Some quick smart home additions with WeMo and Alexa
When we first started automating our home a few years ago, one of the first devices we bought was a Wemo plug-in wall outlet. The device is so simple to use to make anything smart – just plug the WeMo into the outlet, then plug the thing you want to control into the WeMo, and voila, you can control it via your phone. We loved our WeMo, but then we moved on to smart switches, ZWave, Zigbee and home hub platforms, and we had less use for WeMo as a one-off controller.
As we kept automating, one of the things we wanted to control was our gas fireplace. It would be nice to have it come on automatically and would bring us peace of mind to know it is off if we have gone to bed or are not home. We couldn’t just replace the 12-volt switch with a ZWave switch like a lot of our other devices, so the fireplace was left manual for some time.
It was the Amazon Echo and WeMo’s integration that helped us realize that we had a solution to automate our fireplace. Since it is controlled via a wall outlet, we simply plugged in the WeMo to the outlet and connected the WeMo to our Echo. Now we leave the wall switch on, and can turn the fireplace off and on by asking Alexa. It works great. We bought an extra WeMo so we can add the same capability to our range hood. We used to forget to turn off those lights at night – now Alexa can do that for us as well.
One little mystery we experienced – with the range hood WeMo, pictured here, originally we named it “Hood” and it worked fine with the Echo. Then after a few weeks, it stopped working with the Echo. Alexa stopped saying “ok” and instead gave us her little soft bonk noise. We changed the name to “Range,” ran the discovery again, and while the Echo recognized it, it still didn’t work. Just today we tried again, renaming it to “Stove,” and now it works. We have no idea what was going on. Just another example of how sometimes this smart home stuff just quits working for no reason.
We thought we had retired our little WeMo outlets, but our Amazon Echo has given them a new life. WeMo has a great, simple integration with the Echo and we would recommend this combination to anyone who wants to start controlling things with their voice – no home hubs required!
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