HOW A CONTROL4 SMART HOME HELPS SPREAD HOLIDAY CHEER

HOW A CONTROL4 SMART HOME HELPS SPREAD HOLIDAY CHEER

With the holiday decorating, shopping, and cooking in full swing, there has never been a better time to automate your home. Home automation can help you manage the wonderful chaos, entertaining your family when they come to visit, setting that special ambiance that inspires the holiday spirit, and keeping your valuables and loved ones more secure than ever. Control4 can help you custom design your smart home to sync with your existing products and spread the holiday cheer.

Light Up Your Home

Home automation allows you to step up your game when it comes to holiday decorating and setting the vibe for the season. You can sync your lights to your holiday playlist, customize your holiday tunes to play at certain times of day, and completely control the light patterns and colors to fit your decorating visions. Home automation can help you make all of your holiday decorating dreams come true.

Share the Classics

An automated home theater system helps you share the classics like never before. With the push of a button on the Control4 Touch Screen, your living room sets itself up for prime viewing. The shades lower, the lights dim or turn off, and the movie begins. If cooking and other activities are going on throughout the home, no one has to be left out of the viewing-you can stream the classics to all of the rooms. If you prefer newer movies, you can also stream the latest hits or newest holiday releases.

Spend More Time with Loved Ones

With smart timers, alerts, and synced appliances, you can spend less time turning things on and off and more time enjoying the company of your loved ones. With the right oven, you can keep an eye on what’s cooking, control your oven and stove settings, and receive alerts about the food right from your phone. You can also control all of the lights in the house from your Control4 Touch Screen and set up timers to lock doors, change the temperature, raise or lower blinds, and many other functions.

Sleep in Peace

When it is time for bed, an automated home can set security systems, lower blinds, and lock doors with the push of a “Goodnight” button. With compatible cameras tied to the Control4 system, you can look at security views or check in on the baby, right from the Control4 App. You can also adjust fans and make sure all lights are off from the comfort of your bed.
If you are interested in finding out how a personalized Control4 smart home can make the holidays more enjoyable—along with every other day of the year—give us a call at 703-883-0970 or contact us.

SMART THERMOSTAT VS. PROGRAMMABLE THERMOSTATS

SMART THERMOSTAT VS. PROGRAMMABLE THERMOSTATS

What makes a smart thermostat so much smarter than a programmable one? A more flexible schedule, a wider variety of features and ease of use, to name a few.

Some years ago, when many homeowners upgraded from old, dial thermostats to a digital, programmable ones, they gained some advantages. Getting up on cold, dark mornings to turn up the thermostat became a thing of the past, like stoking the embers. Programmable thermostats have your home at the temperature you want it when your alarm goes off, making it that much easier to get out of bed.

Handy, Not Revolutionary

Programmable thermostats also allow you to keep the house cooler (or warmer, in summer), while you are at work during the day, but have it toasty again for you when you arrive home. Like a programmable coffee pot, these features allow you to have what you want when you want it, but realistically, it’s not greatly different from flipping a switch yourself and waiting a few minutes.

While convenient, a programmable thermostat that saves you the trouble of walking over to the control unit to turn your HVAC up or down is not likely to make huge difference in your life, or your energy bill. Smart thermostats are a bit different, however.

Control4 Programmable Smart Thermostat, Great Falls Virginia, McLean Virginia

Control4 Smart Thermostat
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Nest Learning Thermostat, 3rd Generation Great Falls Virginia, McLean Virginia

Nest Thermostat
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Savant Smart Thermostat, Great Falls Virginia, McLean Virginia

Savant Smart Thermostat
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More Control

Programmable thermostats generally give you a limited number of schedules — sometimes only one. This is fine if you keep to the same schedule every day, but if you do, you don’t really need a fancy thermostat anyway.

Smart thermostats allow you to choose a variety of options for schedules during the week and on weekends. You may not get home from work until six, but maybe your kids get home from school at 3:30 — except on days they work (which change every week) or have practices or rehearsals, which change every season, or sometimes even more often. Or what if you’re expecting them home, but they go to friends’ houses instead, leaving your house at a balmy 72 degrees for hours with only the goldfish to benefit?

Last-minute schedule changes can leave your home too hot or too cold and waste money. Smart thermostats allow you to log in to your system from work or from your phone and make any necessary changes to the temperature in your home.

Knowledge is Power

An indirect way smart thermostats can help you save money is by tracking your energy consumption and making this data available to you. This way you can see how much energy you are consuming and whether it is in line with your past usage.

If you find, for instance, that it takes more than an hour to bring your home’s temperature up or down to the requested level, you might learn that something’s wrong with your furnace or air conditioning.

If you find your heat usage spikes between 3 and 5 p.m. when your kids are playing video games in the basement, you may save money installing extra insulation or instructing them to don sweatshirts before retiring to the subterranean level.

A smart thermostat will give you better control over your home’s energy usage and help you save money. To find out more about smart thermostats and how they can help you, stop in and talk to the experts at Theatron Home Theater & Smart Homes Automation.

CONTROL4’S SLEEK NEW TOUCH SCREENS

CONTROL4’S SLEEK NEW TOUCH SCREENS

Control4  NEW user interface hardware and capabilities including whole-home HD Video Intercom, wireless Smart Climate Control, sleek Touch Screens, and a redesigned Handled Remote system.

Control4 Video Intercom

Touch Screens

The new touch screen control units come in 7″ and 10″ for wall-mount, or a 7″ table top portable model. All feature sleek minimalist design, with edge to edge glass, HD cameras for Video Intercom, and 2x the screen resolution.

