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Lighting options in new build - should I look at smart lighting, hue etc.?

(17 Posts)
WhatWouldTheDoctorDo Thu 24-Nov-16 21:11:43

Currently considering a myriad of optional extras for our new build. I've been looking at adding dimmer switches and extra downlighters etc. but should I be looking at smart lighting options instead?

I don't know anything about them really other than I've heard of Philips hue. What do I need, how do they work and where to start? I'm thinking about the living room/diner particularly in that I'd like to have the option of bright/dim lighting when needed?

Most of the bulbs in our current house drive me demented - take ages to get bright enough. I want a warm and bright light in bedrooms when I turn the switch on.

We're very much an Apple house with iPhones and gadgets, but I'm not really sure what the Apple HomeKit does?

I'm off to do some research, but tips from wise MNetters always welcome!

specialsubject Fri 25-Nov-16 09:19:12

Serious question - what happens in a few years when the apple operating system has been 'upgraded' and is no longer compatible with your house? Seen it with apps where the answer is 'buy a new iPad'. 'Rewire the house' ???

Keep it simple. And minimise ceiling holes.

NicknameUsed Fri 25-Nov-16 09:24:55

I agree with specialsubject.

I feel uneasy about the idea of tying in to one brand for everything, especially Apple because you become a captive audience, and it becomes very costly.

Although I know what you mean about older low energy bulbs taking ages to warm up. Modern ones are much better.

What is the issue with ceiling holes specialsubject?

WhatWouldTheDoctorDo Fri 25-Nov-16 09:36:43

The Philips hue is wireless though and doesn't need the Apple HomeKit? No idea if the HomeKit needs to be wired in. We have to pay to install dimmers anyway, so a starter Phillips hue kit would be around the same cost.

Needmoresleep Fri 25-Nov-16 10:17:54

Agree with Special Subject. I am in the process of updating a ten year old flat which started out with every possible bell and whistle. Luckily I have found a good experienced electrician (harder than you might think) who say the underfloor heating system it is really complicated, and that components are really only suited to commercial use. (You would think underfloor heating should be quiet, but instead it comes with great banging noises when the timer comes on). There is a central control panel which looks after everything, but it looks and feels like an early Sat Nav. No touch screen, and very slow, but just about working. Similarly concealed cisterns in fully tiled bathrooms in a hard water area.

The flat would have been fun when new, and indeed it is still lovely. But that is because it has a large terrace, faces south and is in a great location. The "modern" touches depreciated faster than a new sports car driven off a forecourt.

specialsubject Fri 25-Nov-16 11:05:49

ceiling holes let moisture upwards. Particularly daft in a bathroom but not brilliant anywhere.

NicknameUsed Fri 25-Nov-16 14:08:01

Ah, right. Good job we don't have any then.

WhatWouldTheDoctorDo Fri 25-Nov-16 14:09:07

I'm really only looking at lighting to be honest, and Philips hue seems wireless and easily removable.

WhatWouldTheDoctorDo Fri 25-Nov-16 14:10:25

Ah, as in don't put too many downlighters in a bathroom specialsubject?

specialsubject Fri 25-Nov-16 15:00:49

Yes. smile

MooseyMouse Sat 26-Nov-16 06:55:37

Most smart-home devices aren't wired in. We're planning the Nest system because loads of products are compatible with it.

I found a good guide to smart home technology on Amazon.

If you Google "works with nest" or "works with apple HomeKit" you'll get loads of options.

Madcats Mon 28-Nov-16 18:17:22

I am 3 days in to our "Hue and Echo Dot" combo in a wifi and Apple device house. Keeping it simple....

The Hue is essentially a lot of individual lightbulbs that are controlled from a "bridge".
The bridge is a plugged in device that requires a power supply and plugs into your wifi router. Our bridge is on the middle floor of a 3 storey house and seems to be coping well. The "bridge" gets software updates from time to time. There are other (apparently better) 3rd party apps for controlling the lights but I am keeping things simple at the moment.

The lights can be turned on/dimmed/off using an app (so you need to remember to stop using the light switches!).

With the Ambience lights you can also alter the tone of the lights (there are preset moods to help). Alongside this you can also buy remote controls or get Siri (Apple) or Alexa (Amazon) to turn them on and off. DH has chosen some silly names for each light, so I will need to alter those somehow.

Not sure if it helps, but we only had a couple of dimmers on main lights in the house (plus on the spotlights in the kitchen and bathroom). It is great being able to alter the tone of the other lights (though I might just be reassuring myslef that the £200 was well spent)

Another hint and tip is to add far more power sockets that you could possibly image that you would need.

WhatWouldTheDoctorDo Mon 28-Nov-16 19:06:10

Thanks madcat and moosey!

On the not using light switches, how do you find that with visitors & DC? Thinking if GPs babysitting etc. presumably you can you the switches when you need to? And can more than one phone or iPad control the lights?

WhatWouldTheDoctorDo Mon 28-Nov-16 19:07:26

Oh just reread that you can buy a remote control, so that would help with visitors!

Madcats Mon 28-Nov-16 20:30:04

I've just thought this through as we have an elderly great aunt arriving before Xmas and I don't want her to be plunged into darkness.

You can just tell all your lightbulbs to be "on" per your "smart thing" controller and turn them on and off at the socket. We have 2 iPads and me shouting at Alexa (with varying degrees of success...must rename those lights) and they seem to cope.

shovetheholly Tue 29-Nov-16 08:03:51

The Hue doesn't require special electricity - it uses the same cables as everything else. It's a series of bulbs that you plug into existing fittings, that you can then control wirelessly. There are issues around longevity and support, but they will be around the app/compatibility with smart home hubs.

For most people, Hue is a 'nice to have' gimmick at the moment. It has some useful functions - you can do things like turn your lights on using your mobile if you find yourself out after dark, and you can use IFTTT to create a warning system based on other sensors (e.g. if it's about to rain on your washing on the line, the light goes blue). It can also be very beautiful - I've seen the wash of colours used very effectively in the house of an architect friend of mine, and another friend had a really fun 'Halloween' lighting scheme this year from Hue, which her kids really loved!

For those who are ill or have mobility issues, they are probably more useful. It's not just that you can also turn lights on from your armchair, but that the use of a phone as an everyday remote control ensures that the person is more likely to keep it on them. Having had 2 elderly relations fall when they weren't wearing their panic buttons, I can see an advantage in home automation systems that keep a smartphone on hand!

Tatey25 Sun 11-Dec-16 10:53:20

I totally agree with others who have contributed here. Keep it simple and gimmick free. I have designed a lot of lighting and lighting control system over the last 25 years as a professional consulting engineer. I have all sorts of wounderful stuff in my house now, which I inherited, and I am about to strip it back to a simple lighting installation with switches and dimmers. Less messing around with wi-if signals, network issues, etc. Also Obsolescence will become a issue. You can still design a decent lighting system without having to spend a fortune on complex gimmick controls.

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