With the smart home craze turning into a reality, I find myself faced with the decision to throw away my otherwise perfect appliances and replace them with something new and smart. By now, you should know that I am not privy to throwing away perfectly good stuff.
Hear me out, before bringing out the hoarder banners. There’s no point in throwing away my perfectly normal Cosori electric kettle.
I even like the blue aura it lends to the water when working. Gives it a futuristic look that puts a sheepish grin on my face.
While I have no qualms with how the kettle works, I’ll admit I could be happier if I woke up in the morning and found my tea or coffee water hot.
Yes, I know, I know. I should probably get a coffee maker. But I am perfectly fine with instant coffee or teabag tea – and I wouldn’t have space for the extra appliances in my tiny kitchen.
Something to Turn on the Kettle 5 Minutes Before I Need it
My problem is simple. I want to find the water hot when I need it. I don’t want to wait for it to heat up.
Since an electric kettle can turn on when you apply power as long as the kettle switch is on and it has water, how about automating the power application with a smart plug?
To achieve this, you can use any smart plug of your choice. Some of the options in the market include:
Setting Up the Smart Plug
Most smart plugs are plug-and-play. They all need you to download an app from your respective Android or iOS app store, connect to the plug’s WiFi, hook up the plug to your home network and set up schedules.
If you are new to home automation and don’t have other controllers hooked to Apple HomeKit, Alexa or Google Assistant, you could skip the home network step and just run the plug independently on a schedule.
Running the Smart Plug on a Schedule
I am a creature of habit. My morning routine starts at 8 am with a cup of green tea. Since I have the time nailed in, how about I make the smart plug turn the kettle on at 7.55 am?
Here is how I would go about it.
- Connect to the smart plug using the provided smartphone app
- Set up a schedule that turns on the kettle outlet plug at 7.55 am and runs it for five minutes
- Fill the kettle with water the previous night, flip its switch to the on position and plug the cord to the smart plug
The smart plug will turn on the kettle on time like clockwork. If the water boils before five minutes are up, the auto-shutoff feature on my kettle will turn off the kettle for me. When I saunter in at 8.03 am still groggy, I will have hot water ready for my hot cup of green tea.
Connect the Smart Plug to Your Home Network for Better Control
If you already have a home network and a couple of other smart devices, you can take this a step further by connecting the smart plug to your home network and hooking up to the automation platform of your choice.
This could be Alexa via an Amazon Echo, Google Assistant, Apple HomeKit, or even IFTTT. After this, you can either incorporate the smart plug into some scenes or control it via voice commands.
For instance, you could:
- Turn the plug on when you tell Alexa or Google Assistant to ‘Turn on the Kettle’
- Create a wakeup procedure on Google Assitant that turns on the smart plug five minutes after your morning alarm
- Create an IFTTT conditional that turns on the plug as soon as you open the blinds on your bedroom window.
Remember to go for a smart plug that supports your home automation technology of choice to make integration simpler. If you are starting out and don’t have any other appliances, go for something that supports Siri if you use an iPhone and something with Google Assistant if you use an Android phone.