I previously described how I had integrated the washing machine into the smart home ecosystem using a smart plug so that it is (re-)started by the HEMS when the cost to complete a washing cycle will be lowest, bearing in mind that my electricity supply is a combination of paid-for electricity where the price varies each half hour and ‘free’ solar. As the means to get the best from the combination of washing machine and smart plug has been the source of some confusion within the household then I thought I would lay out how to get the best from that combination.
Starting the cycle:
- Normally as found the smart plug should be on having been left on following the end of the prior load, but if not then turn the plug on using either (i) the button on the plug itself, (ii) the WIFIPLUG app or (iii) the Apple Home app.
- Load the drum in the normal manner which is optional washing liquid tab first with colour-catcher if required and clothes on top.
- Select and start the required cycle.
- Almost immediately stop the cycle on the smart plug using the same options as in #1.
- Put washing powder, fabric softener and water-treatment tablet (e.g. Calgon) in the drawer as required.
- At the optimum time the HEMS will restart the cycle. Do NOT move the cycle selector dial on the washing machine while waiting for the cycle to restart or the washing machine may become confused.
Adding more clothes while waiting for step #6 above:
- Pull the drawer forward so that any water admitted to the washing machine will not take the contents of the drawer with it.
- Turn on the smart plug as per step #1 in the ‘Starting the cycle’ list – our washing machine starts to fill with water at this point.
- On our washing machine clothes may be added during the early stages of load by pushing the start button. Washing machine briefly displays “No” and then (i) stops the water flow, (ii) unlocks the door and (iii) displays “Yes”.
- Extra clothes may then be added.
- Once the extra clothes have been added, the door can be closed, the start button is pressed and then the washing cycle will resume.
- Stop the cycle almost immediately with the WIFIPLUG using any of the usual options.
- Close the drawer.
- At the optimum time the HEMS will restart the cycle.
Ending the cycle is absolutely unchanged versus the washing machine without smart controls. The washing cycle finishes. The WIFIPLUG is left on by the HEMS. The door can be opened and the clean clothes dispositioned appropriately in the normal manner.
The dishwasher works similarly but more simply. The door can be opened at any time while awaiting the restart instruction from the HEMS and items removed or added as required.