Call us at (415) 454-8000

Frequently Asked Questions

What Are Motorized Window Treatments And How Do They Work?

Motorized window treatments are operated by electric motors and are controlled with wired or wireless remotes, or fully automated based on timers and other conditions. Not only does the absence of cords or bead chains make these window treatments so much more attractive, but they also remove the very real risks dangling strings pose to kids and pets.

Manually cranked windows were the standard for cars until we upgraded to electric. Can you imagine winding your car windows up and down by hand now? We used to wash dishes by hand until the dishwasher was invented. After you experience powered window treatments you won’t want to go back to manual shades or awnings.

Motorized window treatments can be operated on a timer, or at the push of a button. Some are controlled by sensors that increase energy efficiency by automatically adjusting motorized shades with rising temperatures or increased sun intensitry.

How Are Motorized Window Treatments Powered?

Motorized shades can be hardwired or battery-powered. Wired window treatments are ideal for new construction or major renovation projects. Battery-powered window treatments are a great option for smaller upgrades or for locations where it is impractical to run wires to. While battery life can last an impressive three to six years depending on how often you operate your shades, it’s hard to beat the reliability of hardwired shades. Rechargeable battery-powered shades can be recharged with plug-in transformers (typically done every 6 months to a year), or with mini solar panels for continuous recharging.

Can Motorized Shades Be Connected To Smart Home Hubs?

Some motorized shades and screens can be linked to third party smart home hubs such as Control4, Home Kit, Alexa, or Google Home. Compatibility varies between brands.

Are Motorized Shades Reliable? How Long Do They Last?

Because you're not pulling on strings, chains or wands to operate motorized shades, no strings for pets or kids to play with, motorized blinds are very reliable and can last longer than traditional window treatments. Motorized window treatments installed by Inspired Environments come with manufacturer warranties as well as our own installation warranty. We only use the best and most reliable brands, such as Lutron and Somfy. The quality offered by these brands comes at a premium, but this premium means years of dependable service and lower future maintenance costs.

Can Motorized Shades Be Used On Large Windows?

Visualize the motorized screens in cinemas or curtains at the opera. Larger applications simply require larger motors. The largest exterior screen installed by Inspired Environments measures 32 feet wide by 16 feet tall. Lutron shades can be made up to over 12 feet wide and 16 feet tall.

Are Motorized Shades Noisy?

This depends on the brand and on the application, as well as your own perception of what "noisy" is. Lutron makes incredibly quiet motors, so silent that most people would sleep right through a roomfull of shades opening at day break. Inspired Environments was the first Lutron shades dealer on the West Coast almost 25 years ago, no other manufacturer has been able to challenge Lutron when it comes to their whisper-quiet motors. The noise produced by Lutron motors could be compared to the hum of a refrigerator. Somfy motors power most of our outdoor shading products, such as awnings and exterior screens. The operating noise level of Somfy exterior motors is higher than Lutron motors, but the applications are very different, and the fact that these are mostly external applications means that a louder operating sound is in general lost in other noises.

Are Motorized Blinds Worth It?

Motorization is not just for tech fanatics. It can definitely be a worthwhile investment for the comfort and efficiency of any home. Plus it is especially usefull for tall windows, windows that are high up or otherwise difficult to reach, or indeed sklyight screens which are normally impossible to reach.

Rooms with lots of windows that need to be opened and closed regularly benefit greatly from motorization. Motorization enables the use of schedules and automation to operate window treatments without intervention based on events or conditions. Heat loss and heat gain are a very real issue in summer and winter. Think of how hot your South and West-facing rooms get because of those large windows that you love. Think of how you start your day by opening them to let in the morning light, and then have to remember to close them by noon to keep out the summer heat. Motorization and automation take over and do these tasks for you.

Beyond the heat, think about your furniture and floors and how the sun is continuously fading, bleaching and drying out your rugs, wood floors, paintings, pictures and leather couches.

Motorized blinds and shades put an end to all of that. You’ll never have to worry about opening or closing your blinds again. You’ll also start to see the positive impact to your energy bill in the summer as they work effortlessly to block out the heat and keep in the cool. You can simply close them with a push of a button, or you can automate them.

For frequent travelers or vacation homes owners automation of motorized window treatments offer the peace of mind of making a home look lived in.

Construction FAQs:

How are payments made, and when are they made?

These terms are broken down in the agreement based on progress with a completion date included. Typically we take a deposit for materials, and the rest of the payments are determined beforehand. Once the work is completed to a pre-determined point, a pre-determined payment is made, with final payment due upon completion.

How many of your customers come from repeat business, or from referrals from existing or previous customers?

We are blessed that over 80% of our customers are referred to us from customers we've performed work for in the past. There is a reason we have such a loyal client base.

Who will help us with the architectural details?

Depending on your design team and what is being asked for, we are qualified to address any detail challenge the project can generate. Ask about how we can provide our design services for free in the project.

What should I be asking my contractor?

A few key questions to ask could be: How long have you been in business? Have you ever done a project like this one, if so tell me about it? Do you have insurance? Who does the work: you, your employees, or is the project completely done by sub-contractors? With years of experience under our belts, Inspired Environments is happy to provide all of these answers, and to provide references.

What about materials?

Important materials are specified in the contract. All materials are covered unless specifically called out in our agreement. However, as substitutions are sometimes unavoidable we make it clear that an equal substitution will be made but only upon your approval. For items such as fabrics that may not be chosen when the contract is signed, a budget is determined in the contract to cover exactly what will be spent on them.