I have a house that I use seasonally. I already have interior lights,
on a timer, to present a "lived" in" appearance.
I would also like to have our front door porch light come on, but on a
non-regular schedule. With all of the new, internet based options, is
there a way I can , say via the net/ Iphone, purchase a system that
will allow me to turn those porch lights on remotely?
On Friday, April 22, 2016 at 10:52:29 AM UTC-5, Dave C wrote:
I have been seeing a system advertised on TV at either
Lowe's or Home Depot. I couldn't tell you the name of
it but you are supposed to be able to control through
your Smart Phone. Check out either location to see
what is offered.
You can buy timers that can be set differently for each day of the week.
Unless this property has internet service at all times and you are
willing to pay for it, this kind of timer would be a much cheaper
On Friday, April 22, 2016 at 11:52:29 AM UTC-4, Dave C wrote:
For an application like that, there are replacement wall switches
that have timers included. I used to have one years ago that
included a "random" feature. You could set it for the lights
to be on from time x to time y and it would randomly add or
subtract ~15 or ~30 mins from those times to make it look more
random. That would seem to be better suited and certainly less
expensive than an internet controller.
I'd start with www.smarthome.com ATT also offers a system and probably
another half dozen. similar. You do need connectivity so you will have
to have internet service year round.
Google smart home and you will see options.
Yes. But do *you* want to have to remember to do it?
Or, would you, instead, prefer something else do it on
The DIYer solution would be to use a "stupid" irrigation controller
(or a weekly programmable thermostat -- anything with more than a
24 hour notion of time) and set different on/off times for each
DoW. I.e., assume folks aren't observant enough to notice that
the lights go on at 6 on Tuesdays, 8 on Wednesdays, 7 on Thursdays,
etc. Instead, they just see "it's on at a different time than it
The issue with this approach would be interfacing to the wiring
for the *porch* light (which, almost Shirley, is via a wall switch)
whereas interior lights could be PLUGGED INTO an outlet strip
controlled by this "timer".
The "just buy something" solution is along the lines of the
"Smart switches" and "smart lights":
You can also probably muck with a "light sensing" fixture and
trick it to not be as "repeatable" as it was designed to be
(i.e., so it triggers at different light/dark levels instead of
the same level, all the time)
You are making life WAY to complicated. Use a timer switch with a
"random" setting. Something like this Intermatic unit:
The EJ351 Programmable Timer allows up to 48 ON/OFF events per day.
Self learning functionality repeats first 24-hour ON/OFF pattern, and
"Random" setting turns lights ON and OFF at slightly different times
each day so as to not look programmed.
These things have been around for years - and they are not terribly
expensive. Googling EJ351 they are $30 Canadin (that's about what,
$15 US) on Amazon. and you can even buy them at Home Despot in the
On 4/22/2016 4:47 PM, firstname.lastname@example.org wrote:
My point was that you DON'T need "random" behavior. All you need
is behavior that doesn't appear to be "canned".
When our neighbors return to BC, their lights "appear" to go
on and off at "random" times. Anyone who watches the house
for more than several days would still realize there is a
pattern that is repeating -- why are ONLY these few lights
ever being used? And ALWAYS being used? Why are they only on
at night and never "early morning" (pre dawn)?
Put a leaflet on the front door. Come back a day later and
see if it is still there. And, again, another day later.
If you want to determine if a home is occupied (or not), it's
usually pretty simple. Invest in good neighbors, not technology.
I know when our immediate neighbors are "away" because I don't
see the skylights in the bathrooms (located in the interior of
the home) "light up" -- then turn off, again -- throughout
I know when my buddy is out of town cuz his pickup (that
normally sits in the driveway) won't be there "overnight".
When the folks across the street are away, the "bat blinds"
remain closed -- all day and night.
[Neighbors are the only ones who have the opportunity to take note
of which lights turn on at which "random" times. Anyone else will
simply drive by "sometime after dark" and see if the house is lit
up, or not. They won't care if the lights came on and off at
On 4/23/2016 10:24 AM, email@example.com wrote:
Living in a community with lots of "seasonal" visitors (second and third
homes), it's common for many homes to be unoccupied for months at a time.
And, for those with year-round residents (often retirees), to see many
homes empty for a week or more as they head off on a vacation, weekend
The regular assortment of "workers" filtering through the neighborhoods
(landscapers, pool servicers, tradesmen, soliciters, etc.) means there
is usually a fair amount of "background (car & foot) traffic" to make
the presence of a "strange" car in front of a house not noteworthy.
Neighbors who aren't aware (or don't care) of who's out of town can
easily accept this as "normal".
My dentist had a floor safe removed from the slab in his home office
and transported across the golf-course fairways behind his home in
a wheelbarrow while he was in Italy. None of his (very affluent)
neighbors thought anything odd out of seeing a "groundskeeper"
with a heavy wheelbarrow walking by their homes.
OTOH, if the insurance company sends someone around to take photos
of our property, I'll get a note from a neighbor complete with the
plate number and time! "Don, just FYI..."
As my son occasionally stays at that house. we chose to have the
Internet remain active year to remain active year round. I also
monitor our net connected thermostat, especially when the temps are
unusually low. Thus any internet connected "turn on/off" the porch
light option would be ideal. Note that porch light is now controlled
by a standard manual wall switch.
I should have been clearer, with my initial post. Thanks for all of
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