Motorized shades and blinds take sun control to the next level, allowing you to open and close the blinds or even adjust the tilt of horizontal members without ever leaving your chair. Some even allow for programming through a home automation system, automatically adjusting the shades based on sun angle, time of day, season or other factors.
Of course, when it comes to actually installing motorized blinds in the home, many homeowners may hesitate due to concerns over how the blinds will be powered. Common worries include whether an outlet will need to be installed, or whether you will be able to see visible wires once the blinds are in place. Fortunately, blind manufacturers offer products designed to ease these concerns and give homeowners tremendous flexibility over how blinds will be powered. Check out these four options to find one that's just right for your home.
If you want the easiest installation and maintenance possible, and you happen to have an electrical outlet near your windows, choose blinds with standard electrical plugs. This eliminates the need for an electrician or replacing batteries, and allows your blinds to work right away. One drawback to this option is that you may be able to see the power cord once the blinds are in place, depending on the location of the outlet.
If you want blinds that run off your electrical power, but don't want to see wires, the cleanest option is to hire an electrician to hard-wire the blinds into your electrical panel. This is a costly option, because not only will you have to pay an electrician, but you also might need to pay to refinish the wall or ceiling if the installer has to penetrate the walls. This is a low-maintenance option, with no need for batteries.
If you plan to install motorized blinds in a wet area, where wires could be a problem, consider battery-powered shades. Manufacturers often offer shades with very sleek battery packs that are concealed once the blinds are in place. While you'll save time and money on installation, you'll have to deal with the hassle and expense of regular battery changes.
Of course, you can also power your blinds using free energy from the sun with a special solar power kit. These kits work best on west or south-facing windows, and may not work well on windows shaded by awnings, trees and roof overhangs. Many require only basic DIY skills and minimal maintenance. The solar panel is relatively long and thin, and is installed between the blind and the window to protect it from vandalism and weather.These kits contain built-in batteries to ensure you are able to power your shades even when the sun is behind a cloud, or after it has set for the night.