One of the first smart home products I bought for my home was a Belkin Wemo switch. Before Apple developed HomeKit, I had already imagined a smart home. Previously there was only one option for an outdoor HomeKit adapter. Late last year, Belkin released a new outdoor Wemo outlet that is compatible with HomeKit.
HomeKit Weekly is a series that focuses on smart home accessories, tips and tricks about automation, and everything related to Apple’s smart home framework.
There are several reasons to use HomeKit switches for outdoors. Especially at Christmas, automating your outdoor Christmas lights is a simple reason to add this type of product to your HomeKit environment. But it’s still a useful device for anything you might want to control on the outside of your home outside of the holiday season.
I have a pretty interesting outdoor lighting setup that an outdoor HomeKit outlet is the perfect product for. Because of the place where the client installed our floodlights, most of our yard is pitch black at night. It was frustrating for my kids to play at night, but it became more difficult for me to take the dog out. I wanted to add a floodlight that was HomeKit enabled and wire it up without using an electrician. I knew I wouldn’t fish it with a light switch, so I had to get more creative with my lighting setup, and an outdoor HomeKit switch is a perfect product for the situation at hand.
I would have preferred to use a native HomeKit floodlight, but our trim is white so it had to match, and most models I found didn’t. My solution was to buy a generic floodlight in the right color and plug it into an outdoor HomeKit plug. I installed the floodlights near my gutter, routed the outdoor electrical cable behind the gutter and under my porch. I got the wire through the deck near the wall, put an outside plug on it, and plugged it into the Wemo outside socket.
The socket (marked as “light” in the Home app) is connected to a HomeKit automation system that is switched on for 15 minutes at night when the back door is opened. I can also use my HomePod to say, “Hey Siri, turn on / off the backyard lights.”
Install the HomeKit outdoor switch
Installing the switch reveals one of the reasons I love HomeKit. I plugged it in outdoors, opened the Home app, and scanned the HomeKit code. Since this is an outdoor product, I made a backup image of the code to be stored in iCloud. Alternatively, you can use an app like HomePass to keep your HomeKit codes.
Once the socket is in HomeKit, you can control the plug using the manual controls in the Home app or configure it to turn on based on automation or sensor data from other types of sensors. One disadvantage of the Belkin Wemo Outdoor Outlet compared to the Meross Outdoor Outlet is that you cannot control the individual outlets. There is only a single switch to turn on both sockets. Even within the Wemo app, both sockets are covered by a single switch.
Summary of the Wemo Outdoor Outlet and the use cases
Depending on your HomeKit needs, you will either have a unique use case for a HomeKit outdoor switch or not. Not everyone has outdoor items that they would like to control via a smart outdoor socket where almost everyone works indoors. If you need to control outdoor lighting or want to turn off power to an outdoor TV when you’re not using it, you’ll love the ability to automate everything with HomeKit with the Wemo Outdoor Outlet.
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