August 25, 2009
| by Lisa Montgomery
There are many variables that can impact the performance of a lighting control system. The amount of sunlight your home receives, the layout and size of the residence and even how the buttons on the controls all deserve careful consideration.
Here are a few key things you’ll want to do (and not do) when your ready to invest in a lighting control system for your house.
Do plan for 3-way switches. In a hallway or staircase, for example, put a keypad at both ends—so you can turn the lights on or off whether you’re coming or going.
Do integrate shading into your system. You’ll be able to take blend natural and artificial lighting for a pleasing effect that’s more energy efficient than lighting your house completely with light bulbs.
Do experiment with the settings of the lights before you have your keypads engraved. Give yourself at least a month to tweak the system, using temporary labels on the keypad buttons.
Do expect your installer to offer follow-up visits to adjust the settings of the lights. Inevitably, your lifestyle will change over the years; you’ll want the lighting to adjust accordingly.
Don’t let your installer leave at 5 p.m. Lighting looks much different at night than during the day, so you’ll want to be sure some of the programming happens in the evening.
Don’t get too personal or esoteric with the labeling of your keypad buttons. It may date your house or make it difficult for other people to use your system. Having scenes like “Dave’s favorite,” or a “dance fever” may seem like a fun way to distinguish the lighting scenes, but they’ll make no sense to your friends or future homeowners should you ever sell your house.
Don’t worry about leaving a room(s) off the system. Most lighting control system are modular so that they can be easily expanded as your budget allows or your needs change.
Don’t forget about the exterior lighting. Weaving those fixtures into certain scenes can have a huge impact on the appearance and functionality of your home.
Lisa Montgomery has been writing about home technology for 15 years, with a focus on the impact of electronics on a modern lifestyle.