Ah, it’s 5:55 AM and I’m waking up the dad to go to work. Let’s see, I’ll slowly put on the reading lights over the master bed starting from 0% to 30%, over the next 20 minutes. Do you think it looks like sunrise?

Quickly run over to the thermostat for the 2nd floor bedrooms and at 6:00 AM set it to 66º. Next stop, bathroom heat lamps and the towel warmer, on at 6:05 AM. Got to run, I see someone in the master bedroom pushed the table lamp button to go on. Now I can get back to my automated events, I’ll do the sunrise thing for the oldest (16 years old) daughter at 6:15 AM, the middle (14 years) kiddle at 6:35 AM and finally, ditto, at 7:00 AM for the youngest (12 years). Have to make sure they get up for school! I see the bedroom off button was pressed (shuts off all of the master bedroom lights, master bathroom lights, and closet lights.)

Now its 7:15 AM, got to remember to check to see that the heat lamps and towel warmer are off for the master bath (and shut them if not), and at 7:30 AM make sure that all of the bedroom lights (master, 3 kids bedrooms, and all of their bathrooms) are off. (If not, I’m programmed to shut them all now.) Start up the pool filter also at 7:30 AM, (I shut it at noon.) and the sprinklers at 7:45 AM. (First check the water sensor to see if it rained, and then have to remember it’s winter so I use the winter sprinkler mode, and cut the timers by 50%.)

This is the beginning of a day in the life of a home automation system, in this case a Vantage System.

It seems like I never stop to take a break.

At 8 AM I put the attic fan on (but first check to make sure that the temperature in the attic is over 90º). Got to remember to shut off the fan at 9 PM, otherwise too much noise when the kids go to bed.

Can’t wait ’till 9 AM to knock back the thermostat a few degrees. Everyone is either at work, school, or doing errands. So it’s leisure time for me, until 3 PM when I set the heat to 66º again. Oh no, it’s 9:13 AM and someone is still home, I can tell, the kitchen lights just went on, now the dining room lights, I can’t catch a break.

Well, just cruising, and watching the MRS. cleaning, going from room to room, lights on, lights off, lights on, lights, off. She probably forgot that we have a button that sets a whole house cleaning mode for lights, one button on, one button off, oh well.

Looks like the sun is beaming in, in the living room. When it get too hot, I’m set to close the drapes, and open them just prior to sundown. (Luckily I have a built in astronomical clock, or I’d go crazy calculating the sunrise and sunset times for Los Angeles each day.)

Well, other than the normal lights on, lights off, etc., the day is mundane until 3:20 PM when I bump up the heat, anticipating the kid’s return from school. They are home now, their bedroom lights go on and off, and the TV goes on to satellite station 300 (I know this because they pressed NIK (Nickelodeon) on the LCD screen). Ok, put on the TV, then the surround sound amp, and now Satellite dish to 300. I guess they didn’t like that show, now it’s Family Channel (FAM), I check to see if the TV surround sound amp are on (if not I put them on, before changing to 340.) Oh, back to NIK, OK kids, calm down, stop switching, channels, its annoying.

It’s cram time again, as I shut down the pool filter motor at 3:30 PM, open the drapes at 1 hour prior to sunset, and put the front door lights and exterior garage lights on to 80% at 15 minutes before sunset. I must remember, as this is a weekday, to shut the outdoor lights at 11:30 PM (on weekends I wait until 1:00 AM for this). Kitchen ceiling lights and under cabinet lights just went on, kids must be hungry. Hall lights went on, to a preset 70%, plenty of light and energy savings too.

At 2 hours after sunset I automatically put the hallway ‘art’ lights on to 80%, (looking good, I might add), and reduce them to night lights 5% at 10:00 PM, and again at 11:00 PM incase some one raised the level manually. These lights stay on until ½ hour prior to sunrise.

There must be a guest staying here, as someone just pressed the guest button. This sets up a scene that goes on after dark and puts a downstairs hallway light on to 5%, the bathroom’s ‘behind the tile’ fiber-optic lights on to 40%, and the kitchen undercounter lights on to 10%, all for the guest to comfortably walk around, late night. (I still have control of this, as I automatically shut them all down at sunrise.)

The youngest is showing off her ‘starfield ceiling’ fiber optic-lights again, I just saw them go on. Luckily I automatically shut the down at 9:30 PM weekdays (or on Friday and Saturday at 11:30 PM), or she might stay up too late star gazing, and won’t be able to go to school in the AM.)

Almost done, automatically check that the garage doors (there are 3) are closed (at 10PM), set back the thermostat at 10:15PM, and go on standby until I automatically ‘sweep’ all of the house lights left on (except night lights) off at 2AM.

The MR. & MRS. are in bed (I see the reading lights just went on), and I await their going to sleep, so I can get some rest, until it starts all over in the AM.

Yes!, it’s 11:13PM, they just checked to see if the 1st floor lights are off, shut down the oldest girls bedroom lights via the 2nd floor lights off button, and now master bedroom off button.

Good night all!

If you have any questions or comments about home automation, please feel free to e-mail me at the address below.

Westco Electrical

Jack Goldberg, president of Westco Electrical, in Los Angeles, California, is an electrical contractor specializing in the sale and installation of Vantage Home Automation and Dimming Systems. He is a registered Professional Electrical Engineer active in the industry for over 30 years. His projects have included special residences spanning from the New York Olympic Tower penthouse of Adnan Kashoggi (the richest man in the world), to huge estates for the highly discriminating West Coast entertainment industry elite. Many of these projects are highly visible and have been profiled in Architectural Digest, and various other periodicals. He has also had the pleasure of working with many architects and designers of world renown on award-winning commercial buildings. A native New Yorker, he thrills to the challenge of concepts, applications and installations that others say “can’t be done”.