Motorized blinds are an addition or a starting point for you to have a smart home in which you can automate and schedule scenes for certain times.
Should I Install Automated Blinds At Home?
Automated or motorized blinds and window treatments have been on the market for several years now and they are becoming very popular. The first types were battery-powered and you had to replace the batteries often, which led to a lot of extra expenses plus the time involved for a revolutionary item. Newer models and motors have evolved to automate your entire home including your window coverings at a lower price point and with better options.
What are Automated Blinds?
Automated blinds are also called smart blinds and automatic blinds as well as motorized blinds. Each may have a different name depending on the company you choose to use, but they are the same products. Automated blinds are window coverings that have built-in motors to allow you to use the remote control of some sort to raise and lower them. You can program times to open fully or partially for a hands-free operation. Some models may have a light sensor or a temperature sensor that triggers them to open and close according to the programming. Others can integrate with your smart home systems such as Apple HomeKit and Nest, while other models integrate with your virtual assistants at your home, such a Google Assistant and Alexa.
How Do Automated Blinds Work?
You are most probably wondering exactly what makes automated blinds work at this point. There are several effective options for motorizing them for light control and privacy at the touch of a simple button. The remote control may be handheld, mounted on a wall or you can operate your window coverings with an app on any smart device you already have–think computer, tablet, or phone. To make a decision about which type of motor will work best for you, an overview is below with the pros and cons of each type.
Battery Powered Motor
Blinds normally work by using a string or a wand or by simply lifting and lowering them in a cordless version by moving the bottom rail up or down. Motorized blinds with a battery-powered motor are perhaps the simplest option. A tube is mounted above the blinds with the motor above that to lift the blinds up. Motors that operate with a battery are neat and tidy, the most elegant because they are almost non-noticeable, easy and fast to install, and don’t take up any room in your electrical outlets in your home. This type of motor works well for hard-to-reach windows or skylights as well. They also work well when they are installed in an area without an outlet nearby or in a wet space, such as a bathroom or kitchen.
If the motor uses simple AA batteries, they will work fine but will need replacing quite often. Lithium-ion batteries last much longer than regular AA batteries, but they still have the need to be replaced frequently.
Some of the better models of battery-powered motors are rechargeable. You can simply plug in your motorized blind to recharge it and forego the need to remove and replace batteries at a much greater expense. Recharging batteries is fast and easy and takes little effort on a homeowner’s part or rental home.
Therefore, if you don’t want to mess with recharging batteries at all, you can consider a hardwired motor. There are different kinds of motors that operate with different voltages and they have to be able to reach a wall outlet too. This option is less expensive than the battery-powered option when you compare the amount of energy you will pay for the operation.
You will need an experienced window treatment installer to set this system up for you and most of the time the labor costs are included in the price of the automated blinds. If you have several motorized blinds, you will need a centralized power distribution panel to distribute the power to several window treatments.
Solar Powered Motor
When you think about automated blinds, they are installed next to a window, which is a natural power source of sunlight. A simple solar panel mounts behind the blinds pointing to the outdoors to catch the sunlight. The solar panel connects to the motor in order to operate it just as the power source of each type of motor connects to it to operate it.
Solar power sounds easy, right? It can be, but the window needs to get enough sunlight such as windows facing south or west do. You also need to make sure that there are no obstructions outside to restrict sunlight such as roof overhangs, trees, and awnings.
DC Power Adaptor Motor
This type of motor is relatively simple and energy-efficient too. The DC power adaptor is connected to the motor and it is plugged into an outlet. It works on the same principle as a hardwired option. It’s convenient because you don’t have a need to recharge batteries or worry if enough sunlight will provide power for a solar-powered version.
The installation method is very quick in that the blinds are hung and the DC power adaptor is simply plugged into an outlet, but it has its drawbacks. The wires from each window can be unsightly and are highly visible plus you need each window covering to be close enough to a power outlet.
Benefits of Using Automated Blinds
Automated blinds have many benefits that you will enjoy in a modern smart home.
Child and Pet Safety
Older traditional blinds that were manually operated used a string method. This has been a safety issue for many years as children and pets could be tangled in the dangling cords and be hurt. Automated blinds have no dangling cords to hurt anyone and they raise and lower levelly so you don’t have blinds higher on one side than the other and keep adjusting them to be level. This makes automated blinds a great choice for any room in your home.
Energy Efficiency at It’s Best
Motorized blinds increase the energy efficiency of your home twofold–blocking sunlight and insulating your windows. When the sunlight is not harsh, you can open your blinds to use the available natural sunlight instead of turning on lights in your home to save energy. You can program all your blinds to open and close at the times best for each window to make good use of the natural lighting and cut down on your energy usages.
Furniture and Textile Protection
When your blinds are closed, they block the UV rays from the sun from entering your home. This provides protection for all of your textiles, such as flooring, artwork, and furniture, allowing them all to last longer without fading or thinning. This can also be controlled by setting up programs for the blinds to close at specific times of the day.
An Added Layer of Security
You can set your program for your motorized blinds to close when you leave for work each day so you don’t forget to do so. This helps to keep passersby from seeing your valuables in your home. If you leave the house at any time, you can press a button on your smartphone to close all of the window coverings in your home for safety. On a larger basis, when you leave the home to go on vacation, you can program your blinds to open and close at various times making it seem like someone is home. This is an added layer of security to make your house less inviting to burglars.
Improves Sleep Quality
It can be frustrating to try to sleep in a room with too much light or be jolted out of bed with a noisy alarm clock. The installation of automated blinds helps with both of these items. You can choose maximum light blocking materials for your blinds to act as a room darkening agent. You can also program your blinds to open slowly and with several different stops in the morning and wake up gently by the natural sunlight.
Increases the Value of Your Home
Installing automated blinds increases the value of your home. This can be very helpful when the time comes to sell your home and downsize, or it can allow you to seek a higher rental amount in a rental home. Renters and prospective buyers see motorization as a huge asset and they can mean the difference in a sale or an extended rental when compared to other properties without automation.
Ease of Operation
Many scenarios exist when you don’t really want to get up to close or adjust your blinds. When you are watching a great movie, you don’t want to miss part of it by getting up and closing your window coverings. If you have a fussy child that just fell asleep on your lap, you don’t want to disturb them either. It’s a time saver and a huge convenience just to press a button and adjust or close your blinds.
An Addition to Your Smart Home
Automated blinds can be integrated into your smart home and security systems easily. An integrated third-party system allows you to adjust lighting, the television, the thermostat, your security system, and lock doors all in one scene or program. When you leave home, you can adjust your thermostat to a higher temperature and then lower it just before you get home so it’s comfortable. You can program your lights to come on outside so you can see to open your door and so much more.
Motorized blinds are a combination of functionality, safety, and beauty all in one package for your smart home. Keep in mind that a window treatment specialist in your area will have all of the product knowledge and help you to make the best choices for your distinct situation.