How to Choose the Right Outlet Timer

One simple home improvement can save energy and increase security

Imagine never having to remember to leave the porch light on or worry that someone might break into your home when you’re on vacation. Installing outlet timers gives you complete control over when lights and other appliances turn on and off, making it much easier to manage both the efficiency and the safety of your home. To choose the right timer for your needs, it helps to understand what features are available.

Motion Detector

If safety and security are your main concerns, motion detectors can be installed indoors or out to turn lights on whenever someone walks by. These are useful for operating lights in the garage, the entryway and rooms that you frequently go into without a hand free to flip a light switch. Outdoor motion detectors can turn on porch lights or accent lighting to illuminate your path if you arrive home after dark. Lights that come on automatically are a great deterrent to potential invaders as well.

Mechanical Timer Switch

The simplest type of manually operated timer is a dial that you turn to keep a light on for a short period while you’re in a room or outbuilding. When the time is up, the light shuts off to conserve energy. Other manual timers feature pins or a dial that you can set up to turn a light on for a few hours at night when you’re out of town or in the morning before you get up. These timers may be installed in place of regular switches or plugged in to an outlet. Plug strips with built-in timers are also available if you wish to control several lights or appliances with one device.

Digital Timer Switch

If you need multiple programming options for different periods of time, a digital timer is the best choice. These timers cost more than mechanical models but have more features and are touted for their accuracy. Like mechanical timers, they can be installed as part of your electrical system or used with an outlet. Digital timers are good for programming random schedules for lights to go on and off while you’re on vacation, but they can also be used to ensure that an indoor or outdoor light is always on when you come home from work.

Stop by Rocky’s Hardware to find a wide selection of all types of outlet timers. Whether you’re installing several mechanical timers to use when you’re on vacation or you’re ready for a digital setup that will control lights and appliances throughout the house, our hardware store staff can help you choose the right model for your home.

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