____________________________________________________I want to give a huge thank you to Stephanie for allowing me to share one of my most recent home improvement projects with you all!
I'm the voice behind BuildingourNVHome and after four months of living in our new home, we have tackled an oft-over looked topic: Lighting. Believe it or not...all light was not created equal!
I needed a solution for my home automation/entertainment so I chose the following recipe:
A. Lutron radio RA 2 Controller
B. Architectural Face-plates w/ Lutron Dimmers (RadioRA 2)
C. LED bulbs (G7 Power)
So what does all this mean? Well in this case A + B + C = unique, fully automated lighting experience that can be controlled remotely.
To start, the key to it all is the RadioRA 2 controller. It is the brains behind controlling your lights from anywhere in the house. It is able to communicate with RadioRA 2 dimmers by blasting instructions over a radio signal in your house. Think of it as a satellite tower and your dimmer is the receiver. Below is a picture of what the controller looks like.
Next, we'll move on to the dimmers. These work much like standard dimmers. However, they have technology inside that allows them to receive signals over radio waves. We were able to install most of the dimmers on our own, but we did hire an electrician for some of the complicated 4-way switches. Always side with safety when it comes to electricity. I knew Lutron made fantastic products, but I was blown away by their customer support. They have free 24x7 support which is rare for a consumer product. If you aren't sure how something should be wired give them a call and they usually help you get on the right path. they even replaced a dimmer that blew out on me because my mistake. Below are pics fo some of the dimmers we purchased/installed.
Moving on to the last piece. Light bulbs. We had builder grade CFL's upon moving in. I knew I wanted LED lights because they can be turned on instantly as opposed to CFL's that take time to warm up. However, I found out the hard way that LEDs are superior for other reasons. LEDs are more stable and recommended for dimming purposes. No more flickering, no more warm-up period, and it's just as energy efficient as a CFL bulb. I chose G7 Power for my brand of recessed lights (BR-30) and bulbs. Mainly because they offered BR-30 type lights in a 2900K color. I don't have a problem with soft white (2700K), but the washed out some of the warm colors we have in our house. It's a personal preference and really there is no right or wrong choice.
So what does all of this do for a house? Have you ever wanted to shut the lights off without leaving bed? Well unless you are living in the 80's and have a clapper then you probably get up and do it. Now you could do it all from an app on your smart device. Below are some other useful scenarios:
Set your lights on a schedule to turn on/off
Install motion sensors in certain areas to automatically create a path of lighting when walking at night. (no more falling down the stairs while grabbing the late-night snack)
Have the lights automatically dim the TV/Blue-Ray/Game system is turned on in that room
Ability to create scenes. For instance, if you had a dinner scene you could dim the majority of the lights in that area and have the dining room lights turned on or brighter than the other lights in that area. All this could come from the push of one button
Lastly, the ability to monitor what lights are on throughout the house. This is convenient for us when going to bed to make sure all the lights in the house are turned off.
We decided to only do the common areas and leave the bedrooms uncontrolled. If you chose to do the entire house you could literally never tough another light switch again. This along with being able to automate lighting scenes and scenarios made this a worthwhile DIY project for us.
Feel free to ask questions if you have nay. Happy DIY' ing!