Smart bulbs offer a convenient way of controlling the lighting in any home.
You can see at a glance what lights are off and which ones are working and set up several lighting commands executed at certain times during the day.
However, it’s not uncommon for these bulbs to go offline once in a while, but why does this happen?
Your smart bulb keeps going offline for several reasons, including some interference affecting the communication between the bulbs and the hub. The bulbs or the smart hub may also need a reset or a firmware update to correct minor software issues. It may also be due to age and overuse.
If you’ve been having recurring issues with your smart bulb, you’re in the right place!
In the rest of this article, I’ll look at some of the common reasons the bulbs keep going offline and what you can do to solve the problem.
How Do Smart Bulbs Work?
Because of the impressive technology behind smart bulbs, they’ve become an efficient way of managing the lighting in your home.
But to understand why your smart bulbs can go offline intermittently, you need to understand how they work.
Smart bulbs work by being controlled wirelessly through a remote or smartphone app.
You can turn your lights on and off, dim them without leaving the sofa, or you can even control your lighting while you’re on the other side of the country. But for them to work, you’ll need a hub in most instances.
Some smart bulb brands won’t work if you don’t install a gateway designed to communicate with the bulbs and translate commands.
Most smart bulbs talk to themselves over the Zigbee network, and you’ll need a way to get the communication through to your Wi-Fi and vice versa. This is where the “hubs” come in.
The Philips Hue Bridge and the Kasa Smart Bridge are the best examples of the hubs that link up your home internet and the bulbs.
Home automation systems like Nest or SmartThings can also serve as the hub for your smart bulbs. They work over Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, or Z-Wave networks.
Some smart bulbs don’t need hubs to work, but most of the popular brands do.
The combination of technologies that have to work together to make smart bulbs work together must all be in tandem for a seamless performance every day.
This includes the technology inside the bulbs themselves. When one of these fails, you’re likely to get bulbs going offline frequently.
Further reading: Will Smart Bulbs Work in Any Fixture? 9 Lighting Facts
Why Smart Bulbs Go Offline and How To Solve the Problems
Below are some of the main reasons why your smart bulb keeps going offline:
Minor Software Problems
Smart bulbs are designed to communicate with an app on a smartphone (or web browser).
Some of them are configured to work with voice assistants like Siri, Google Assistant, or Alexa.
Any software errors that affect the communication process can take the affected bulbs offline.
In some cases, this will only happen for a few minutes or hours, and the bulb will revert to normal.
Other times, you’ll need to reset the bulbs to get them online again.
The process for resetting a smart bulb will vary from one model to the other, but for the majority of them, here’s what you should do:
- Turn on the affected bulb for two seconds.
- Turn it off for another two seconds.
- Repeat the process 4-6 times.
- The bulb will return to factory settings once the light flashes.
The exact timing with your on and off-cycle will vary across different bulbs from different manufacturers.
With some bulbs like the Wiimote LED, you’ll have to turn the bulb off for one second and turn it back on for three seconds.
If you have the GE A19 Smart LED Bulbs (available on Amazon.com), you’ll need to turn it off and on in 5-second cycles until you get the flash.
Again, there are some brands you can’t reset with the method above. They include Innr, Sengled Element Touch, and Philips Hue.
These have special reset instructions. For instance, you can’t reset Philips Hue lights individually.
You have to reset everything from the hub by pushing the “Factory Reset” button.
Whatever approach you take, resetting the bulbs and setting them up afresh is usually enough to correct the offline problems.
Disconnection From the Network
If your smart bulb goes offline, consider adding it back to the network again.
The method for adding the bulb back again to the network will vary, but it starts with turning it off and clicking “Add New Devices” on the smart bulb’s app to repeat the connection process from when you set the bulb up the first time.
Successfully re-adding the bulbs can get it back online.
If the affected bulbs are still disconnected from the network, check to confirm that they aren’t out of range.
Did you change the router position recently?
Have you made any changes to the interior décor that can block the signal to the bulbs?
If none of these apply in your situation, restart the router to see if the bulbs can come back online.
If you suspect the bulb is out of range, move it to a light fitting closer to the Wi-Fi hub and see if it’ll come back online.
Firmware Update Problems
If your smart bulbs are set to update automatically, there’s the possibility that an update failed to complete midway.
Open the app and navigate to the settings page to find the update menu. Check to confirm that the bulbs have the latest update.
If they don’t, activate the update process again and wait for it to complete.
Once you get the confirmation that you’ve completed the updates, check the affected bulbs to see if they’re back online.
LED smart bulbs tend to last longer than standard incandescent lights.
However, if you’ve had the affected bulb for a few years, it may have developed some permanent problems.
If you’ve tried everything I’ve covered thus far and the problem persists, it could be that it’s time to replace the affected bulb.
You might also like: Can Merkury Smart Bulbs be used outside?
How Do I Reconnect My Smart Life Plug to WiFi
Just like smart bulbs, smart plugs rely on Wi-Fi connectivity to function.
If they aren’t connected, they’re no different from conventional plugs and can’t take commands.
If your Smart Life plugs disconnect from the Wi-Fi, you can reconnect them by doing the following:
- Press and hold the On/Off button for 5 seconds until the lights start flashing.
- Select the “Add Device” function on the Smart Life App.
- Select the device and click “Confirm.”
- Enter the Wi-Fi password when prompted, and confirm.
This should be enough to reconnect the plug to the Wi-Fi again.
If it keeps dropping off frequently, it’s time to look at your router. It may be removing the plugs intermittently.
You can set up static IP addresses for the plugs. How-to Geek and PC Mag have covered how you can do this. If that doesn’t work, a factory reset for the router should correct the problem.
We’ve seen some of the few reasons why your smart bulb keeps going offline.
In many cases, it always comes down to connection problems or a minor software error you can fix with a reset.
However, if the problem defies the solutions I’ve discussed, and the manufacturer’s support desk can’t offer any other solutions, it may be time to invest in new smart bulbs.
Read next: Philips Hue vs. Nanoleaf: 3 Main Differences Compared