You have to admit, getting into smart home tech for the first time is pretty exciting. Excitement aside, it can be tricky deciding where to start; do you start with a smart thermostat, an IP security system, or automated lighting? While these are all excellent choices, there’s one smart home device that addresses many of the key features of the tech we just listed: automated motorized solar shades. If you’re thinking this tech is a little on the underwhelming side, you might want to think again — this smart home tech has a laundry list of benefits you’ve probably never considered.
What Are Smart Blinds?
If the name of the product doesn’t adequately paint a picture for you, here’s the gist. Smart blinds are window coverings that come with a built-in motor that can be raised/lowered on demand using your smartphone. Of course, these products have varying levels of sophistication; some models contain light sensors that will automatically raise/lower the position of the shade based on the intensity of light outside the home, while others still can be integrated into larger smart home systems or hubs via your virtual assistant. Some are voice-activated, while others require a remote control; the point is, there are smart blinds for just about any taste or budget.
Can Existing Blinds Be Motorized?
If you’re eager to install smart blinds but you don’t have the budget to replace the blinds for your home’s 12+ windows, you’ve got options. There are several smart blind upgrade kits available to choose from that are relatively easy to install and most importantly, allow you to take advantage of the numerous benefits without breaking the bank. The design and functionality of these kits may vary, but generally, they involve mounting a motor to your wall and connecting it to the existing manual pull cords. These kits require very little home reno skill to install, but there are some downsides to them. The first is that some of the kits available may not be compatible with the size of blinds that you’re looking to automate. This can be particularly disheartening if you find a product that has all the features you’re looking for. The best way to avoid this type of disappointment is to plan to purchase new smart blinds.
How to Control Your Smart Shades With Your Voice
If you have a virtual assistant in your home (Google Assistant, Alexa, etc.) many automated motorized solar shades can be controlled using some very basic voice commands. Generally, you will need to spend a few minutes familiarizing yourself with the available commands words or phrases, and configure “groups” of shades so that you can control several devices by issuing one command instead of many. This functionality is particularly useful in rooms that contain several windows. For example, you can configure a voice command that will control all of the windows in a specified area, (e.g.“Open bedroom blinds”) or one for the entire home (e.g. “Open all blinds”).
How to Connect and Control Your Smart Home Window Coverings
If you think that connecting and controlling window coverings remotely sounds technically difficult to set up, you can put that worry to bed. All of the highest rated products will have their own app or they will be compatible with a widely used third-party app. Setup takes less time than it does to drink a cup of coffee and the instructions are designed to be easily followed by homeowners who have little to no interest in technology but who do want to reap the benefits of said technology.
Minimize Energy Use / Maximize Energy Efficiency
As previously stated, there are many benefits associated with this type of smart home device. Arguably, the one that is most appealing to many homeowners is having the ability to reduce the energy used to heat and cool a home. Automated shades can help achieve this goal in several ways. In the winter, when the shades are drawn, they act as a barrier which can greatly reduce heat from seeping through the windows. In the summer, these shades can keep solar radiation from entering the home. If used correctly in both cases, the home’s heating and cooling system will have to work less to maintain a comfortable and consistent temperature. You might be wondering how automated shades can make things better. Well, if you have a south or west-facing windows, you might like to have your blinds open during the time of day when the sunlight can enter the home, which can in turn heat the space for free. Automated shades allow you to configure the movements of the shades depending on external environmental conditions to maximize your home’s energy efficiency.
Smart Blinds Offer Privacy, Security, and Are Child Safety Proven
Cost savings isn’t the only benefit of this type of technology. Since automated blinds can be lowered using a voice command or via a light sensor, it is much easier to ensure the privacy of your home is maintained at different times of the day. Having to raise lower even a few blinds several times a day can be a tedious activity; automated blinds can achieve the same results much more quickly and with a lot less effort. Automated blinds also give your home a lived-in appearance even when no one is home since they can be raised or lowered using your smartphone. Burglars and vandals that may be monitoring your home for activity may think twice if the position of your window coverings changes.
At the end of the day, automated window coverings may not seem like the most exciting smart home technology but upon closer consideration, it’s difficult to argue just how useful it really is. It may not wow your friends, but it will save you money, reduce your home’s carbon footprint, and increase your privacy and security — what’s not to like?