Window shades and draperies have long been an overlooked piece of home technology. Yes, I said technology. With the addition of a motorized track or rod, they can take your home comfort, protection, convenience and beauty to a whole new level. Few other high-tech amenities can offer so much. Homeowners are starting to understand the benefits, says custom electronics (CE) professional Todd Anthony Puma of The source Home Theater Installation & Design Group, New York, NY. “There have been a rapidly increasing number of requests for shading from the owners of many of the homes I’m working in currently, and it makes a lot of sense. If we are creating the convenience of turning lights on and off through electronic controls, why wouldn’t we also do the same for the window shades?” Here are five good reasons to invest in motorized shading:
1. Convenience. If your home has many windows, and especially if these windows are large, manually opening and closing the shades and drapes can be a real hassle. By motorizing them and tying them into a control system, you can raise and lower them at the touch of a button. Or better yet, automatically according to a schedule you define.
2. Security. When the shades move up and down throughout the day, your house looks as if someone is there … even when you might be hundreds of miles away. Most control systems allow the shades (and the lights) to operate in a random pattern rather than on a predictable schedule, giving your home a real lived-in appearance.
3. Energy Savings. The heat that passes through the window panes on a hot, sunny day, called solar gain, can throw your air conditioner into a tailspin. By covering them up, your AC runs less. A CE pro can install a sensor that signals the shades to close when the sun is at its brightest.
4. Furniture Protection. The same sunshine that makes your AC unit run overtime can harm the upholstery on your furniture, causing it to fade over time. Covered windows can prevent this.
5. Elegance. No matter much you tug, it’s tough to get the shades into the exact position you want. By motorizing them, they can move in one fluid movement to the right spot. If you have a bank of windows, every shade can move in perfect alignment. As for draperies, you no longer need to use those unsightly rope pull cords.
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Lisa Montgomery has been writing about home technology for 15 years, with a focus on the impact of electronics on a modern lifestyle.