Wireless lighting control systems and new DIY smart home products, including wireless smart bulbs or wireless dimmers, are proliferating in the tech market now, and are enticing homeowners to add smart home systems to their own homes.
Is a wireless lighting system something you can handle yourself or do you need a professional installation?
There are several issues to consider when looking at wireless lighting control. Home automation expert Joe Whitaker walks us through them in a new article from the January 2015 issue of Electronic House.
Among the primary considerations should be the homeowners’ comfort level with electrical wiring. While wireless LED bulbs are easy to install, smart switches and dimmers require more electrical knowledge. Wireless systems can also be effected by various kinds of radio and physical interference, so a homeowner considering such a system needs to know what potential problems may exist.
Whitaker suggests that if you don’t understand terms like signal range, interference, mesh networks and signal strength, then you may be better of consulting with a pro.
Different lighting accessories, such as wireless dimmers, work with different kinds of light loads. Not all dimmers worth with LED or halogen bulbs, for example, so you need to know both what kinds of light loads you want, and what controls will operate them.
Most DIY wireless lighting systems depend primarily on a smartphone app for controlling the system. If you or members of your family aren’t comfortable managing all your lights with an app, a professional can install complimentary control like keypads or touchscreens that are easy to use.
Smart lighting systems are often connected to other home automation systems, such as home security, motorized window shades or even home entertainment (like whole-house audio). That kind of integration may be possible with a DIY system, but it’s often a bigger job, requiring a knowledgeable professional.
To make sure you don’t get in over your head or spend money on products that aren’t actually ideal for you, check out Whitaker’s article on wireless lighting control in this issue of Electronic House.