5 Reasons Smarthome Timers are a Must Have

Written By Simon J Richardson

On May 28, 2020
Simon has been involved in smart homes for over 20 years in Australia, China, Singapore, Korea, Japan and Hong Kong and currently works with SAL National and SAL Commercial to develop, adapt and adopt new IoT solutions for the Australian Commercial and Residential markets.

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Smarthome timers are a must have addition to any home automation installation or upgrade.

Timers and schedulers are one of the most versatile components to introduce automatic actions throughout your smarthome that both save energy and enhance your lifestyle.

And after all, that what a smarthome really is, a home that makes living in it better than it was before your home automation system was installed.

Smarthome systems should enhance your lifestyle whilst you are living in the home, or enhance the experience for visitors in the case of AIRBNB and holiday homes. These are the 5 core aspects a smarthome provides and where a smarthome timer enhances the total experience.

  • Comfort
  • Convenience
  • Security
  • Safety
  • Savings (energy)

With that in mind, here are 5 reasons smarthome timers are a must have for every smart home.

Definition: Smarthome Timers versus Schedules

A schedule is an ‘event’ that occurs at the same time and day, automatically.

For example:

  • At 7pm on Monday Wednesday and Friday turn the outside lighting on
  • At 10pm on Monday Wednesday and Friday turn the outside lighting off.
  • At 6am on Saturday and Sunday, tun the heated towel rail on


A timer is activated - either manually with a button press - or from a schedule - and once activated counts down according to the time when it performs another action.

For example:

  • When you press the timer button in your bathroom your extractor fan starts and after 25 minutes it will turn off.
  • When you press the timer switch the corridor lights in your apartment stairway stay on for 5 minutes to allow you to climb 3 stories to your apartment, and then turn off.
  • When you press the button in your walk in robe the LED strip behind the mirror turns on for 15 minutes and then turns off.


Ideally the smarthome equipment installed will have the capability of providing both schedules and timers in a single unit to reduce installation costs and hardware costs.

Additionally, the chosen smart timer will have the ability to have the timer activated from anywhere, not just the push button switch plate on the wall, but also from a voice command, from a scene or a group activation. Being able to activate timers remotely opens a world of smarthome opportunities to the homeowners.

The SAL PIXIE STS350BT is one such device as part of the SAL PIXIE smarthome ecosystem of products.

Smartplugs enhance your lifestyle - SAL PIXIE - Simple Smart Home - Smartplugs

Smarthome Timer Essentials #1: Heated Towel Rail (Comfort)

When you have this combined capability you can combine schedules and timer together and the ideal scenario is a heated towel rail.

You may want the towel rail to turn on and off at certain times and days of the week. Perhaps even different times for different days. This is easily achieved with an automatic schedule.

However, you may also like to be able to manually activate the towel rail and have it turn off automatically after 2 hours of being manually activated. This is easily achieved with a timer.

The image below describes a sophisticated smarthome solution that the SAL PIXIE smart timer timer can provide for homeowners from a single device.

Smart timer heated towel rai - SAL PIXIE - Simple Smart Home

Smarthome Timer Essentials #2 & 3: Bathroom Extractor Fan Run-On (Convenience+Energy)

Another bathroom example to stay with the theme.

In your bathroom you have 2 separate switches 1 for the bathroom light and 1 for the extractor fan.

Each has a different timer running once activated.

You press them both on entering, complete you bathroom tasks and exit.

You have the confidence that:

  • If you forget to manually turn the lights off, the smart timer switch will take care of it for you. The SAL PIXIE Smart Timer switch can be overridden directly from the button so you don't have to wait for the timer to turn off.
  • The extractor fan will RUN-ON past when the lights turn off, to ensure that the steam is properly vented. It will then turn off automatically after that extra run-on time you set!

Now that’s convenient and energy-conscious too.

Bathroom extractor fan run on - SAL PIXIE - smart timer switch

Smarthome Timer Essentials #4: Intruder Alert (Safety + Security + Energy + Convenience)

Picture this.
Its 2am and you hear a noise outside.

You sit bolt upright and whisper to Alexa in your room (your voice assistant not your partner!)

“Alexa, intruder alert”

With that, all of your outside lighting turns on and stays on until the smart timer switch turns it off over 20 minutes.

You go back to sleep, secure in the fact that the outside lighting will be turned off, in stages, in the next 20 minutes.

You see, you had set up a Scene in your SAL PIXIE PLUS app which included:

  • Your smart timer switch for the front porch light set to time out after 20 minutes
  • Your smart timer switch for the rear deck lights set to time out after 10 minutes
  • Your smart timer switch for the under-eave lighting set to time out after 5 minutes

This staged turn off, both keeps your home outside lit for a period, but as it turns off in stages makes it appear as if a person is controlling the light groups 1 by 1 adding an extra level of security and surety.

Smarthome Timer Essentials #5: Departing and Leaving Home from the Garage (Convenience + Security + Energy)

For homeowners who have a garage connected via an internal door to their home a smart timer switch is an ideal application for smarthome automation.

For this example consider 3 components from the SAL PIXIE smarthome range.

  1. The Smart timer switch ( STS350BT)
  2. The Multifunction controller ( SMFBT)
  3. Multifunction remote control (button) SMCBT 

As you are leaving home in the morning you press the button on the wall plate with the multifunction button installed at the internal door from the home to the garage. This turns on the lights in the garage to allow you to enter your car, open your garage door and exit.

This button is setup to activate the smart timer switch, which is mounted inside the wall cavity by the electrician near the main garage door. This syncing capability provided by the multifunction switch is a basic function of the PIXIE smarthome solution am the smart timer switch can be activated from any device and still perform its timing function.

The timer switch will turn off your garage lights after the 10 minutes - this is what you set the timer period to during setup.

SAL PIXIE smart timer garage operation

When you return in the evening, you open your garage door and using your PIXIE remote button inside your car, you activate your lights again (from the same timer you activated in the morning).

The PIXIE remote button can also be synced to the timer and setup to activate the timing function. The smart timer switch can be synced with multiple devices to perform the same action.

After 10 minutes and once you are inside your home and have exited your car safely, you can be confident the garage lights have not been left on - as the smart timer switch has turned them off automatically.

And there you have it, just 5 examples to explain why smarthome timers are a must have for any home automation solution.


SAL PIXIE Push Button Smart Timer Switch STS350BT

Timer can be activated via mech push button, as part of a scene, as part of group and from voice commands ( SIRI, Google Home, Amazon - when PIXIE Gateway installed)

  • Works with SAL Pixie and PIXIE PLUS free Apps for iOS and Android
  • Ideal for retrofitting into existing wall plates
  • 2 wire push button smart timer switch
  • Bluetooth wireless control enabled.
  • No WiFi needed for in-home control

Setup features

  • Ideal for extractor fans, lights, towel rails, bathroom and other switchable loads
  • Push-button pairing with other Pixie devices - no App needed.
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