I’ve not written about this before but one of the things that drives me crazy, is the kids leaving lights on when they leave the room. More than that, it drives me crazy that they keep their lights on during the day in the first place. This has been an ongoing problem because the boys don’t feel comfortable in a room without the lights on. They leave said lights on when they leave because that way the lights are on when they return.
This is an Autism related thing for them. More specifically, it’s probably mostly sensory in nature but I have heard of many other parents struggling with the same thing.
As the person struggling to pay the electric bill, this drives me crazy because it’s a waste of money, not to mention a waste of energy as well. This is just one of those things that I try to help them work through but have yet to be successful.
Over the last year or two, I’ve been slowly converting the house over to hue lighting by Philips. We haven’t purchased any color bulbs but have replaced almost all the white lights in our house. I think we still have to finish the kitchen, dinning room and the landing at the top of the steps. We’ve already converted the living room, bedrooms, bathroom, basement, hallway and outdoor lights.
Until last week, I hadn’t figured out a practical approach to addressing this ongoing issue. I want to be supportive of the special needs needs my kids with Autism have but also try to be financially and environmentally responsible as well.
The hue lighting is an investment upfront but I’ve read that a single 8.5 watt hue bulb creates enough light to replace a standard 60 watt bulb. In other words, they are way more efficient and you’ll save money on your energy bill.
Even with them being more efficient, I still hated wasting energy.
Last week while I was at Best Buy, I decided to pick up pair of hue motion sensors. They’re about $40.00 a piece and with my gift card, they only cost me about $20.00 out of pocket. I could always bring them back if they didn’t work.
The boys bedroom and the bathroom are the two rooms where I’m always shutting lights off.
Here’s what I did.
I connected both motion sensors to our hue bridge. I setup one for the bathroom and one for the boys room. After that, we adjusted the sensitivity to meet our needs and then setup how each one would work.
Basically, during the day, the lights in the boys room and the bathroom are controlled by the motion sensors. The lights turn on automatically as you enter the room and shutoff after fifteen minutes of no activity. We can adjust the time delays or what we want to happen when motion is detected but we settled on this for now.
When the kids go into their room or the bathroom, the lights automatically turn on and welhen they leave, the lights automatically turn off. I’m no longer following behind them and shutting things off.
It’s been a week now and it’s working out well.
My hope is that over time, the boys will get used to the lights being off during the day and become more comfortable with it. To help with this, I can set the lights to slowly dim before shutting off. If I’m lucky, they will work through this need for the lights to be on all the time and we can check that off the list.
Until then, the hue bulbs and motion sensors are saving my sanity in two ways. They are cheaper to run and they shut themselves off. I honestly can’t complain at this point.
As an Autism parent, my life is stressful enough. Being able to check this little situation off my list of worries makes life a little easier to manage. I’ll humbly take my victories when and where I can get them.
One of my more longterm goals is to eventually add color bulbs in an effort to provide a better, more sensory friendly environment for the kids. For right now, we’ll take one thing at a time though.. ☺
Thank you for sharing this great story, Rob!