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Can Smart Light Bulbs be Used Outside? Learn Where it is Safe

Lights Outside

Home lighting is advancing into a much more simple, convenient, and satisfying experience with the help of smart light bulbs. Now that experience includes the outside perimeters of your house.

Can Smart Light Bulbs be Used Outside? Smart light bulbs can be used outdoors. Even if the smart bulb is not specifically labeled for outdoor use, you may use a sheltered light fixture to protect the bulb from the weather and other outdoor factors that could affect the bulb. The bulbs also need to be within range of your wireless signal.

Note: Weather conditions and temperature may affect a smart light bulb’s operation.

Smart light bulbs are gaining more and more popularity among homeowners. One of the main reasons for this increased popularity is because these advanced light bulbs are controllable through voice and mobile apps. You can now control your lights without having to walk over to a switch.

Smart Light Bulbs for Outdoor Use

While most smart light bulbs are designed for indoor use, they can still function and be adapted for outdoor use. The placement of the bulb determines how well it will manage to withstand outdoor conditions. If left exposed to the elements, a smart light bulb will not last long.

Here are some external factors that could affect the life and the functionality of a smart bulb:

Moisture: Everybody knows that moisture and electronics don’t work well together. This is no different for the electronics in your smart bulb. They must be protected from rain and moisture that can occur outside. Also, don’t forget about sprinklers!

Temperature: A little less commonly known than the moisture factor is temperature. Electronics have a temperature range that they are designed to operate in. The range is fairly narrow when inside, and can increase by a wide margin when placed outside.

If you live somewhere that the temperatures get into triple digits during summer, and/or it gets below freezing in the winter, you may find that the smart bulbs may have trouble operating. The high temperatures may even cause permanent damage, while cold typically only causes temporary failures.

Dust: There is a lot more dust and particles floating around in the air outside than there are inside. The two most common ways dust causes damage is by overheating and moisture retention. Dust build up can cause the smart bulb to not dissipate as much heat as it needs two.

Secondly, dust tends to hold moisture, kind of like a towel, and that moisture can end up damaging the bulb. Basically, dust can exacerbate and accelerate the damage caused from the previous two points: moisture & temperature.

But you can use an indoor smart bulb for your outdoor requirement if you replace your standard fixtures with smart light fixtures. Smart protective light fixtures will be an extra expense, but it will certainly be a wise investment because it will surely extend the life of your smart bulbs.

I mentioned that placement is key. Try to place the bulb in some sort of enclosure, like a lighting fixture, that will help keep the elements out. These are commonly used with regular light bulbs as well, since they don’t work well with moisture either. Here is an example of a enclosed exterior light fixture.

Exterior Wall Scone

Another option you can consider is to place the bulbs in a covered area where outdoor conditions won’t affect them as much, such as your porch. So long as you don’t leave them directly exposed to the outside elements, the smart bulb should be okay. Just remember that the more you shield your smart light bulb from outside elements, the better it will function, and the longer it will last. Also, a smart bulb should be fine if you are replacing a regular light bulb. Just keep in mind that the smart bulbs need to be within range of the wireless network you are using.

Weather-resistant smart light bulbs would be an excellent alternative you might want to explore. With the growing market of smart lighting, manufacturers have now started developing smart light bulbs that are designed specifically for outdoor use.

That said, I’ve compared the specs of Philips Hue Outdoor floodlights, to their flood lights that are not specifically labeled for outdoor use, and found that they are the same for humidity and temperature. The main difference I see is that the warranty is 2 years for the outdoor lights, and 3 years for the normal floodlight.  To me, that says the bulbs are basically built the same, and they don’t expect the bulbs to withstand the outdoor elements as well as being inside.

PAR38 outdoorBR30 E26
Humidity5% <H<95% (non condensing)5% <H<95% (non condensing)
Temperature-20°C to 45°C-20°C to 45°C
View Bulbs on Philip’s Site: PAR38, BR30

If you need lighting outside, some of the better options available on the market come in the form of application specific lights, such as smart pathway lights, smart spot lights that you stake to the ground, or smart lights fixtures mounted to the wall. These types of smart lighting fixtures are designed to withstand the harshness of the outdoors, so you won’t have to worry as much about the lifespan and functionality. Just make sure that power is supplied safely and is waterproof.

The last consideration I want to point out is that manufacturers are constantly competing for a bigger chunk of the smart lighting market, therefore you will find plenty of affordable options for smart outdoor lighting. If it’s not out on the market yet, hit up one of the big smart lighting makers and ask them when it will be released.

Can Philips Hue Bulbs be Used Outside?

Can Philips Hue Bulbs be Used Outside? Philips Hue manufactures PAR38 Bulbs designed to be used outside. Other Philips Hue Bulbs can safely be used outside when placed in an area or fixture that will protect the bulbs from rain, snow, humidity, and other outdoor elements. The bulbs also need to be within range of your wireless signal to use smart functions.

Philips Hue is a leading brand when it comes to smart lighting. Their bulbs are awesome smart lights that conveniently enhance the space you place them in. Philips Hue bulbs are generally designed for indoor use only because the weather may damage them. One of the main reasons why these bulbs aren’t recommended for outdoor use is because they heat up quite a lot even when just used indoors. So using them outside, especially during the summer, may cause the light bulb to overheat. This factor can considerably shorten the bulbs lifespan.