Control 4 Remote and Interface

Handheld Remote

The newly redesigned handheld remote system improves upon the current model with a larger screen, customizable buttons, and other improvements for whole-home automation control.

Control4/Aprilaire Wireless Thermostat

Developed with Aprilaire, the new wireless thermostat increases climate control and energy management abilities with support for ‘modern HVAC systems, including geothermal, dual fuel, and humidity control systems.

OS 2.8

The brains behind the brawn, the OS 2.8 software update powers all the new features and hardware with a more modern graphical design.

5 Ways to Up Your Home’s Value with Smart Home Technology

5 Ways to Up Your Home’s Value with Smart Home Technology

Have you ever wanted to install a smart automation system in your home so you can effortlessly power up your home theater system or control lighting scenes in your dining area, kitchen or backyard? If so, it may be good to know that automation systems can not only increase your enjoyment today, but also enhance the value of your home tomorrow. In this short guide, we give you our top tips for increasing the value of your home with home technology systems, while creating a more convenient, more entertaining and more secure environment for your family.

There’s an app for that
As the “Internet of Things” becomes more pervasive, a prewired system keeps you future ready. We are moving into a world where everything will be connected resulting in improved efficiency, accuracy and convenience. Each “thing” is uniquely tagged and will allow you to operate, see or communicate with all the systems in the home through your smart phone. If you need retrofit solutions for a home that is already built, we are very capable, willing and available to design and install a system to meet your needs.

Wire now, thank yourself later
While wiring may not be the most exciting part of a smart home, it is certainly one of the most important. Ideally, installing wire should occur during the early stages of home construction. We often need to run conduit with fiber optic and CAT6 cable—the most current cable standards available for your home. You can even run appropriate wires and cables outdoors for lighting, audio and video; your home will be easier to sell as homeowners search for tech-ready homes. This ensures that no matter when you decide to install a home audio, video, network, lighting or security system you will have a bullet proof infrastructure for all of your automation needs.

If it’s structural, it stays
Every home is unique, but a good rule of thumb is that if technology is part of the home, such as in-wall speakers or lighting panels, then it should stay behind for the next owner. We also find that offering up even non-structural gear—like sources in a centralized rack—is a great way to entice buyers. We’ve seen real-estate listings that tout our installed systems as a way to attract potential buyers.

Document your system
The most important rule of thumb in order to build value through technology is to have your electronic systems contractor clearly document the system. Without clear documentation and an understanding of how the system works, the new homeowner won’t have a way to interpret, service or upgrade the technology. We will provide all the necessary information.

Lighting systems sell
While home theaters and media rooms certainly add to the wow factor of a home on the market, lighting and control systems are more practical solutions that every homeowner can get excited about. Show a potential buyer how to turn off all the lights and open shades, and watch his or her eyes light up! A kitchen pops with under the cabinet lighting and artfully placed pendants. Automated lighting brings even more beauty to artwork and fine furnishings.

We’d love to help you get on the path to a smarter home that will add to the value of your home. We can start gradually with structured wiring or execute a fully automated home, depending on your needs and desires. Call or email us today get started!

The Smart Home Bug Is Biting Everyone

The Smart Home Bug Is Biting Everyone

Some people love smart home technology, and some people love what it does for them. There’s plenty of overlap between these two categories, but a sizable group of consumers gravitates toward the simpler versions of today’s technology. Some homes are devoid of tech geeks, but their occupants still want the convenience and the savings that their gadget-savvy friends and neighbors have. These people are looking for the benefits of smart home technology without the hassle of learning a complicated new system.

 

The Easier the Better

Ease of use is more important to consumers than technical innovation, according to the 2015 State of the Smart Home Report, recently released by Icontrol Networks [www.icontrol.com/blog/2015-state-of-the-smart-home-report/]. These consumers may be behind the curve of cutting-edge technology (eg: the automated litterbox cleaner), but ahead of your grandmother by being willing to automate at least a few functions. The most popular among these tentative technophobes are automated thermostats, security cameras, lights and door locks. What could go wrong with those, right?

 

Thermostats

Seventy-two percent of surveyed consumers said they would like a self-adjusting thermostat. Although programmable thermostats have been available for a while, self-adjusting ones kick up the coolness a notch — not that these consumers care about cool (unless it’s summer). Nest is the innovator in this area of technology, being the first to create a thermostat that doesn’t need programming — it just learns what you like and remembers it. Now if only your spouse could do that …

 

Door Locks

Coming in at a close second with 71 percent yeas was doors that can be locked from a remote location. How many times have you gone to work, or worse, left for vacation, then tortured yourself with the idea that you may have forgotten to lock the doors? Now you don’t have to call your sister or your neighbor to check for you — you can just pull out your smartphone and do it yourself. And if you did forget, you can take care of it on the spot.

 

Command Center

Sixty-eight percent of respondents said they would like a central master control device to adjust all automated functions in the home. This sounds more high-tech that you might think they would want, but really, everyone just wants like items grouped together for ease of use, and home automation is no different.

Tied for fourth place are home monitoring cameras and automatic adjustable outdoor lighting, with 65 percent each.

If you have been thinking about getting smart home technology, talk to the professionals at Theatron Home Theater & Smart Homes. They can help you get started with a basic system, and they can recommend one that allows you to add on when you get more comfortable in your new smart home shoes. Visit Theatron Home Theater in Northern Virginia, to find out everything you need to know about smart home technology and what it can do for you.