Power outages can be an inconvenience for any household or business, but they can also cause issues with smart home devices such as smart plugs.
If your smart plug stops working after a power outage, it can be frustrating and puzzling.
In this article, we explore the reasons why your smart plug may not be working after a power outage and provide solutions to help you get your smart home back up and running.
- What Are Smart Plugs?
- Smart plugs and power outages
- Smart plug not working after power outage – how to fix
But first of all, what are smart plugs and why are they so important in creating a smart home?
What Are Smart Plugs?
Smart plugs, also known as smart outlets or smart sockets, are devices that can be plugged into a traditional electrical outlet, allowing you to control the power to any connected devices remotely. They are part of the broader concept of the Internet of Things (IoT) and home automation.
Here’s how smart plugs work:
- Plug-in functionality: Smart plugs physically resemble regular electrical plugs, with an additional feature of wireless connectivity built-in. They are designed to fit into standard outlets.
- Wireless connectivity: Smart plugs typically connect to your home’s Wi-Fi network, enabling communication between the plug and your smartphone or other smart devices. This connection is usually established through a dedicated mobile app provided by the smart plug manufacturer.
- Remote control: Once the smart plug is connected to your home network and configured through the app, you can control it from anywhere using your smartphone, tablet, or voice assistants like Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant. The app allows you to turn the power on or off remotely or set schedules for when the plug should activate or deactivate connected devices.
- Voice control and automation: Smart plugs are often compatible with voice assistants, enabling you to control them through voice commands. For example, you can say, “Hey Google, turn off the living room lamp,” and the smart plug will respond accordingly. Additionally, they can be integrated into broader home automation systems, allowing you to create routines or trigger actions based on specific conditions.
- Energy monitoring: Some smart plugs provide energy monitoring features, allowing you to track the energy consumption of connected devices. This information can help you identify power-hungry appliances, monitor usage patterns, and potentially save energy and reduce electricity bills.
Common applications of smart plugs include controlling lamps, fans, coffee makers, TVs, gaming consoles, and other devices that can be plugged into a power outlet. They offer convenience, energy management, and the ability to create more intelligent and interconnected homes.
Smart plugs and power outages
During a power outage, smart plugs are affected in five main ways:
- Loss of Power: Since smart plugs rely on electricity to function, a power outage will render them inactive. Without a power source, they won’t be able to provide power to the connected devices or perform any automated tasks.
- Disconnection from Network: Smart plugs often connect to Wi-Fi networks to enable remote control and automation features. During a power outage, the Wi-Fi routers and other network infrastructure may also lose power, leading to a disconnection between the smart plugs and the network. As a result, you may not be able to control the smart plugs using smartphone apps or voice assistants until power is restored.
- Interrupted Schedules and Automations: Smart plugs can be programmed to follow schedules or trigger automations. However, during a power outage, these schedules and automations may be disrupted. For example, if you had set a smart plug to turn on a lamp at a specific time, the power outage would prevent the plug from executing that command until power is restored.
- Default Power State: Some smart plugs have a default power state setting. This means that when power is restored after an outage, the smart plug may automatically turn on or off based on the default setting. For instance, if the default power state is set to “off,” the smart plug will remain off when the power comes back on.
- Reboot and Reconnection: Once power is restored, smart plugs typically go through a rebooting process. During this time, they reconnect to the Wi-Fi network and re-establish communication with other connected devices or smart home systems. It may take a few minutes for the smart plugs to become fully operational again. If you have a dozen or more smart devices in your house, they will all be trying to reconnect at the same time. Your WiFi network can’t handle that many devices trying to reconnect at once.
- When the power comes back after an outage, there is often an initial surge in power and that surge can blow fuses or even damage electrical circuits.
Smart plug not working after power outage – how to fix
Here are the steps you should follow when troubleshooting smart plugs after a power outage.
#1. Check for the power outlet
First of all, check that the wall socket has power. If there was a power surge when the power came back on a fuse may have gone or a circuit breaker may have tripped.
To check if the wall socket has power, plug your phone charger into the socket.
