1Can you create lighting design plans for our finished house that can be installed without too much disruption?
Yes this isn't a problem as we have a range of products that work through the wifi and require less hardwiring that can be controlled by remotes, battery controlled wall stations or any phone/tablet device. Disruption is then minimised to the ceiling not the walls and can usually be installed by lifting the floor boards above. Eliminating the need for individual wires being channeled back to the switch and allowing for more controllable zones of lighting.
2Is investing in lighting control as well as the fittings and layout design always worth it?
Yes nearly always as it allows you to create a variety of different scenes and moods to each individual room that allows you to use the same space in different ways in the evening. Also it is not comfortable to sit under the equivalent of 50w downlights without dimming them somewhat, yes you could wire back to a rotary dimmer switch, but the more lighting zones you have the less appropriate this becomes. Indeed the only time it is not really worth it is if we have been mainly employed to replace decorative fittings in rooms that have a maximum of three zones of lighting that already has the switching in and the budget is tight, for this would be one of our more cosmetic installs.
3How hard is it to retrofit lighting control?
To Hardwire a system back to a main control panel can be quite disruptive if the house isn't under going renovation at the time but not impossible with some vast experience of routing cables cleverly, and these systems are the most robust.
However the alternatives have improved in quality and reliability, which create less disruption to your property. They our often more favourable where the lighting design of one room is being considered, requiring one to establish the permanent incoming lighting feed to the ceiling and from this point routing cable for each zone of lighting where a radio frequency remote control dimmer will be located in the ceiling. Then from each of these each light on that particular zone will be wired in series. No other cable is required to be routed to switches as it is all done through wifi to battery operated wall stations and tablet devices, so the walls aren't touched.
4Have led fittings improved in their ability to dim on control systems?
The answer to this is yes and to a degree they are ever evolving to offer you more and more control over them. However they still don't quite deliver the control you may have enjoyed over your halogen bulbs, especially at the lower end of the dimming curve.
5Should I install true led downlights in my scheme or 230v options with led bulbs?
We recommend, and use ourselves in installations, 230v fittings with LED bulbs, for a number of reasons. For LED's have been constantly improving in technology and continue to do so, improving lamp life, reliability, colour and dimming capability. At the same time the price of good LED bulbs has halved in price over the years, so therefore it gives you more flexibility to keep pace with technology by changing the bulb rather than the fitting. Also for this very reason true LED fittings are often quite soon obsolete as a new range takes it's place, so finding an exact match for a faulty fitting that has been in for a number of years can sometimes be problematic. Finally we end on the point that who is to say that LED doesn't become outdated for a more preferable technology in bulbs, like the talk of graphine for instance and with a 230v system this is easily adaptable.
6Can you incorporate a suggested zoning and wiring diagram to your lighting design if I was getting someone else to install it?
Yes that is not a problem and can be requested as an addition on top of the lighting layouts, but depending upon size of property may require a site visit to work out appropriate routes and locations.
7Does a new lighting scheme always mean re-plastering?
The simple answer to this is probably in some form yes, the more pertinent question however is how much. For patch plastering over old filled downlight holes in a ceiling is relatively painless compared to chasing out walls that require a greater amount of plastering and redecoration to the area.
8Can I control my lights from my phone or tablet device easily?
Of course for this is no longer a luxury add on for the industry it has become almost standard. Whether it be a fully installed Lutron lighting system fully controllable from your phone anywhere, or some retrofit LightwaveRF plug in's with a wifi bridge that control simple lamp lighting, and everything in between. Indeed you will find more and more that yes your wall station is never redundant and always required upon entering your room, but nearly all of your scene switching and creation will be done from the comfort of your couch or chair on your phone/tablet.
9Is it easy to remotely control the lights or programme a holiday mode?
These functions come as standard for the higher end lighting control systems where you have paid a premium for a more programmable technology that will give you the ability to react to an intrusion or give the impression that you are there when you aren't.
10Is good lighting really worth spending the money on over other design products?
The answer here is always! However it is often the first to get cut in a stretched budget over other design products by naive developers. Naive because professionally designed, sourced, installed and controlled lighting has the ability to transform even ordinary space. A transformation that isn't finished yet as lighting control then allows different scenes for different moods and uses. So with winters seeing dark arrive as early as 4 good lighting is delivering for you from the moment you return home from a day at work.