Remote Control Light Switch: Flexible, Wireless Control
A remote control light switch enables you to avoid expensive installation costs for new wiring.
For the most part, a “remote control light switch” may not be what you expect. We tend to think of a “remote control” as referring to the little hand-held control that we use when controlling the television. A remote control switch, however, refers to the actual way that the light switch controls the light fixture. It controls the fixture using some sort of radio transmission, rather than by using a standard wire.
In fact, a remote control light switch may not even look any different from a standard light switch. They can be mounted on walls in such a way that only you will know that there is no wiring hiding behind them. On the other hand, remote control light switches can also be used on tabletops, and even on the little remote control sticks that you are used to from the television (though with far fewer buttons).
The most common use of a remote control light switch is to save you the expense of wiring a new light switch when you wish to change your lighting layout. For example, let us say that you do not have a switch for your lamp near the door from your living room to your kitchen. You also find that you are spending a lot of time walking across the room to turn the lamp off before leaving the living room. Using a remote-controlled light switch, you can put a switch on the wall by the kitchen door with no wiring of any kind.
It is important to note that, although a remote control light switch can turn off a lamp or other fixture from a distance, it cannot actually power a light from a distance. The lamp or other fixture must have its own power source such as a plug or other wiring. Moreover, the light switch itself must be powered. Since the whole purpose of using the switch is to avoid costly wiring, this will be battery power. Fortunately, the switches use little power and can be operated cheaply.
Further, because your fixture likely will already have control installed, you will likely need to install a three-way switch. This is where you have two switches that control the same light fixture. Fortunately, three-way switches exist in which one switch is remote and the other is hard wired. If you do not get a special switch for this purpose, your fixture will only be on if both switches are in the “on” position.
One of the nice things about remote control light switches is that they are incredibly flexible. For the most part, hard wired light switches must be placed on walls. A remote control light switch can be placed almost anywhere. For example, you can use a remote control switch that sits on the table by your chair in the living room, or on the pantry table in your dining room. You can even control your light from another room entirely, such as if you wish to control your dining room lights from your kitchen.
One increasingly common use of remote control light switches is in the garage. You can turn on your foyer lights, for example, from within your garage and even from within your car. Most garages have lights that automatically turn on when a car enters the garage, but the house itself remains dark. This can be an inconvenience, especially when carrying things into the house from the car. Instead, turn on your light indoors before leaving the car and then you won’t have to worry about turning it on once you get inside.
Dimmers work somewhat less well on wireless switches than on other switches. Simply put, you don’t want to have your dimmer constantly broadcasting light levels, as this will wear out the battery very quickly. However, wireless dimmers are available. They work by serving as what is called an “electronic dimmer”. An electronic dimmer tells the receiver what level to set the light at, and the receiver continues to keep the light at that level until it is told otherwise.
This can, however, render them more expensive. Traditional dimmers keep the current low right at the light switch, while an electronic dimmer has its own mini-computer. You should expect to pay fifty dollars or more for a remote dimmer switch. Note also that you will not be able to use an electronic dimmer with a standard dimmer switch, so if you use any three-way dimming set ups, you will need to replace the hard-wired switch as well.
Other Fun Uses
Remote control dimmer switches have a number of other fun uses as well. First, they can be used in conjunction with fans to provide multiple levels of remote control. For example, you can have a single remote control light switch with two panels, one that controls the light and one that controls the fan. This will need to be electronic (as will anything that sets levels), but you are not limited to just setting light levels. Anything that has different speeds or power levels can be affected.
In addition, nothing stops you from actually having a “remote control stick”. Many remote control light switches come with remote control sticks that allow you to change the light levels from anywhere in the room and even from other rooms. You can use this while entertaining guests, while relaxing in the family room or when changing the fan levels in bed. Just be sure not to lose the remote!
Finally, you can use remote control as a part of an overall, centralized smart home. If you are considering setting up a smart home in which every light source can be controlled from any room in your home, you may not want the additional expense of wiring all of your lighting together. Instead, your control panels can be used to send wireless signals to other panels in your home, connecting all of your light control together without the use of wires.
Putting It All Together
Remote control light switches provide a number of exciting lighting options for your home:
- They can save you money on wiring costs for new light switches.
- They give you the flexibility to control lights from non-traditional locations.
- They can be used in conjunction with dimmer switches.
- They have a number of fun uses, right up to centralizing all your home’s lighting.
Remote control, therefore, can be used to improve the overall functionality of your home’s lighting.