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The last thing you need when you’re laying in bed, trying to catch a bit of shuteye, is to suddenly get bathed in bright white, LED light. By the time you get over the surprise, it’ll take you half an hour to get back to sleep, only for the process to repeat itself. What is going on with your smart bulb?

There are several things that can cause your smart bulb to turn on by itself. The WiFi connection may be intermittent, the virtual assistant may have problems, the wrong routines are enabled, the light itself is buggy, or the firmware needs to be updated. 

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For future reference, when it comes to smart bulbs, it’s one of those things where you get exactly what you pay for. It’s understandable that you don’t want to spend hundreds on enough to cover the house but buying cheap smart bulbs is asking for issues down the road.

5 Causes & Fixes to Smart Bulb Keep Turning On

1. Losing WiFi Connection

We use the term “WiFi” pretty loosely here since many smart bulbs use Zigbee or Z-wave communication protocols rather than WiFi. However, the smart hub that the smart bulbs connect to will always function off of your WiFi.

Basically, the point we’re driving at is WiFi is not the end-all-be-all potential culprit here. If your smart bulb is having difficulty communicating with the smart hub and the smart bub runs on Zigbee, it’s having an issue between itself and the smart hub, not between itself and your router.

Whenever communication is lost, many smart bulbs go into what is called “safe mode.” At this point, they act like a regular lightbulb and if your light switch is on, the bulb will turn on.

The fix involves determining what the signal strength is between your smart bulb and hub or between the hub and the router.

WiFi, Zigbee, and Z-Wave are all impacted by walls, concrete, brick, metal, glass, sheetrock, wood, and rock. With Zigbee and Z-Wave, you need to ensure that each device has a clear line of sight between itself and the device before it, as well as the next device in the chain.

2. Smart Bulb is Glitchy

This is where the importance of purchasing a premium product versus a cheap product comes in. Cheap, generic brand-name smart bulbs are highly prone to glitchy behavior and frequent communication drops.

If it is indeed glitchy, there’s nothing for it but to replace the bulb altogether. However, you should rule out everything else before making that determination. Open the companion app associated with your smart bulbs or smart hub and make sure there is a strong signal between everything.

Also, ensure that the firmware is updated, something we will cover in more detail below.

3. The Smart Light Itself is Faulty

There’s really not much you can do if this is the case, outside of purchasing a new smart bulb. This is where the premium nature of the products comes into play, without elevating any one, particular brand above others, it’s always a good idea to shop for smart bulbs that command a premium following and price.

Sure, they’re pricey, especially if you decide to fully replace all of the bulbs in your house with smart bulbs. Phillips Hue and Lutron Caseta offer some interesting non-smart bulb options as well, which is where many smart home aficionados eventually gravitate.

Most smart bulbs come with a warranty and if yours is still within that window, you should certainly take advantage of that. You should also check the app to rule out any weak signal issues or conflicting IOT problems before you determine whether the bulb is done.

It’s always a good idea to rule out everything before jumping to conclusions. But, as we mentioned a few times already, you get what you pay for with these devices.

At the end of the day, it’s a smart bulb because of its capabilities, such as linking to your network and establishing routines.

Many smart bulbs out there also come with a ton of color-changing options so these devices are a lot more complicated than a traditional, LED bulb. It’s important that the bulb is well-made by a reputable manufacturer.

4. Routines

Depending on your smart home hub, virtual assistant, or app, it might be called something different. But, for most, they are known as routines, smart home commands you can set up on the companion app associated with the smart bulb.

For instance, you can set up a routine for a smart bulb to come on at 6 in the morning, every day except for Mondays. It can get a lot more complicated than that, but you get the point. If you have previously set up a number of routines, it’s easy for a smart bulb activation to fall through the cracks.

Check your routines and see if there is a command set up to activate your smart bulb at certain times or for certain reasons. These can get quite complicated, so check thoroughly.

If you have family members on the same account, someone else may have set up a routine as well.

A good example of the complexity that goes into these things is IFTTT (If This Then That).

For instance, you may set up an IFTTT routine so that the light comes on only if the coffee pot comes on, which may only happen on Monday through Thursday and only if your smartphone alarm goes off.

Believe it or not, you can go much deeper than that with these things so it’s easy to see how a smart bulb might get mixed up in the chaos.

Controlling light bulb temperature and intensity with a smartphone application. Concept of a smart home and managing light with mobile devices

5. Updated Firmware

Everything has firmware nowadays. If you’re building a smart home, you’ll learn all you care to learn about keeping that firmware up to date. This is especially true if you have several different brands or communication protocols.

Setting up your smart home is a huge task and it can be a lot of fun. However, a lot of people grab things at random and end up with a host of different brands and communication protocols, making it harder to keep up with the firmware.

Plus, all of these different brands often come with their own companion apps. Most of the time, you will update the firmware through these apps.

Just because you see that all these devices are compatible with a specific virtual assistant/smart home hub, doesn’t mean you should go with a variety of brands.

The best way to keep up with the firmware of your smart bulbs is to stick with a single brand across the board, that way everything falls under one app. You can also ensure that all of the smart bulbs are updated at the same time.

Most of the time, updates will be automatic but it’s always a good idea to jump on the companion app and double-check for yourself. You never know.

All Things Considered

Smart bulbs are very convenient and they can also be a lot of fun. They’re an integral addition to any smart home. However, you should stick with a single brand across the board, if at all possible, and avoid paying for generic brand, cheap smart bulbs.

If yours is coming on by itself, at either random times or similar timeframes each day, the odds are good that it’s something very minor.

A quick check through the companion app will often be more than enough to clear things up.

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Discover the reasons why your smart light bulb keeps turning on with this informative article, packed with troubleshooting tips and solutions.