Inexpensive to install, battery-operated motorization systems also require more regular maintenance than the other types, because batteries need changing about once a year. Consider, too, that in areas where you may need to use a motor control most (such as a skylight system) you will need a pretty high ladder to change that battery! Also, if you are planning to motorize more than one treatment within a room, it is safe to say that battery-operated systems are not entirely practical because they do not offer “group” control options. However, if you have an easy-to-access, lightweight treatment (such as a pleated shade) that you want to be able to operate with the push of a button, the battery system is a good, affordable choice.
This type of system, easier to install than a hard-wired system, is a plug-in system that can easily operate a single window treatment or a group of window treatments with the push of a button. Ideal for “smaller” treatments (such as a group of blinds or shades), it is smaller and quieter than a hard-wired system. The downside to this type of electrical product is that it is reliant upon its voltage and that longer wire lengths or varied rotation speeds don’t always deliver with the most efficiency.
With the best capacity for lifting, drawing, and tilting, a hard-wired system is the best choice, if you can afford it. This is the system you will need, for example, to draw heavily lined and interlined velvet draperies; the kind of drapes no human could comfortably move day in and day out. But hardwired motors make it easy to accomplish. The downside to hardwiring is that it is best mapped out and installed in pre-construction, rather than afterward — though it can be done either way.
Home automation is not a new concept, but the industry is fast growing and ever changing, offering new possibilities and levels of convenience. From shades that will lower at the first hint of a darkening sky to those that are synchronized to open and close while you are away on vacation, to the ease of covering a skylight with the touch of a button, motorization makes life a little simpler. Ask your designer about the possibilities for your home.