Using electric home design to enhance family life
In today’s busy world, a home that simplifies and enhances daily life sounds like a great idea. For Master Electrician and mother-of-four, Sarah Loveday, it was a must-have.
“I wanted our house to be really user-friendly and operate around my family’s lifestyle,” explains Sarah, who is a third generation electrician and the managing director of family business Loveday Electrical.
With three teenagers and a toddler under one roof, her modern home in Queensland’s North Lakes shows how thoughtful electric home design can create a space that’s both family-friendly and a sanctuary for relaxation.
A home that cares for you
For Sarah, taking the time to plan how her home could work for her family and really add to their daily life, was well worth it.
“I finally have a home that understands me completely,” she says.
“I can make updates as I need, but the biggest bonus is letting my home look after the small details so that I can enjoy time with my family.”
Life in a smart home
The light and airy home has six bedrooms and features a spacious kitchen and living area that opens onto a large patio surrounded by lush tropical garden for outdoor entertaining.
To achieve a home that would respond to her family’s needs, Sarah chose a Clipsal Wiser Smart Home system that links to the stylish Iconic Essence switches and power points throughout the house.
Using the Wiser by SE app on her phone, she can easily monitor and control everything; from indoor and outdoor lighting to individual switches, the temperature, sensors and cameras – whether she’s at home or anywhere else in the world.
Wiser Smart Home gives peace of mind
Sarah says that Wiser Smart Home gives her peace of mind while running her busy household. She can check on the house via the cameras, get notifications when the children get home from school thanks to a door sensor, and even be warned of any leaks from water sensors installed under each of the sinks.
Steamy bathrooms are no longer a worry as Sarah uses a humidity sensor to automatically turn on the exhaust fan and heater on when humidity is detected and turn it off again when no longer needed.
Wiser lighting moments
Sarah has used Wiser to create different lighting ‘moments’ around the house, like after the busy time of dinner and homework when a screen tap turns off the brighter downlights in the kitchen and dining area, leaving softer LED strip lighting for relaxing together in front of the TV.
Tread lights on staircases and dimmed sensor lights in the hallways and bathrooms are a useful safety feature too and helpful if the children get up at night for the bathroom.
Outside, the garden at the front and rear of the house lights up automatically at dusk and turns off later in the evening. “That's one of my favourite things,” says Sarah. “We spent a lot of money on garden lighting, but before we put it on the smart timer switches we rarely used it, unless we had people coming over.
"Every day when I get home in the dark my garden lighting is on and I don't have to remember to turn it off. It makes me really love my home.”
Sarah's advice for good electric home design“Electrical is in every single room and every single aspect of your home, so planning around that is critical,” says Sarah.
Good electric home design means taking time to think about how you want daily life in your home to look. Where do you like to charge your devices? How warm or cool do you like your house to be when you get home? Where would you like to have lamps, task lighting or statement lights?
Sarah says that it's important to consider where you’ll put beds and desks, as well as TVs and other devices, or appliances in kitchens and pantries, so that power points and network connections can be wired in the right places.
A smart home works for you
Electric Home Design also includes outdoor requirements like work sheds, pools and pumps, garden lighting and water features.
Sarah suggests adding sensors as an easy and effective way to add extra functionality to a home. Sensors for automatic lights are useful in butler’s pantries, walk-in wardrobes or laundries when your hands are full with shopping bags or washing, or to light up your driveway and front entrance to create a welcoming mood when you arrive home.
Sensors can also give you peace of mind by monitoring water leaks and windows and doors opening and closing.“Sensors are really inexpensive for what you get in return,” says Sarah, “and I think they're definitely something that should play a bigger place in the modern home.”
Sarah recommends having an idea of what you ultimately want to achieve electrically, whether or not you can afford to do everything at the time.
“Even if you’re not planning to get everything done during the build or renovation, plan your dream end goal in case there is something critical that needs to be done at the start.”
Sarah says using Iconic smart switches and power points are a great way to give a home basic smart home functionality that can be upgraded as time goes on.
A smart home grows with youSarah says the Clipsal Wiser Smart Home system is a cost-effective, energy-efficient and flexible option for all she wanted to achieve. “For me, it was about getting some of the integration you get from much higher-end, very expensive systems on a smaller scale in my home.”
The Wiser Smart Home system runs on standard cabling, so can be used in new home builds or renovations without needing complex wiring. “A lot of home automation systems are hard-wired into the walls and floors, meaning you have to choose everything you want before you finish the build."
"With four growing kids, it was important to have a system that could be scaled up as our family’s needs changed.”
For today, and into tomorrow
In fact, Sarah’s own Wiser system has grown from half a dozen devices to nearly 100 in the four years since her house was built.
“That's probably the best thing, because over the past four years I have changed my mind significantly about how I want to use things and how I want to live in the home.”
Energy-efficiency is also a benefit, as Sarah can use the Wiser by SE app to check whether lights or appliances have been left running, and even turn lights down a few extra percent for energy savings.
Safe and sound with switchboard protection
As an electrician, Sarah is very familiar with the importance of switchboard protection and for her own home, she chose AFDDs for detecting arc faults which will help keep her family safe, and surge protection which will help protect the investment she made in her devices and appliances.
“Everyone has so many electronics in their homes these days, but they don't really understand the damage that a lightning strike, even just in the vicinity, can do to your property,” she says.
“It makes sense to have surge protection installed in the switchboard to protect your entire home.”
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