Doesn’t it feel like you can do anything with smart home technology? You can control every device in your house from half a world away, but some of the most basic and essential features still seem to be missing.
Timers are one of the most crucial aspects of smart tech. When you can tell your electronics to turn off after a certain amount of time being on, you gain the ability to never forget to turn things off ever again. The big question is: does Lutron Caseta offer a timer?
Lutron Caseta does not have a built-in timer. However, there are some clever workarounds. You can add timer functionality by using the Caseta motion sensor, HomeKit automation, or adding a third-party smart device with timer functionality.
What is Caseta
Caseta is the flagship product line from the smart technology company Lutron. This is a range of lighting controls and other smart devices that help you better control and organize the rest of your smart technology.
The Lutron Caseta range of products works by using a proprietary type of connection known as Clear Connect. This dodges some of the more common issues associated with Wi-Fi connectivity as well as other alternatives like Zig-Bee and Z-Wave.
Lutron Caseta devices are more than capable of taking care of an entire smart home. Lutron also offers several other ranges of products designed for much larger smart spaces.
The Caseta light switch and motion sensor are two of the most popular products in this line.
Get to Know the Caseta Light Switch and Motion Sensor
Caseta light switches give you countless options for how you take control over your smart home technology.
These light switches work with Apple, Google, and Amazon smart ecosystems. They also give you the freedom to go hands-free when controlling your lighting. They can be voice activated, controlled through apps, and even work with setting schedules.
The Caseta motion sensor is one of the best on the market. It’s reasonably priced (well, it’s often $50 – but this is for a high quality product within a premium smart product range), and it gives some of the best results for a smart motion sensor. It has a 180 degree range which means you only need one to cover even the most complex spaces.
These motion sensors work great with smart lights. You can have your lighting turn on without even having to issue a voice command or reach for your smartphone.
So, can you use the Caseta smart switches or the Caseta motion sensor to set a timer for your lights?
Can You Make Lutron Caseta Turn Off On a Timer?
The answer to this question is a little yes and a little no.
None of the Lutron Caseta lighting control options come with a built-in timer. In fact, it can be a little difficult to find smart technology that has a built-in timer function. Most of today’s smart lighting options were built to work around occupancy rather than timing.
Smart lights are designed to check for motion, see if you’re home using geofencing, or other ways of detecting if people are at home. The old-fashioned trick of setting your lights on a timer is something that a lot of smart technology is still catching up with.
With that said, we can use some clever workarounds to grant timer functions to Lutron Caseta devices. Some of these solutions will add timer functionality to Lutron Caseta technology, while other options will solve the same problems that a timer would by using different tricks.
Here’s how we’re going to get around the lack of a timer feature.
Caseta Wireless Smart Home App
The first place we’re going to start our quest to make Lutron Caseta turn off on a timer is in the Caseta app.
The Lutron Caseta app does not have a built-in timer. However, it does have a few features that allow you to get all of the advantages of the timer without needing one specifically.
These two features (geofencing and smart away) will give you a workaround for a few of the more common uses for a smart light timer.
Geofencing doesn’t offer you a timer option, but it does act as a great workaround for people who are looking to turn off their lights when they leave their homes.
Geofencing is one of the most interesting features in smart technology. Geofencing sets up an artificial perimeter using your phone’s GPS (location data) or your home’s Wi-Fi connection. When your smartphone gets far enough away from your home’s location (or Wi-Fi connection), you can use smart apps like the Caseta app to send commands to your smart devices.
In our case, if you’re looking to set up a timer that will automatically turn off your lights when you leave your home, you can use the geofencing option in the Caseta app instead.
Simply turn on the geofencing option and set your smart devices to deactivate when your smartphone disconnects from your home’s Wi-Fi network.
This is a helpful alternative if you were looking to set up a timer that would, for example, turn off your garage lights when you leave for work in the morning.
The Caseta app has another feature that acts as a great workaround for the missing timer feature.
