you want to add – click add to home (you might need to choose a location and give it a name.
  4. Next the switch should automatically recognize the new switch. Select a location and add a name (let’s call it playroom light) for that switch – the name you choose is the name that Siri will recognize
  5. Click continue and you are done!

How to Control your lights with Siri

If you have followed the above steps, Now when you say “Hey Siri – turn on the playroom light” the light will come on!

Also you can click the icon in the Home app on your phone to turn it on and off.

Auto Turn off Lights at a certain time everyday with Homekit

HomeKit has a couple of different ways to automatically turn off lights. Will be using an automation in this example to show you two different ways to auto turn off the lights at a certain time every day.

  1. In your Home App on your iPhone
  2. long-click (click and leave your finger on the icon) on the Light you want to Auto Turn Off until the switch appears
  3. click on the gear icon in the bottom left
  4. click on the edit button next to Automations
  5. Click on A time of Day Occurs
  6. Either choose sunrise, sunset, or a specific time of day. Be sure to click the days you want it to activate on as well
  7. click next and make sure the slider is showing green for Enable this Automation.
  8. Now on the days you selected the light you selected will automatically turn off

There are lots of other things you can do to automate your lights – I always encourage you to play around with the settings – you really can’t break anything. Have fun!