Shades are an important part of the home. They keep your space cool and private, while also allowing you to raise or lower them at your desire. But what if shades could be more convenient? Welcome to the world of automated shades. Control your blinds from the palm of your hand and never worry about your privacy again. 

At Hive, a premier home automation company in Tampa, we know that your privacy and cooling are paramount. We’re here to take shades to the next level. With automated shades, you can control your privacy and cool from the palm of your hand. Or set timers to block out the sun on the hottest days. 

When you are considering automated, motorized shades, you have several options to consider. Motorized shades are much easier to use, adjust, and can be added to your smart home’s main controller.

Powering Your Motorized Shades

First, you may want to consider how your shades are being powered. You could have batteries or hardwired shades. Let’s discuss the pros and cons of each.

Batteries 

One way to power shades is to use regular Alkaline AA batteries. The Hunter-Douglas “Power View” model has used this method for many years. It requires 12 AA batteries which fit in a battery pack and can be changed when they go out. The drawback of this type of controller is you have to change batteries whenever the old ones fail.

A newer method, also introduced by Hunter-Douglas under the same model name (“Power View Rechargeable”) uses a rechargeable lithium-ion battery wand which takes up an inch of space, but it allows you to recharge the battery in place or remove the entire battery pack and sit it in a charger for 3-4 hours to recharge. Either option will work with your motorized shades. 

Batteries for automated shades should last for about 2 years. However, this depends on how much heat they are subjected to. If the shade is being used in a very sunny window, for example, that battery may need charging sooner compared to those in a less sunny location.

Hardwire

When it comes to hardwiring your shades, one option is a low-voltage shade pre-wired shade. Many window coverings can be powered by low voltage (12 or 24V DC). Many low voltage motors are capable of lifting shades to 17+ pounds and traversing drapery up to 130+ pounds, depending on the manufacturer of the motor. Hard-wired choices can power heavier shades and will not need changing any batteries. This gives a naturally longer lifespan. 

Hardwired motorized window treatments offer whisper-quiet operation, are perfect for heavy window coverings, and can be controlled through Radio Frequency communication, Infrared, and other alternatives.

Hardwired solutions require the help of an electrician, which is especially important if you would like to work your motorized window treatments from a power distribution board, or a centralized controller. For this, wires are connected from the motorized window treatment to a pre-existing AC source. Little to no maintenance is needed with this power source as the periodic changing or recharging of batteries is not required.

Keep in mind, that hard-wired choices run on the same electricity as the rest of the house or business. If you experience frequent power outages, your shades wouldn’t work without power.

When in doubt, most experts recommend wiring for high-voltage, in case your window treatments will need more power to lift or move them. And you can always run DC motors on high-voltage wiring, whereas you can’t operate AC motors on low-voltage.

Controlling Your Motorized Shades

Once you have installed your shades, you can control your shades in various ways: 

If your shades are connected to a larger automation system, you’ll be able to access them through the same smart hub as the rest of your devices. Whether it’s an app on your phone or a Control4 system, this flawless method allows you to control your shades from anywhere in your home. 

A voice assistant like Alexa, Google Home, or Josh A.I. can also connect to your overall smart system. A simple voice command can control every shade in your home, or just the shades in the room you are in. Using these smart methods you can also set timers on your shades, creating scenes for any moment of the day. Know you’ll be out of the house on a certain day? Pre-set a time for your shades to rise and bathe your plants in the sun without worrying about your house heating up. Want to learn more about shade opacity? Then check out our previous blog on sunshades and window treatments.

Not looking for a big system? No worries! Automated shades can be controlled via a remote, allowing you the comfort of automation without connecting every device. Control shades in your room with the touch of a button, without having to get off the couch!

When you are ready to decide which shades you want to install, consult your Hive Design Team and figure out what will work best in your home. Have any questions? You can reach Hive by calling at 813-575-HIVE or reaching us through our contact page.