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Q&A: Timers

Posted by Jenni Fredrickson on January 3, 2018 at 11:21 AM. Filed under How To, Around the Home, Q&A

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Timers are one of those nifty products that you almost never think about, but can save you time and money! Have you ever thought, “Wouldn’t it be nice if this appliance automatically turned on/off at X time?” Or, “I wish I could come home to my lights already on, but I don’t want to waste electricity by leaving them on all day!” In the timer edition of our Q&A series, we’re going to answer all your timer-related questions so you can confidently choose the right timer to make your life easier.

Q: What are timers used for?

A: Simply put, a timer allows you to automate your lighting and small appliances. Once set up, your lights or appliances will turn on and off at the times you selected. There are many uses for timers. And which timer you choose depends on location, type of lighting, and several other factors. You can find some of our favorite ways to use timers here and here.

Using a timer can help you cut costs in lighting your home by avoiding leaving indoor and/or outdoor lights on all night. Timers make it easy to come home to a lit home without keeping your outdoor light fixtures on while you are gone. They can also be used for small appliances such as coffee makers, hair styling appliances or space heaters, so you don’t accidentally leave them on all day. Timers are also useful for low-cost home security. Set your timer to turn your lights on and off to give your home a lived-in look, even when you are away.

The most difficult part may be narrowing down exactly what type of timer will be best for you. For outdoor uses such as patio or garden lights use a timer made specifically for that purpose, such as a myTouchSmart Indoor/Outdoor Timer System. For an indoor project, try a myTouchSmart Indoor Plug-In Digital Timer.


Q: Are timers difficult to install?

A: If you have no experience with electrical wiring, it’s best to consult an electrician before tackling a project such as an in-wall timer. In-wall timers are great for lighting fixtures that are controlled by a light switch, such as under cabinet fixtures or porch lighting. If you have the know-how, you can replace the light switch with an in-wall timer to easily automate your kitchen, garage, or porch lighting.

If you can plug the appliance or light into an outlet, setting up a timer is even easier, and can be managed safely by DIY beginners. Simply plug the timer into the wall outlet and the appliance or lighting fixture into the timer. Set the current time and choose your on and off times. 

Q: What do polarized and grounded mean?

A: Polarized plugs have two different sized slots, the neutral is the larger slot, this allows for a device to be plugged in, in only one way to prevent plugging in your device incorrectly.

A three-prong design has a grounded bottom prong as an extra safety precaution. This prevents you from being shocked when plugging in your appliance.

What’s really important about this distinction between these types of outlet plugs is to make certain that the timer you purchase has the correct corresponding outlet for the device you want to control. Extension cords and household appliances typically have the three-prong grounded plugs so check what type of outlet you need to save yourself a headache when you are setting up your timer.

Q: What is the difference between 7-Day and 24-Hour timers?

A: A 24-hour timer is certainly easier from a set-up perspective. It repeats the same programs every single day and thus you only need to set the current time and select your preferred times for your devices to turn on and off. With a myTouchSmart timer, it can literally be as simple as pressing a button.

With a 7-Day timer, while more difficult to set up as you set up not only time, but date, you have the ability to set your timer to have differing schedules for different days of the week. Perhaps you would like your Enbrighten Café Lights to stay on a little longer on the weekends. Or if you go to class on Monday and Wednesday evenings, you can set your porch lights to turn on automatically so you can arrive home to a well-lit house.

Another plus of having a 7-Day timer is that because it knows what the date is, you do not need to make any adjustments for Daylight Savings. The time change automatically adjusts with no input needed from you. For an even better experience, the myTouchSmart SunSmart 7-Day timers have built-in SunSmart technology that automatically adjusts to sunrise and sunset times in your area.


Q: What is a countdown useful for?

A: The "countdown" feature allows you to set a one-time program to turn your devices off after a set amount of time. You can set it for anywhere between 1 minute and 24 hours. This feature is useful for one-off tasks that do not need to be programmed to happen regularly.

Q: What is the difference between Custom and Preset settings?

A: For your convenience, myTouchSmart timers come equipped with multiple preset options that make set-up extremely simple. For example, if you would like your holiday lighting to turn on at 5 pm and off at midnight, rather than programming that time frame, you would simply press the preset button that corresponds with that time.
However, if there is not a preset button available for the time frame you are needing, it is still fairly easy to set a custom time for your appliances to turn on and off.

Q: How do wireless timers work?

A: The wireless versions of myTouchSmart timers allow you to control multiple devices with one remote. For example, if you would like all your outdoor holiday lighting to turn on simultaneously with your indoor lighting, you simply plug all your various lights into myTouchSmart wireless receivers, and the remote will control all of them with no additional programming. The remote automatically syncs to any receivers within 100 feet, making set-up for multiple lights simple and efficient.


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About the Author | Jenni Fredrickson

Jenni is a Digital Content Administrator at Jasco, developing content for digital marketing that primarily focuses on Jasco’s home electrical products and brands. She enjoys digital photography and going on mini-adventures around the city. She devours a large number of books on a regular basis and has an unhealthy obsession with historical dramas. Jenni has a BA in Advertising and Brand Communications from the University of Central Oklahoma.

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