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Light switches are an integral part of any home lighting circuit. They can turn on or off the lights in your house, and also be controlled remotely using a smart home app that is compatible with your wireless internet connection.
A good light switch is easy to install, and has a variety of colors and styles available. It also comes with a number of extra features that make it easier to control your lights.
A single pole light switch is the most common type of light switch. It controls a single fixture from a single location, and is often used in hallways or large rooms where there are multiple switches.
A 3-way switch is slightly larger than a single pole switch, and it has three screw terminals for wiring connections, plus a ground wire. Two of these take traveler wires, and the third takes the hot supply wire. The wires running from these three screw terminals form the electrical circuit between the switch and the light fixture, with the black hot wire from the service panel carrying electricity to the light when power comes into the box first and the white neutral wire from the light completing the circuit to the light when the switch lever is flipped to a different position.
An ordinary light switch has two buttons - one that closes the contacts and one that opens them. The switch's "quick break" mechanism means that the switch doesn't have enough time to generate an arc, which can cause the contacts to open and close again, allowing for a long working life.
Some modern switches even let you check the status of your lights from anywhere using a smartphone app. The Leviton Smart Wi-Fi Switch, for example, is compatible with Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant, and lets you control your lights by touch, voice or motion. You can also set up timers and routines for auto-on and auto-off using the Leviton app.
If your house has a lot of lamps, it may be worthwhile to consider switching the bulbs for energy-efficient models that use less power. Most LED and CFL light bulbs are now smart, meaning that they can be controlled with a wireless app on your phone or tablet, or by using voice commands from an Alexa-powered device or Siri-equipped Apple device.
There are a wide range of smart bulbs on the market, and the Philips Hue, Wyze, and Sengled Smart are among the most popular options. These bulbs can be controlled by a smart switch and have special effects such as changing the color of the light bulb, adjusting the brightness level, or setting the bulb's color temperature.
Most people don't think of their light switches as part of their smart home, but they are an important part of it. Some of the smart switches are designed to integrate with other devices in the home, including security cameras and speakers. You can even find a switch that's a touchscreen with touch-sensitive sliders to adjust the brightness of your lights and other devices.