May 18, 2010
| by Lisa Montgomery
It’s always good to think outside the box, especially when it comes to your home. After all, who wants to live in a cookie-cutter kind of abode? Having an automation system installed in your home is a good first step to creating a house that’ll have the whole neighborhood buzzing. Driving by sophisticated processors and able to be programmed by a professional custom electronic professional, an automation system can manage, control and communicate with just about anything with an electronic pulse.
A few of the first items people think about automating are the lights and thermostats. This makes a lot of sense, certainly. But remember—also try to think outside the box. You can tie in windows and weathervanes, gates and gas fireplaces. Of course, the more you include the more time your pro will have to spend programming your system. It could really start to add up, so be sure there’s a real benefit behind your ideas.
Windows: Need a little fresh air? By adding a motorized crank (check out www.wintrol.com) to your windows you can take advantage of a cool breeze without lifting a finger. Your automation system can open and shut the windows at predetermined times of day. Add a moisture sensor to the setup and they can close automatically at the first drop of rain.
Weathervanes: An electronic weather station (see www.weatherhawk.com) can measure the current weather conditions and feed that information to your home automation system. All kinds of cool things can happen: the windows can shut if it’s too cold, the sprinklers can turn off if its raining, the AC can kick on when there’s high humidity.
Snow Melting System: There’s no need to flip a switch to melt the snow of your driveway and sidewalks. When the weather station detects snow, it can signal your home automation system which, in turn, can activate the snow melting system (www.warmzone.com).
Gas Fireplace: Handheld remotes are available with many models of gas fireplaces, but you can also have them turn on and off automatically based on certain conditions. If the room temperature falls below a certain level, the fireplace can kick on, for example. You can also weave the fireplace into your daily routines. Per commands from your automation system, it can turn on every morning at 7, then turn off when you set your security system.
Gates: A motorized gate (www.mightymule.com) at the end of the driveway is both elegant and provides a good level of protection. When it’s under the control of an automation system, it’ll always be the right position. You can have your automation system open and close the gate based on the time of day or whenever you hit the PARTY button on a home automation keypad.
Lisa Montgomery has been writing about home technology for 15 years, with a focus on the impact of electronics on a modern lifestyle.