February 17, 2016

Micro Brewery Automation

Here’s an great idea for all the craft breweries (over 200 in Colorado alone) and home brewers out there. Automate your brewing process! Now, you can enjoy the same level of automation employed by the big guys at a small fraction of the price. We can provide customized touch screen control of the motors, valves, pumps, metering, etc. used in brewing applications by utilizing reliable and economical technologies originally designed for sophisticated home automation applications.Micro Brewery Layout

Monitor and control the brewing process at your location or from any computer or mobile device anywhere in the world. We can help you map your brewing process for display on a touch screen monitor. Control any device by simply touching it on the screen. View and control the status of your entire operation from one or more locations or even your smart phone.

 Lighting, HVAC, door lock control and video monitoring can also be included for a complete overview of the entire operation.

 Motorized stainless steel 2-way and 3-way valves are available in standard sizes from ½” to 2”. Pump control is available in 120/240v single phase and 208v three phase, 30A max.

Contact us for a free telephone consultation to learn more. 720-733-4295

Have a automation project?  Send us your idea, large or small, and we'll publish it here.

January 15, 2016

Water Shutoff... and Drain!

Our Motorized Water Shutoff Valve Packages have been hugely popular, saving thousands of dollars in damages caused by water leaks.

Although our shutoff valves can prevent catastrophic damage from massive water leaks, sustained freezing temperatures can still create considerable damage.  Water trapped in the building's plumbing system expands as it freezes, splitting pipes and breaking fittings and fixtures.  In many cases, this damage occurs inside walls, under floors and in crawl spaces.  Damage in these areas can be difficult to locate and often require drywall tear out to repair.

Now, we have developed a way to minimize or prevent burst pipes caused by freezing temperatures in cold climates. For maximum protection in building at risk for freezing, the water supply should be turned off and the plumbing system drained

There are a couple methods that can be used to automate this procedure. The simplest and least expensive method is to install a 3-way valve at the point the water supply enters the building. In the normal position, the valve connects the water supply to the building’s plumbing system and the 3rd drain port is closed off. When the valve is operated, it closes off the supply port and opens the drain port to allow water within the plumbing system to drain out.

 Shop for Water Shutoff Valves at innovativehomesys.com

3-way motorized valves are available through custom order.  Contact us for pricing and availability.  Note: In many cases, depending on the design of your home, this single operation solution may not be able to provide adequate draining to protect the plumbing.  

In buildings that cannot be suitably drained using the single, 3-way valve solution, there is an alternative.  Multiple 2-way valves can be installed when the supply location is not the lowest point in the plumbing system or when the building's plumbing system design requires multiple drain and/or vent locations.  Unlike others, our valves can be synchronized to operate sequentially from a single INSTEON controller command.  e.g. The supply valve closes completely before the drain valve(s) open.  Additionally, feedback is provided back to the INSTEON controller when the close/drain process is complete.  Inversely, the drain/vent valve(s) are closed before the supply valve is opened.  This eliminates wasted water while the valves are in transition between opening and closing. 

We recommend contacting a licensed plumber to determine the best method for draining your specific plumbing system.  We are happy to work with you or your plumbing professional to custom design a shutoff and drain system specific to your needs.  Best of all, Innovative Home Systems does not charge for this service.  Can you say FREE?

January 15, 2016

Laundromat Automation

Here is a project I thought was an interesting application for INSTEON automation.  This customer owns a number of laundromats and was interested in maximizing profit while reducing his workload and losses due to negligence or vandalism.

Like most, his facilities are open 24x7, often without an attendant present.  So what does INSTEON technology offer to people in similar situations?  We spoke at length and it turns out the answer is, "A lot".

Security

First, INSTEON door locks can provide remote access to lock/unlock areas not otherwise authorized for public access.  This is particularity useful to allow temporary access for cleaning or service personal from a mobile device without being physically present.  Security can be further enhanced through the use of INSTEON Wireless Open/Closed Sensors, Door Sensors, and Motion Sensors.

Surveillance

As many as 9 INSTEON Wireless IP Cameras can also be used to send email or text messages when motion is detected during specific hours and provide remote video surveillance and security around the clock, even in total darkness. 

Through the use of an INSTEON Automation Controller like the HomeRunner RBI customers, at the push of a button, could send a text message to an off site attendant to request assistance.  The IP cameras also provide 2-way audio to allow remote assistance if desired.

