Close to half of American millennials have a “smart product” in their home and almost 20% of U.S. adults live in a home with a smart speaker. What happens to these types of devices during a power outage?
The short answer is that the majority of smart homes are not negatively affected by short-term blackouts or brownouts thanks to built-in battery backups. Smart home devices operate off their battery backup for short periods of time, often a few hours. During this time, they lack key features, including remote connectivity, because of the absence of internet service.
For example, security cameras will record and store footage, but if they rely on an internet-based connection, you won’t be able to stream the footage on your smartphone. Similarly, security systems may sound an alarm, but won’t be able to communicate with the alarm company or emergency services.
Features like Bluetooth connectivity and backup cellular connections also keep smart devices operational during power outages. Most smart devices allow you to use them without the “smart” component. For example, connected locks you open with your smartphone can also be opened with a physical key. Garage doors controlled via an app can be lifted manually.
To weather a longer power outage inside your smart home, there are a few solutions. It’s also important to research how specific devices are affected by power outages, especially long-term ones, when purchasing and installing them.
Take No Action
If your smart devices are not essential to your home’s functions and do not need to be monitored, a long-term power outage will not be detrimental.
Set Devices Manually
Most smart devices will have a battery backup that lasts at least for a few hours. Take advantage of this time to manually change any settings before the devices die. Make sure you know how to operate your smart home’s controls not only using the app or hub, but manually at each device.
Install a Generator
Some smart homes store important data or operate essential features in a home. These smart homes should use a backup generator to ensure the safety and comfort of residents. To protect sensitive devices, an uninterruptible power supply should be installed as well. This may also be a good solution if you are not often home and cannot change settings manually.