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.
How To Set Up Your A/C With Your Smart Plug
Once you now have your smart plugs, getting everything else setup is now a straight forward process. If you haven’t yet, start by first installing your window AC unit as you would normally. Then plug it into your smart plug and then insert the smart plug into the wall. Then you have to look for the app of the smart plug and install in=t in your phone or tablet.
The setup you are going to use for your app and the smart plug is going to vary from each other depending on the type of smart plugs you are using. There are the Kasa, Eufy and also Belkin smart plugs among many others. The process is just for setting up a smart plug with any device if you have set them up before you should be having a good time already.
Once you finish setting up your smart plugs with your AC, you may now consider integrating them with Google Assistant or Alexa. When you are connecting your smart plugs to any voice assistant you have, you should think through the name you give to each of the plugs and also don’t forget to add them to a group or room. This will enable you to control them much easier.
After you have now finished connecting them to the voice assistant, say, Alexa, you should now create a routine that will enable you to turn your AC on and off during the times that you want, day time or night time.
I recommend that you do this process through the Alexa or Google Home app and not through the smart plug app. If you follow the routine when connecting all of your smart plugs, then you will be able to know which app you are going to go to when you want to adjust your devices and their routine.
This is more convenient than when you try to remember to use the Kasa App for smart plugs timers or any other app for smart plugs.
How To Check If Your A/C Works With a Smart Plug
Smart plugs are gadgets which work on simple principles and enable you to program them and control your devices with their smartphone app. When you cut the smart plug off, it cuts the power to the device you have attached to it, and when you turn the smart plug on, you have pugged the lamp in.
Smart plug capabilities are limited by the principle of cutting and restoring power. But you may have realized that not all appliance you have will be able to work with a smart plug. This is because some of them use an electrical switch.
Electrical switches store the current state to on and off on the circuit board, and the memory is lost when the power is lost. When you have mechanical switches, they let power through on their physical state, like the standard light switch.
The main thing you are supposed to examine before you go and buy a smart plug for your window AC is the power buttons. Are the power buttons soft push with an LED display or they are mechanical switches that flip to different positions for the off and on toggle or dial? If you find the soft buttons and an LED screen, they are usually an electrical switch, and they will work with a smart plug.
When you find it as a soft push button, the unit is unlikely to work with the smart plug, that is a mechanical switch, and you can make it smart. You can also use this simple check here to check. First, you have to turn your AC unit on and unplug it and wait for like 5 seconds and plug it back. If the AC unit turned itself on without pressing any buttons, then it can work with a smart switch.
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.
Are Smart Plugs a Fire Hazard?
I have found that smart plugs are not a fire hazard, and most of their model is made to exceed the minimum safety requirements and standards. All of the gadgets are UL tested and found to be safe, like other wall plug devices. Most of the safety concerns with smart home devices are as a result of us or an error, but you should be fine if you use them safely.
High draw appliances should never be plugged into smart plugs because some of the appliances require more electricity to run, and you should avoid it. When you have an appliance that put off heat, they require more energy to power like a space heater or a hairdryer.
I don’t mean that hair dryers are off-limits to be used on smart plugs, though you can find well known branded products that fit their rated amperage and wattage.
Safety Tips With Smart Plugs
Always Plug Your Smart Outlet Directly Into an Outlet:
You should not plug smart plugs into an extension cord or other power strips. They are designed for an outlet on the wall because they have been tested, and they perform best on the wall. When you use them anywhere else, you will only be increasing the risk of a fire.
Ensure the Smart Plug is Properly Installed:
The smart plugs should be flush to the wall outlet cover, and you should ensure that they fit snugly in the outlet. If they don’t fit well, you may consider calling an electrician to help you out.
Inspect the Outlet You are Going to Use;
This may not be a big issue for you if you are in a newer home. But if you notice any discoloration or cracks, it may be past time to replace them, and you should consider calling an electrician.
Make Sure Power Requirements are Within Maximum Amp and Wattage Ratings:
Most of the smart outlets have minimum watts of 1800 watts, and if you have a device that draws more than that, then you are asking for more trouble. They should not exceed the maximum amp and wattage ratings.
If They are Indoor Plugs, Keep them Indoors:
Indoor smart plugs are built slightly different from outdoor smart plugs. The outdoor plugs can be able to withstand some elements which the indoor plugs cannot.
Check Clearance For The Furniture:
You should make sure that your outlet has some space. Anything that has some cloth or anything that could be flammable should have some space from the smart plugs.
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.
Best smart plugs For Air Conditioners
Tp-Link Smart Plug for Air Conditioner Under $20:
The Kasa company is making smart home products from TP-Link that are under the radar. Their products are also super affordable, and they work very well. Their Kasa smart wifi plug is no exception too this.
These are basic smart plugs, and they come at a great price, and they work with google assistant, Alexa, Cortana, and IFTTT. They enable you to do much more, just like the rest of the smart plugs, from setting up scenes and have smart lights and other smart devices turned on and off automatically on a schedule. They also enable randomizing the lights even when you are out on vacation.
Kasa smart pugs have two variant, we have one that has energy monitoring and the other that is without energy monitoring. They are all priced the same, and so it is just a matter of whether you want to have energy monitoring or not. Just be sure that as you select, you choose the right one.
Eufy Smart Plug Mini for Air Conditioner Under $20
This is another basic smart plug that has no frills. They are also super affordable, and they work really well, there is no point of fearing if you have never heard of this name before. They are like a subsidiary of Anker.
This model comes with all necessities that you need a smart plug to have; this includes scheduling, energy monitoring, and with integration with google assistant and Alexa although they don’t have support for IFTTT. You can get Eufy smart plugs here from Amazon.
The good thing I have come to like about them is their app interface; it is among my favorite of the many that are available. It is very snappy and responsive, and the user interface looks good and is easy to use.
Belkin WeMo Mini for Air Conditioner Under $30
Belkin WeMo mini smart plugs are a good option if you are out looking for an option that is more popular and will work well with most of the third-party platforms though you will notice that it is a little more pricier than the rest of the models.
The good thing is that they enable you to have a wider number of platforms which it integrates with and they include Alexa, google assistant, IFTTT, Nest, SmartThings, HomeKit, and more. Ust like the Kas smart plug, they also enable you to have lamps plugged in, and you can randomize them when you are out on vacation to appear as if someone is at home.
Their only disadvantage is that they don’t come with energy monitoring, but the Wemo Insight has all the features but at a cost.
HomeKit Option: iHome ISP6X (Under $25)
There are few options for you to choose from when you are looking for smart plugs that work with Apples HomeKit platform. But here is the best of them all and one of the most popular options, the iHome ISP6X.
The good thing is that they not only work with HomeKit, but they also work with Alexa Goole Assistant, Nest and IFTTT. They also integrate with SmartThings and Wink. You can also enable them to schedule on and off times so that you can monitor the energy usage. They are still a great option even if you are not using HomeKit.
Z-Wave Option: GE Plug-In Smart Switch (Under $35)
The Z-Wave plug is the best option of a smart plug if you prefer to have smart plugs that will not require direct connection to the WiFi network but connect through a smart home hub via Z-wave.
These smart plugs use the superior Z-Wave plus to connect to different hubs, which include Wink, Vera, SmartThings, HomeSeer, Iris, and many more. They work with Google Assistant and Alexa if the hub you are using will enable the support of these voice assistants.
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.