It has happened multiple times. We come home to a completely dark house and more importantly a completely dark front porch. You think we’d remember to flip on the porch light especially since we don’t have any other exterior lights (for now).
We discovered we were slightly spoiled in our condo since our porch light would come on automatically each evening. It sounds like such a trivial problem to worry about, especially with the long list of improvements for our new house.
But after a few times of searching for the front door keyhole using the car’s headlights, we knew it was time for a solution that didn’t involve remembering to flip on the porch light. Plus its nice to have a light on when you are out of town.
While on an all-too-regular trip to Home Depot, we checked out the self-timer light options. We found a light bulb extension like this one but we really wanted one with more features and didn’t like the idea of breaking out the ladder to program it any time a change was needed.
We found a this little digital timer that can be installed into the light plate and can be easily change when needed.
side note- This timer cannot be used with a CFL bulb. We’re a fan of CFL bulbs, but our front porch light remains lit with a standard bulb. This timer works with energy saving bulbs.
These installation steps might be self-explanatory to some, but I learned something new so I thought I would share! And when it comes to creating ‘Space for Living’, I’m all for automating the simple stuff.
Most importantly, turn off electricity to the outlet in which you’ll be installing the timer. We don’t want any fried fingers! We tested it too.
Before unscrewing the original light switch, familiarize yourself with the wiring. The directions helped out a lot with identifying which wires pair together.
Your wiring may vary but there are almost always 2 black wires. The upper wire is the line and the lower black wire is the load.
On the other side of the switch there are two copper wires (attached to the same screw) which are the ground wires. You can kind of see them in the next picture below. Ours look white from left over drywall texturing.
I wouldn’t hesitate to call in the pros if I really needed help. So, if you pull open that panel and feel panic, check your directions and when in doubt, call an electrician.
Loosen screws from the outlet switch and disconnect wires. *Remember, power is OFF.
Straighten any curl left in the wires.
Now, time to attach the timer! This is when I referred back to the directions a few times to double and triple check
what I was doing what my husband was doing.
Attach the line wire (upper black) to the one black line wire on the timer. Use a little wire cap, technically called a wire nut, to screw them in. It is super simple. You just put both wires in the bottom of the nut and turn.
For the next two wires, connect the blue to the other black (load) wire and the green (ground) wire to the ground copper wires. It all comes out looking something like this.
Screw in your brand spankin’ new timer into its home and install switch plate.
Since we have so many other light switches to keep our timer company we found this build your own switch plate. Great right?!
Cue wah, wah sound effect. The new switch plate had much smaller dimensions then a standard switch plate which would mean a dry wall repair. No Thank You!
So my brilliant husband exacto-knifed a proper sized opening out of our original switch plate to fit the timer. We returned our build-a-switch-plate and got a few bucks back in our pockets.
After programming our timer, we were set! And we haven’t touched it since! The display doesn’t light up so I hardly notice it until our light magically comes on and says, “Welcome home!”
Who knew this simple update would make such a big difference in our evenings! One day we’ll even update our porch light and bring it out of the 70’s.
Have you been working on any simple update lately? Any tiny switches (har-har) that have made a big difference?