That does not mean that an indoor Philips Hue bulbs will not work for outdoor use. These bulbs will often work fine outdoors. There is plenty of people who use a Philips Hue bulb outdoors without experiencing any issues. To ensure it works well for your outdoor area as well, make sure to place the smart light bulb in a light fixture that protects it from the weather and other outdoor conditions. Or you may also keep the Philips Hue bulb in a spot outside where these factors won’t affect it, such as a covered area like a porch.

Keep in mind, however, that it may not last as long if you use it outdoors, even with protecting it from moisture. This is because of the increased temperature swings that are hard to control outside. That said, if you maintain the smart bulb well and take extra protective measures, it should last you a while and work well outside.

If it doesn’t have to be a smart bulb, Philips Hue also has several options for outdoor lighting that you can choose from. In fact, I might argue that they have some of the best innovations when it comes to smart outdoor lighting.

Philips Hue makes a low voltage system (Runs at 24 volts) that is designed for the outdoors. They have many options available, including spot lights, pathway lights, and light strips. You can view the options on the Philips Hue store here.

Smart Outdoor Landscape Lighting

Our homes are getting smarter and smarter as new technologies continue to develop. As you already know, smart lighting doesn’t have to be just for indoors anymore. Installing smart outdoor lighting on your front or back yard landscape is one of the many ways you can enhance the beauty of your property all while improving your home security. Smart outdoor landscape lighting gives you the ability to take total control of all your exterior lighting when combined smart lights placed on the exterior of your house. Landscape lighting can also accentuate the beauty of your yard and garden at night, setting the mood to your desires. Smart lighting gives you a wide selection of options to work with.

Here are four main lighting options to consider for smarter outdoor landscape lighting:

Smart Floodlights

Smart floodlights are your first line of defense when it comes to keeping your home secure from any unwanted visitors. These are designed to provide bright lighting with wide angles over your property. You can use them to light up your driveway and backyard for more safety and security. You may also integrate them into your security system for maximum effectiveness.

The second common use case is to “wash” your house in color. That means have the flood lights pointing at your house and adjust the color to how you want it to appear. Think of those houses at Christmas time where you may see people have their house lit up in a mixture of red and green.

Smart Spotlights

Smart spotlights emit a narrow beam of light that’s focused on one specific area of your home. They are often used for highlighting the features in your garden or adding a sense of ambiance to your property. Perhaps lighting up a tree, or maybe a fountain. Smart spotlights allow you to adjust the lighting to just the right level. Smart spotlights are very versatile for outdoor lighting and useful for lighting up specific areas you want to highlight.

Smart Path Lighting

This type of lighting is designed to light up paved areas, walkways, decks, and stairs at night. Smart path lights emit low lighting, and some brands even offer you control over the brightness and color levels. These lights are perfect for garden pathways and even driveways. Lighting up your driveway creates an attractive pattern that also helps you clearly see your drive way. Smart path lighting also serves an important security function because it can light up the dark areas where intruders can potentially sneak through.

Smart Light Fixtures

Smart light fixtures, such as those you might find on someone’s porch, can add a touch of appeal and beauty to your entryway. Again, it also adds safety and security. Smart porch lights can be automated to turn off during the day and turn on at night. Or you can set them to whatever schedule you want. Porch lights provide you with a warm and well-lit welcome after a long day.

Smart Light Strips

Smart light strips are unique in that they are flexible. That makes them great for highlighting boundaries, such as the edge of a grassy area or you can have them running along a winding pathway.

Smart light strips are fun to work with because what you can do with these lights is only limited by the amount of creativity you are willing to pour into it. Creative lights encourage you to indulge your imagination.

Reasons to Smarten Up Your Outdoor Lighting Systems

I’ve touched on these reasons already, but they’re worth pointing out on their own. There are several benefits to garnishing the yard and garden landscape of your home with smart light bulbs and other types of smart outdoor lighting. Here are three key reasons:

Security

Having smart outdoor lights adds layers of safety and security for your home and family. There are smart lights that come equipped with motion sensors that can help detect intruders. Most smart lights can be linked with your security system and security cameras as well, depending on what type of security system you are using. If nothing else, exterior smart lights can most definitely function as a deterrent.

Energy-Efficiency

Smart lighting uses LED bulbs that generally use less than 75% energy than the old incandescent light bulbs. And they last a lot longer than an incandescent or CFL bulb, saving you more money in the long run. The automatic on and off function in some of these bulbs is certainly another plus if you wish to minimize energy consumption. The energy-efficiency or smart lighting is good for the environment and your wallet. 

Convenience

Smart lighting can be controlled through your phone and often by voice command. So, you can control all the lights in the comfort of your couch, or wherever you may be, without needing to get up and do it all manually.

You can set up schedules for the lights to automatically be turned on and off, and you can conveniently control and adjust the lighting mood according to your liking. So if you’re having a party in your backyard, you can comfortably set the ambiance you wish to have. Adapt the colors and levels by creating a setting that lets you fully enjoy your space.

Final Thoughts

Smart outdoor lighting comes in many shapes and forms. The wide variety of designs and particular purposes it offers allows you so many options to choose from and so much freedom to indulge your creativity in. With the help of smart light bulbs, you can most certainly make your home exterior, your backyard, and landscaping into your own personal happy place.