April 02, 2012
| by Steven Castle
It can be tough being team physician for the Atlanta Falcons football team. You’re traveling much of the year with the team. You’re taking care of injured players. But how do you take care of your own home?
For Dr. Spero Karas, the answer was an Elan g! control system, installed in his house by Atlanta-area custom electronics (CE) pros Link Your House.
The newly integrated Elan g! system now encompasses 11 zones of audio, six flat screen TVs, four HVAC zones, 30 lighting loads and five motion-activated surveillance cameras. It even controls the Karas’ existing whole-house audio system and allows them to use their old universal remotes, so the family can continue accessing music and TVs with the controls they’ve been using for years.
One of the real bright spots for Karas and his wife is the Elan g!Mobile app that lets them monitor the home’s surveillance cameras and HVAC controls from anywhere in the world. Dr. Karas and his wife have iPads and iPhones, so they can use the g!Mobile app to adjust the heat or air conditioning and turn on the outside lights when they are coming home, or shut down the house easily when going to bed.
Having better control of the audio systems was a priority for Dr. Karas. “It was kind of clumsy,” explains Frank DeFilippis, design principal at Link Your House. “He had to turn on zone 2 on his Denon receiver, set it to right source, then go to that zone and turn the volume control knob. Now, with the Elan system, he can just launch an app on his iPhone or iPad and pick the zone.”
“It’s really given my family much better control of our entire home environment,” Dr. Karas says. “It’s changed how we interact with the house, partly because I can set and adjust lighting scenes myself with just a couple of button pushes. I really like the touchscreens and iPhone app too, and I’m glad we were able to get rid of those ugly thermostats on the wall.”
Programmable thermostats in five zones were replaced with HAI thermostats in an equipment room and temperature sensors that were painted over. The HAI thermostats are connected to the Elan g! system through serial connections in the equipment room.
When someone rings the doorbell, live video of the front door is displayed on the touchscreens in the kitchen and basement, which also mute the home’s audio system and instantly become hands-free intercoms. The On-Q Legrand intercom system had to be integrated into the Elan g! system using relays and a power supply, says DeFilippis.
The five surveillance cameras, including the front door intercom, turn on when they detect motion and record to a DVR that is viewable from any device with the g! software, including iPhones and iPads.
The g! system also controls the cable and satellite video for six TVs throughout the home, including one in the gym that Dr. Karas uses daily. “Being able to quickly and easily change the TV and music while I’m working out was something I always wanted, so it’s like a dream come true,” he said.
Steven Castle is Electronic House's managing editor. he has been writing about consumer electronics, homes and energy efficiency topics for two decades. He is also the co-founder of GreenTech Advocates