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Remote Controls for Lighting

Remote controls can turn on room lights and even many appliances. You can buy hand-held, infrared remotes that work just like a television remote to dim and operate lights, ceiling fans—even window shades—from your easy chair or bedside. Or you can utilize any of several different “wireless” systems that use a combination of transmitter/receiver technology and your home’s wiring to give you increased control. Most of these are based on the X-10 Powerhouse system that has been in use for several years.

Radio Shack, for example, offers the Plug ’n Power system, which utilizes a range of different plug-in modules that receive signals from a remote control or switch. With these, you can control living room lighting, televisions, stereos, ceiling fans, and the like from the control. You can accessorize the system with hand-held controls, keychain remotes, security consoles, a set-back thermostat, and even a telephone responder that lets you control the system by phone.

Leviton also has an in-wall system based on X-10 protocol that offers all-lights-on security lighting at the touch of a button, centralized switching, and thermostat control. The nice thing about these systems is that you don’t have to do any special wiring—they work with what you have.

Lamsom Home Products makes a wireless ceiling fixture switch that will turn on any overhead incandescent light or ceiling fan from up to 50 feet away; a wireless wall switch that will turn on a lamp, television, or similar appliance; and a wireless three-way switch for hallways and stairways where wiring isn’t set up for control from both ends.

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About Don Vandervort
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Don Vandervort developed his expertise more than 30 years ago as Building Editor for both Sunset Books and Home Magazine. He has written more than 30 home improvement books and countless magazine articles. He appeared regularly on HGTV’s “The Fix,” and served as MSN’s home expert. Don founded HomeTips in 1996.

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