Thanks to the rain we have moved our focus inside and wanted to share a quick and super easy way to have indoor or outdoor lights on a timer. The set it and forget it kind. Before we got rained out we put one of these on our shed for the coach lights we installed (we can't wait to share it with y'all- we just have to catch a rain break to finish it up) and decided to carry on to the coach lights on our front porch and at our garage. We never kept our outdoor lights on because I habitually forget to turn them off. This way we don't have to worry about turning them off at night.
We grabbed all our essentials from Home Depot. The timer we used was this one. We went ahead and grabbed a standard decor switch (which is just fancy talk for the rectangle shaped switches) and plate cover since we are planning on changing out all of the switches to the fancy decor ones.
Installing and programming the switch is super easy. I promise. Here is a quick rundown of how we did it.
MOST IMPORTANT: Make sure that there is no power running to the switch you are working on. Flipping the breaker off is the best and safest way to do this.
1. After the power has been turned off to the switch. Remove the switch plate cover and all switches that you are replacing. We removed the the switches by just cutting the wire since Matt likes to start clean. This is not a must do but makes for a cleaner job.
2. Strip wires to expose the copper wire underneath that will be used to make the connection. For each switch you will have three wires. One white, one black, and one non coated or green, even though the painter tried his best to make them all white. You don't have to do anything to the ground wire, yet, since it is just copper with no casing. If you are just replacing the switch like we are here you wont do anything with the common (white) wires either. They should all already be connected together.
3. Now it is time to grab your switch. The best way Matt described this to me was totally not technical but it made sense. Imagine a draw bridge. Go with me, I promise it will make sense. When the switch is off the draw bridge is up not allowing cars, in our case the electricity, to pass and when the bridge is down the cars, electricity, can get were it wants to go to, light.
4. Secure the ground wire to the green screw. You will only have one green screw. The best way I remember this is ground to green. Both start with g's!
5. Next, secure the other two wires to the switch. So the live, one of the two black wires to be connected, which you will be able to tell by either two ways: 1. When the switch is off that wire will still have power, 2. If there is more than one switch in the box, it will be connected to a group of black wires. The group of black wires are connected so that all of them can have electricity. The live wire is connected to the bottom screw and the other black wire that is running to the light is connected to the top screw. Make sure you look at the switch to see which is the top. It usually says right on it.
6. This step is for the programmable switch. This one is a little different from the last switch, you don't secure the wires to the screw on the switch you secure two wires together with a wiring nut, with the switch came with. On our switch there is a black, blue, and green wire. These next steps might change depending on which switch you get but it will be labeled in the instructions. In our case, the blue wire is connected to the live wire and the black wire is connected to the second black wire running to the switch and as always the green wire is connected to the copper ground wire. Remember ground to green!
Now that the switches are installed. Let's give a collective: Hooray! We can start to put everything back together.
After all the wires are connected, the switches are just hanging there. Matt uses his electric drill for this because it lets him get them tight so they don't move. You really don't want them to move because it can compromise the connection. Then it is my turn to step and and finish the easy stuff. Grab a flat head screw driver, switch plate, and the teeny-tiny screws that the switch plate came with and get to screwing. If you are OCD like me all the screw heads have to be pointing the same way, don't judge. Now that everything is secured, go flip that breaker on and test that bad boy out! One of the reasons I love this switch is that there is a manual on/off switch that works even when the light is programmed. So, if I order a midnight pizza I can still use the switch. But who does that?
Our switch was super easy to program. We programmed it to come on and go off at the same time everyday. We read some reviews that people were upset that this switch wasn't back lit but I wouldn't want it to be lit. Once we set it we don't have to mess with it so not having it back lit is actually a bonus for me. It is like it isn't even there.
There you have it. An easy install on a programmable switch.
I wanted to share a picture of the result of our hardwork but the rain has really gotten in the way of that. As soon as I can I will get it up. I love coming home to the house being lit up, it is definitely a nicer feeling than a dark house.