If the wall socket has power, the next thing to do is check that your WiFi router is working.
#2. Check that the WiFi is working
After a power outage, WiFi routers can take a while to reboot.
Check the LED lights on your WiFi router to see if it is connected to the Internet. You can also use your smartphone to check if you have Internet access.
If your WiFi router is not working or if there is no Internet in the house, you need to reboot your WiFi router.
This is very simple process:
- Unplug the router from the wall socket
- Wait a full 60 seconds and then plug it in again
It can take up to 5 minutes for a router to reestablish internet connection, so you need to be patient.
#3. Reset the smart plug
If you have power in your wall sockets, and the WiFi is working, the next thing to do is reset your smart plug.
To reset a smart plug, follow these general steps:
- Unplug the smart plug from the power outlet.
- Wait for at least 10 seconds to ensure any residual power is discharged.
- Locate the reset button on the smart plug. The location of the button may vary depending on the model and manufacturer. It is usually small and recessed to prevent accidental presses.
- Press and hold the reset button using a paperclip or a similar tool.
- While holding down the reset button, plug the smart plug back into the power outlet.
- Continue holding the reset button for about 10-15 seconds or until you see an indicator light flashing, depending on the specific smart plug model. The flashing light usually indicates that the reset process is in progress.
- Release the reset button after the light starts flashing, and then unplug the smart plug from the power outlet.
- Wait for a few seconds, and then plug the smart plug back into the power outlet.
At this point, the smart plug should be reset to its factory settings. You can then follow the manufacturer’s instructions to set it up again and connect it to your smart home system or mobile app. Remember to consult the user manual or support documentation provided by the smart plug manufacturer for specific instructions related to your device, as the process might vary slightly.
#4. Setup the smart plug again
Nine times out of ten, smart plugs will reconnect to the WiFi network by themselves, if you give them enough time.
But if they don’t reconnect and if you have tried resetting the smart plug and that didn’t work either, then you will have to reset the smart plug.
This involves going through the same steps you followed when you set up the smart plug for the first time.
Setting up a smart plug unusually involves two stages: setting up the smart plug in the manufacturer’s app, and then adding the smart plug to your Smart Hub.
The exact steps will vary depending what brand of smart plug you are using and what Smart Hub you have. In the example below I am using a TP-Link TP110 smart plug and the hub is the Amazon Alexa smartphone app.
#5. Setting up the smart plug in the manufacturer’s app
In the manufacturer’s smart plug app, tap on the plus sign to add a device.
The app will ask you if the smart plug has a flashing light – tap the button to confirm. The app will then look for the smart plug.
Next, give your smart plug a name.
The app will now ask you to connect to the WiFi network. Once the app has connected to your WiFi network, you’ll see a message saying that the smart plug is ready to use.
You are now ready to add the smart plug to your smart hub, which in my case is the Amazon Alexa app.
The app will ask you what sort of device you want to set up – tap on ‘Plug’:
You’ll then be asked what brand the plug is. Scroll down till you see the brand of your smart plug:
Alexa will then start looking for the smart plug you just set up.
You can then assign the smart plug to a room, if you want (you also skip this step).
And that’s it – your smart plug is ready to use:
#6 Power cycle your router
If none of these fixes worked, it’s time to power cycle your router. Turn the router off at the wall, wait a full three minutes, and then turn it back on again. It can take a few minutes for a WiFi router to re-establish the wi-fi network, so be patient. If your router has LED lights, make sure the light for Internet connection is lit up before checking the smart plug again.
When a smart plug stops working after a power outage it’s frustrating. But it is not an insurmountable problem. By following the troubleshooting steps outlined in this article, you can quickly diagnose and resolve the issue.
Remember to check the power supply, reset the smart plug, and ensure your home WiFi network is working.
If the problem persists, it may be worth seeking technical support or trying a different brand of smart plug.
Ultimately, by understanding the potential causes and implementing the appropriate solutions, you can usually restore your smart plug’s functionality and continue to enjoy the convenience and efficiency it offers in your smart home setup.