When building a new home in Los Angles equipped with a Home Automation system, the question of what type of smart-lighting system to install often comes up. After doing some research, many homeowners discover the two basic types of smart lighting systems are “Panelized” and “Wireless.” However, from there the more they research the more confused they get as to which type of system they should install in their new home. As such, we thought it was important to discuss some of the most important lighting system decisions you will need to make which will ultimately steer you to one system type or the other.
To start, its important to know that Panelized and Wireless lighting systems are equivalent in many ways, including:
- Both can trigger “lighting scenes” that are pre-determined light levels across a range of lights to help set a “mood” or “ambiance” for a certain type of event in your home. Examples could be a “Movie” Scene, “Entertainment” Scene or “Cleaning” Scene.
- Both can control almost all light types including: Incandescent, Halogen, Fluorescent and LED
- Both are connected to your Wi-fi Network
- Both can be controlled via an iPhone or Android App
- Both can be installed in a new construction project
- Both can be manually controlled at a wall switch location the same way you would control any other light-switch
However, that’s about it in terms of similarities. There are many advantages that each system has over the other. Depending on the features you are looking for, these advantages may sway your decision to one lighting system or the other.
Panelized lighting systems do not require a switch gang per light load, thus you will not have any 4-gang, 5-gang or larger switch box locations anywhere in your home. Commonly referred to as “wall-acne,” panelized lighting systems give you the benefit of lots of lights in your home to set the right mood but controlling all of them on a small multi-function keypad. Wireless lighting systems cannot do this and require the 4-gang, 5-gang or larger switch boxes to work correctly as you need 1 switch or dimmer per light for Wireless systems.
Panelized lighting systems are not limited nearly as much on the maximum number of lights they can control in a house. If you have a large house, you might have 250 lights or more that you need to control as part of your Home Automation system. Most of the major wireless lighting systems top out at 200 lights, leaving you with the choice of either having some of your lights not on a smart lighting system or have them on multiple systems which will make control cumbersome.
Panelized lighting systems only use multi-function keypads for lighting control, thus they are more easily used to control multiple systems within the same keypad such as window/door shades and music. Furthering the “wall-acne” argument, Panelized lighting systems can minimize the wall control required for multiple systems in your home, giving your walls a cleaner appearance. Wireless lighting systems can do this as well, however they can’t do this at all locations in a home and it is more expensive per location to do so with a Wireless lighting system as well.
Wireless lighting systems can be installed in either new construction projects or any retrofit or remodel project you have. That’s because most of the time they can use the homes’ existing wiring infrastructure to operate. Thus, if you don’t install a smart home lighting system in your entire home during construction, you can always come back and finish off the system once construction is complete without having to cut open any walls. Panelized lighting systems can only be installed in new construction projects or major remodel projects where all drywall is removed.
Wireless lighting systems are much cheaper to install than Panelized lighting systems, even though they share many of the same features of Panelized lighting systems. You can expect at least a 35% increase in your electrical pre-wire and electrical trim-out costs for a Panelized lighting system install. With wireless systems your electrical pre-wire cost should not go up at all and the electrical trim-out cost should only increase by the cost of the smart switches and dimmers themselves.
Wireless lighting systems can be easily replaced by manual switches and dimmers if you ever decide that a smart lighting system is just not for you. In some cases, people may find after using a smart lighting system that they are more cumbersome than beneficial and want to just replace them with regular switches and dimmers you might find at Home Depot or Lowe’s. With a Wireless lighting system, this is not an issue as wireless lighting systems and manual switches and dimmers use most of the same electrical infrastructure. Once you wire for and install a Panelized lighting system however, you can NEVER go back to a traditional light switch as the Panelized lighting system wires completely differently.
Although there are additional positives and negatives of each lighting system type, we have covered the main lighting system decisions we feel you need to make as part of your overall Home Automation System installation. In so doing, hopefully we are able to help you get closer to figure out which lighting system type is best for you.
We hope you have found this information helpful. If you would like to discuss more about what smart lighting system is best for you, you can call us at 855-832-4775 or find us on the web at www.technospeakco.com. If you are in the Los Angeles area and need additional help on deciding which lighting system type is best for you, give us a call and we can walk your new construction project with you to further customize our recommendations.
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