Motorized curtains are one of the appliances that have lagged behind in the smart home revolution. Nowadays, many of us have automation for everything, including lighting, security cameras, thermostats, and locks, but we’ve never thought about automatic curtains. You may enhance your home’s security and energy efficiency by automating this portion of your residence.
As the name suggests, motorized curtains are ones that are opened and closed by a motor as opposed to by hand. The automatic curtains are frequently driven by plug-in or battery-operated motors. The only person who will be aware of the motor’s presence is the homeowner because it is concealed below the drapes or curtain rod.
The procedure is mechanized, so there is essentially no manual effort required. Although pulling back curtains isn’t extremely physically demanding, elderly homeowners and anyone with physical limitations might considerably benefit from this automation. The ability to connect motorized curtains to a smart home system using an app or voice control with Siri, Alexa, or Google Assistant, however, is where their true value lies.
Convenience is the automatic curtain’s most evident advantage. You can let a battery- or electric-powered motor do the work for you rather of having to pull on curtains or manually arrange them. Therefore, this automation has resulted in a major ergonomic improvement.
There is less physical labor required, as well as more practical convenience. You can use an app to operate your curtains while you are away from home or set them to open and close on a timer.
A wonderful security measure is closing the blinds, which keeps visitors from seeing what is happening inside your house. Home security can be increased by having remote control of the blinds’ opening and closing. Trying to conceal the fact that your house is empty every day while you’re away presenting a challenge to maintaining home security. The porch light uses energy throughout the day if you leave it on. If you keep the exterior lights off, the house may appear deserted at night and could be a target for burglars. Even while you are away from home, you may make your property appear occupied by using a timer or an app to remotely adjust your curtains.
Technically, using a motorized curtain rather than a manual one is less energy-efficient. However, this energy use is negligible. The main advantage is being able to quickly open or close the curtains in reaction to sunlight. You can schedule the automatic curtains’ behavior using timers and/or mobile phone apps. In order to allow for natural heating in cold weather, you might adjust your curtains to open during periods of sunshine exposure. In hot weather, you just do the opposite and draw the curtains to keep the sun out of your home and cool it down.
Our demands are rising as smart home technology becomes more advanced. Security cameras were once considered unfeasible for the average person and were designed for museums and the extremely rich. We can now buy a home security system that is so advanced that it can send you notifications even if you are thousands of miles away for less than the cost of a good supper. Not that long ago, voice-activated technology was seen as futuristic as well. We now use them to dial numbers or change the TV station.
All of this is to say that our homes continue to get smarter. Being able to lock doors and control lights remotely is becoming commonplace. So it only makes sense that controlling blinds and windows remotely is the next step in the smart home revolution. Depending on the model of the motorized curtains, you can use remote control, voice commands, a wall switch, a timer, or an app to open and close the curtains.
For wide, heavy, and long curtains, demand on the motor is high. For a lightweight, sheer curtain on a small window, any motor should suffice.
Be realistic about the weight of the curtains, and how much demand they place on the motor. Even if a motor is rated to handle 20 pounds, for example, keep in mind that moving a 15+ pound curtain will put a lot of strain on the motor, and cause it to fail sooner. And if you plan to use blackout curtains, know that they are significantly heavier than standard curtains.
Common power sources for smart blinds are battery and electric. Solar-powered automatic curtains exist but are less common and more expensive.
The pros and cons of battery and electricity are pretty clear. If you have an outlet that is easily accessible, plug-in options probably make the most sense. But keep in mind that, in addition to being able to reach the outlet, you will also want to hide the power cord.
For windows that are not conveniently located to an outlet, battery-powered curtains are a great option. Many of these come with rechargeable batteries, which should last a long time between charges assuming normal use. The battery itself typically lasts 3 – 5 years, although I haven’t tested this myself (largely because I had never even heard of remote control drapes 5 years ago).
Your smart home will feel a lot smarter with smart blinds that run silently. Something about the grinding noise of a loud, struggling engine just doesn’t feel right inside a smart home.
Elaborate setups will likely require a professional to install them. If you want something that is simple and quick to install, there are a number of direct-to-consumer brands that are user-friendly. Generally, battery-powered devices with remotes and smartphone apps are easier to install as a DIY. And hard-wired devices with wall switch controls are best left to a professional installation.
For low budgets, products like SwitchBot can be retrofitted to your existing curtains and curtain rod. So, for as low as $100, you can turn an existing curtain into a smart curtain. For larger budgets and more exact specifications, it will likely provide more function to replace your current curtain rod system with a smart system. I-rails, U-rails, and rods are typically easier to motorize than rod pocket or grommet style.
Have goals in mind before you make any purchase decisions. If you want to control your curtains with a remote control or voice commands, be sure to purchase a compatible product. Likewise with timers, apps, or wall switches. Also, determine the power source that works properly with your smart home setup. I am hesitant to fully recommend any solar-powered automatic curtains, but if you are willing to spend extra money for a passive energy source, this may be something to look into.
The mechanisms that power automatic blinds are different from the mechanisms that power automatic curtains. And, likewise, the setup will be different for a side-open curtain than for a center-open curtain. This is another area where you can save time and frustration by planning ahead.
Automatic curtains are a great way to make a home smarter. They reduce manual labor, increase home security, and can improve a home’s energy efficiency. While not as common as smart home devices like smart thermostats or security cameras, motorized curtains can be worth every penny.