Smart plugs have become popular in the smart home market due to their ability to allow users to virtually control more devices in the home than ever before. However, like with most technology, you are bound to encounter some sort of problem that needs troubleshooting. When it comes to smart plugs, one of the most common issues users face is that infamous blinking red light.
What do you do if the smart plug starts blinking red? If the smart plug’s LED is blinking red, that is usually a sign that it is having trouble with internet connectivity. Try these troubleshooting steps to reconnect:
- Check the internet network to see that it is working and that all devices are connected to the same network.
- Make sure the smart plug is at least six feet away from the router, and within 30 feet from your smart home hub or smart device.
- Make sure all necessary hardware and software are updated.
- Reset and restart the smart plug, smart device, and/or smartphone application used to access them.
Smart plugs, as well as all smart devices, require an internet connection to be fully operational. Without it, they are rendered practically useless. However, when they do have access to a strong internet connection, they are incredibly beneficial to have.
Understanding Smart Plugs
A smart plug is “a power receptacle that plugs into a traditional electrical outlet and integrates it into your smart home network.” (Source: Lifewire) The goal of a smart plug is to allow you to control any device you plug into it via an app on your smartphone or with voice commands through a virtual assistant.
How Do Smart Plugs Work?
Most, if not all, smart plugs are designed to connect to your home’s wi-fi or directly to your internet router. By doing so, they can bring all types of devices into your smart home network, even those that are not traditionally “smart” (or have the ability to connect with apps or respond to voice commands).
Also read: Do Smart Plugs Work With Keurig?
Some of the latest smart plug models also:
- Have built-in virtual assistant support so you can speak to the smart plug directly instead of an app or outside virtual assistant.
- Allow you to use your smartphone to turn devices on and off at any time, as well as put them on timers.
- Track data about energy use and cost for any device plugged into the smart plug. You can also set them to restrict and prevent energy consumption by devices that are turned off.
- Include a remote to allow you control over a plugged-in device rather than using your smartphone or voice.
- Can be used both indoors and outdoors.
- Are sometimes designed as smart plug “strips” that function like a home surge protector but sends your phone notifications or alerts in the event of a power surge or if the devices connected poses a safety hazard.
Troubleshooting Smart Plugs: Blinking Red Lights
Is that looming red light of your smart plug on and blinking up a storm? Here is what you need to know about the light, what it means, and how to fix the issue it is trying to convey:
What Does it Mean if a Smart Plug LED is Blinking Red?
Most standard smart plugs have an LED light that signals its status to the user. A light that is off means that the device is off. If the light is solid blue or green, that usually means that the device is on. A blinking blue or green light means the smart plug is warming up or setting up.
So, what does it mean if a smart plug LED is blinking red? Regardless of the brand or type of smart plug you own, if it is blinking red, then that is usually a sign that there is some type of connectivity problem. This could mean that your smart plug is having trouble connecting with its power source or its internet connection—although in most cases, the problem stems from a poor or nonexistent internet connection.
What Should You Do?
There are many reasons your smart plug could be having trouble connecting to your wi-fi or internet network. Try the following steps to troubleshoot your smart home plug if it is blinking red:
1. Checking the Network
Make sure that your smart plug is connected to the same wi-fi network as your smart home network. For example, if you plan on syncing your Google Home Mini with your smart plug, make sure both devices are operating on the same network.
There is a chance that your smart plug device was set up on a different network, even if it was set up using a smartphone or smart device that is already using the correct network (i.e., Netgear 31-G vs. Netgear 31).
If all of your smart devices are, in fact, connected to the same network, try resetting your router. To do this, unplug it for 30 seconds, then plug it back in. Even if you are already connected to the internet with other devices in the home, doing this will allow your router to clear out anything left from heavy network traffic, and create fresh connections with all of your devices, including the smart plug.
In addition, if you have changed your wi-fi password recently, make sure the new password has been updated in all of your smart devices.
2. Moving Smart Plug Location
The location of your smart plug can interfere with how well it can connect to your home’s wi-fi. For an optimal connection, make sure the device is at least six feet away from your internet router.
Also, see that the plug is located within 30 feet of your smart home hub or another connected, compatible smart home device.
3. Updating Hardware & Software
Make sure that the smart plug is on and fully operational. Try connecting the plug to a different outlet in your home to make sure that the source of the problem is not related to miswiring or a faulty outlet.
Also, make sure that your smart device and/or smartphone application used to access the smart plug are updated to the latest software version. Miscommunication issues can occur if firmware and applications are out-of-date.
4. Resetting the Smart Plug
If the previous troubleshooting tips do not work, try restarting or resetting the smart plug, and/or the smart device or smartphone application used to access the plug. Although this is the most common solution any IT person will give you, it usually works if all else fails!
- To restart your smart plug, simply unplug the device connected to it, and unplug the smart plug from the socket. Wait at least ten seconds. Plug the smart plug and device back in separately. (Note: For some third-party smart plugs, you may need to press and hold down the button on the plug as you plug it back in. For smart plugs with lights, make sure you release the button as soon as you see the LED light turn on.)
- To reset the smart plug to its factory settings, press and hold the button on the side of the device for at least twelve seconds.
It can be frustrating to find that an advanced smart device like the smart plug is flashing a glaring red light at you, without any knowledge of what it means or what you can do to fix whatever may be wrong. However, by following the above troubleshooting tips, you will most likely be able to resolve the issue without resorting to calling technical support or referring to an owner’s manual.