HVAC

INSTEON Thermostats can monitor temperature and humidity and alert you if either exceeds predetermined limits.  Optional Waterproof Remote Temperature Sensors can be used to monitor water temperature or monitor air temperature remotely, keeping the actual thermostat out of harm's way.  Humidity measurements can be used to turn on exhaust fan(s) only when needed.

Leaks and Water Usage

Of course water usage and water damage are constant concerns to laundromat owners.  Secondary metering has become a popular way to keep tabs on usage.  When used with the HomeRunner RBI, our water meters with pulse/reed switch output can help control costs. 

INSTEON Wireless Water Leak Sensors can provide an early warning before leaks or spillage can cause major damage and can turn off the water remotely or automatically with an INSTEON Enabled Water Shutoff Valve.

There is no monthly fee for any of the functionality described above.  Of course a high speed Internet connection is required, but that cost may be offset by the advantage of offering customers a free WiFi hot spot.  Throw a sign in the window and watch customers beat a path to your door!

Coin Operated Sink or Laundry Tub

Here's a missed revenue opportunity!  How about using a coin acceptor to send a pulse to trigger an event in your automation controller which turns on the water to a sink or laundry tub using a Water Shutoff Valve.  Configure the automation controller to shut the water off after: (1) a predetermined interval, (2) a specific number of gallons used (requires use of a secondary water meter), or (3) a combination of both. 

Water Shutoff Valve Video

Contact us for complete information on how to accomplish any of these easy do-it-yourself projects.

I've hardly scratched the surface on this subject so I encourage readers to add their own comments and suggestions concerning this and other home and light commercial automation projects.

 

February 15, 2015

Hydroponic Gardening

Webster’s Dictionary: [hahy-druh-pon-iks] The cultivation of plants by placing the roots in liquid nutrient solutions rather than in soil; soilless growth of plants.

Hydroponic and greenhouse gardening are an increasingly popular way to produce your own wholesome food right at home. Many of these systems make use of electric pumps to circulate nutrient rich water through the plant roots, artificial lighting to stimulate growth, and misting systems to increase humidity in dryer climates.

 INSTEON automation can play an important role in any large or small, home or commercial hydroponic gardening plan. For example:

We recommend the HomeRunner RBI automation controller for its flexibility and reliability. You can create your own schedule in only a few minutes. We’ll help you get started or we can even do it for you at a very reasonable hourly rate.

 Please share how you have or plan to use automation technology to improve production and reduce labor and costs associated with Hydroponic growing.

January 28, 2015

Flood Insurance?

We recently received a request from a customer who owned a vacation home in the mountains west of Denver. The home was unoccupied for weeks, even months at a time. The owner had experienced extensive water damage and was looking for a way to prevent a reoccurrence.

 At the time, we were not offering an automated water shutoff valve so we conducted research to identify the best solution. During that effort we learned that valves of this type were not broadly available and those we could find were VERY expensive and often limited in their real world application. Water shutoff valves are usually placed at the location where the water service enters the building but this location is often not easily accessible to the average home owner. Some of the automated valves we found used wired water detectors, but leaks commonly occur far away from the location of the valve itself because installation would include running wires and fishing walls for access to remote locations.

 Also, because the valves are not typically easily accessed, homeowners wanted to receive feedback from the valve to verify the actual, current open/closed status. Valves that provide this feedback signal are rare.

 We were able to locate the manufacturer of top quality motorized ball valves that provide contact closure feedback in both the fully open and fully closed positions at a very reasonable price. We connected the valve to an INSTEON 2450 I/O Linc low voltage/contact closure interface module and powered it with a heavy duty 12VDC power supply. The result is a motorized water shutoff valve that responds to INSTEON On/Off commands and will control another INSTEON device to provide actual valve position status. Check out our video!

 Our customer wanted the ability to turn off the water when they leave the home so we linked an INSTEON KeypadLinc to the I/O Linc. We used a second KeypadLinc button to display the valve status. They also plan to add several wireless INSTEON Water Leak Sensors to turn the water off automatically if a leak ever occurs behind the washer, refrigerator, toilet, or dishwasher.

 The assembly worked so well we decided to add the bundled package to our catalog here. The valve is also available in 3-way, stainless steel and in standard NPT (National Pipe Thread) sizes from ½” to 1 ¼”. Not an INSTEON User? The valve is also available separately.

 

As always, contact us with any questions or if you just need a little help with your INSTEON project.

September 29, 2014

Please tell us

We know there are some great ideas for automation projects out there.  Let's get the creative juices flowing!
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