Lighting control, as we discussed last post is probably the simplest and most common manner of entry into the home automation market for most residential users. Plug-in lighting and appliance control is easily the quickest way for newcomers to get into controlling their lights, for Z-Wave as well as for almost ANY protocol or type of automation.
However, plug-in lights or lamps and plug-in appliances like TV’s, ceiling fans or air conditioners are obviously only a small percentage of the devices that are begging to be controlled by your home automation system. What about all the hardwired lights in every room of your home? Some are in your living room ceiling or on the wall as sconces, some are in your kitchen and might be fluorescent lights or maybe recessed lights, even under cabinet task or ambiance lighting. Don’t forget your bedroom or dining room which may have dimmers or ceiling fans too! There are many, many scenarios for the control of hardwired installed lighting in the home, and Z-wave is the perfect application to control these systems, very easily and affordably as well.
You do need to have some electrical wiring experience if you want to add this type of control to your home, but it is definitely a good place for a DIY er to begin if you have that kind of experience, and Z-Wave devices are certainly a good candidate for the DIY’er because of the inherent wireless properties of the protocol. This doesn’t mean you can’t hire an electrician to do the install, alot of people do hire a professional electrician to install the switches but quite often the homeowners make the purchase of the varying devices according to their uses and applications by themselves. An example of this is if they want to bring in their electrician to replace all the standard switches and in their living rooms that currently control the low voltage or LED recessed can lighting with z-wave controllable ones, they will go ahead and buy switches that are capable of controlling that type of lighting load ahead of time, ready for him to install when he makes his next service call.
Lighting and the types of loads is going to be my next topic of discussion as lighting loads are very often where the most problems occur when it comes to DIY installations. Please check back soon as I continue my series on Home Automation, and specifically on the applications of Z-wave to lights and appliances.