Can I Use A Smart Plug With An Air Conditioner?
The simple answer is a YES! Especially if you are using a portable AC, which is shipped with a 13A plug attached to it. This is rather than that designed to be wired to a fused spur. This may also be highly dependent on the size of your unit.
I was hoping to be able to connect a smart plug to my window air conditioner in my home. I was using the TP-Link HS 100 plugs around my home but still was not sure if they could help me handle the amount of power that air conditioners use.
If your compressor is rated at 1KW or less, it should be fine. Equally, if it is also rated slightly larger but with modern soft start, there should not be an issue of concern. The main issue is just that compressors usually provide a significant surge load when they turn on it may sometimes overload the switch embedded in the plug.
To be on the safe side, you must ensure that you use a switch type plug rather than the one that is designed as a dimmer if you are connecting it to an electric motor.
I have a portable AC unit in my house that is plugged into a TP-Link smart plug which I control with Amazon Echo. There are no hiccups as long as your AC model resumes the running state when the power is restored, it should just work fine.
Some Fears Though
Some people may try out this and get paranoid about breaking the power unit on the AC. Some may think that this method is more damaging than just turning off the AC with the power button on the unit.
Though I would say that for the period I have used it, it is likely less of a graceful shutdown than just using the power button that is on the unit. The fact that it also resumes state makes me also to think that the power unit is designed to handle power loss.
This should just work out fine as long as you are not turning it off and then quickly back on. This is because it may turn back on with default settings which are different from what you had set them to in the first place.
Smart Home Plugs For Air Conditioners
These will typically plug into the wall sockets in your home although you can still get full smart outlets which can replace your existing outlet as well. You can still connect your AC or any other electrical devices that you would like to control like coffee makers or TV.
This is another low-cost option and a great feature for ACs as well. I first had this before I went on to install the other smart home products that required me to get a hub. That was my entry point to home automation, and it cured all my interest to what else I could do.
You will find that some of them work with amazon’s Echo while some work with hubs. You should make sure that you read the description of the product first before you make your final decision on which one you are going with. You should make sure that it is either compatible with the hub you have or smart assistant.
If you are interested in getting the one that works without a hub, you can then check it here on Amazon. Here is the link to most of the smart plugs you will find and do not require a hub. You can go through their reviews as well to establish if they are what you want for your home.
IR Blaster Solution
Using an IR blaster to mimic your remote after you train the blaster is also fine, and you are good to go. The Logitech IR Hub works pretty easily out of the box and also ties to Google services or Amazon for remote control.
If you would like to save some cash and are decent with tech stuff, then you can look at a Broadlink Mini. They are both IR repeaters which can be controlled remotely and programmable. An IR blaster kind of solution would be a solution to opt for.
Most people use Broadlink. Though you must also beware that AC tends to have strange IR packets that contain the entire state that the AC should be put into, rather than commands to change a particular element. These may cause some problems with capturing the codes though it is not impossible, its something to be aware of.
How To Cheap Out
You may also solve the problem cheaply using a raspberry PI zero, an IR transceiver with a humidity and temperature sensors and optional camera.
Just set up the PI zero with humidity and temp sensors, then set that data up in the home assistant with the temp monitor widget. Set up with the commands you need for the remote, on, off, cold or warm.
Some bonus advantages are that it can also turn on your TV and Dolby and monitors temperatures and you can add the security camera to the PI for good measure.
This works great with Google home integration and the home assistant thermostat also works wonders and is also way better than the integrated one.
The Harmony Hub
This is an odd solution that will save your money. If you buy the Harmony Hub and integrate it with Google Home, you will not have to screw with wiring, high voltage. This is a system that is already proven to work.
It is a better alternative option for Wi-Fi or Zwave solution. It also works well with Google/ IFTTT/ Alexa/ SmartThings. You can get into SmartThings and get a temp sensor to automatically turn it on or off.
It works well as a hub and IR transceiver. I must admit that sometimes back I didn’t look into Harmony Hub, but I love Logitech products and their quality. You can get one here on Amazon.