One of the biggest reasons people are turning to smart lighting is that it gives them an extra layer of security when they leave their homes.
Whether you’re heading off for work for the day or on a week long vacation, being able to automate your lighting control helps deter would-be criminals. Setting your lights on a timer allows you to keep them on longer even after you’ve left your house. The Caseta wireless smart home app features a Smart Away setting that lets you accomplish this goal.
Smart Away works by randomly turning off and on your smart lights at timed intervals. This feature helps simulate a natural rhythm of people turning on and off lights while they are home. If you’re looking to set a timer on your smart lights to make it seem like your home even when you’re not, the Smart Away feature in the Caseta wireless app is a great choice for you.
Use the Caseta Motion Sensor
Strangely enough, the one Lutron Caseta device that does have a built-in timer is their a motion sensor. You can use this motion sensor as a way to give a timer function to your smart lights. Here is how it works.
Your Caseta motion sensor will be able to keep its lights activated for as long as it detects motions plus a set timer. This timer can be set to a few seconds, a few minutes, or even a few hours. This allows you to use your smart home app of choice and the Caseta motion sensor to add a timer feature to any smart light.
All you need to do is have your smart lights turn off once your Caseta motion sensor stops detecting any motion. Don’t forget to add your desired timer length on top. This means that your lights will deactivate after the motion sensor stopped detecting any movement plus an additional amount of time.
This makes a great work around for people who want a timed lighting option for garages, safety lights on stairs, or any other timed event that is motion-based.
What if you want a timer that doesn’t need to check occupancy? Well, options are limited, but you can use third-party smart tech to bridge the gap.
What About Using Other Smart Home Brands?
So far, none of the in-app options that we have looked at have actually added a timer to Caseta’s lighting controls. However, if you’re using some third-party technology you’ll be able to do some pretty cool workarounds.
Let’s take a look at the third-party options that will add a timer to all of your smart lighting devices.
Setting Timers with Alexa or Apple’s HomeKit and HomePod
Whether you’re using Apple’s HomeKit or Amazon’s Alexa, you’ll be able to use a pretty sneaky trick to get your lights to turn off after X minutes. All you need to do is create a pretty interesting routine or automation that tricks your smart home system into thinking it’s turning off a scene rather than your lights.
Here’s a step-by-step guide on how you can do this basic smart home automation hack generally, although as always the exact steps may vary depending on whether you use Alexa, HomeKit or Google Assistant/Home:
- Create a scene that turns smart light X on. We’re going to name this scene “Scene X On”
- Create an automation that says “When X smart lights turn on activate ‘Scene X On.’”. This won’t actually do anything since your smart lights are already on. This step might seem redundant, but it’s necessary and it tricking your smart home ecosystem into activating a timer.
- At the bottom of your automation set of will be an option it allows you to tell your smart devices when to turn off. This is typically set to never, but you can set it to certain time intervals depending on the smart tech you’re working with.
Depending on the app you’re using, you might need to add an action to “wait X minutes”, which on the Alexa app involves clicking “Add action” and then clicking “Wait”:
This allows you to basically say “yes, turn some lights on. But after 30 minutes, turn them off again” – you will end up with three actions, but it should work out pretty well.
Follow these steps and you’ll have a basic and functioning timer even if the path you have to take to get here is a little tricky. At the end of the day, not only will you have your timer but you also have a deeper knowledge of setting more complicated automations and scenes.
Automations and scenes open up at the real depth of smart home technology, but there are also third-party devices that just have timers built-in.
SmartThings Hubs and Third-Party Tech
Quite possibly the easiest workaround for adding a timer to your Lutron Caseta devices is just to buy a third-party piece of smart tech that already has a timer built-in.
The SmartThings Hub has a timer function that you can rely on right out of the box. All you need to do is connect your Lutron Caseta devices and then use the timer function built into the SmartThings app.
While this is the easiest work around, it does require you to buy an additional smart hub. If you’ve already got a Lutron hub or another hub of your choice, getting a second or third one might not be that viable solution.