August 24, 2021

Automated WiFi Load Transfer Switch

Not long ago, one of our customers came to us with a special request.  The customer had purchased an electrical vehicle and found that Level 1 charging at their home was too slow for their needs.  A Level 2 charger was the answer but their home's circuit breaker panel did not have sufficient capacity to add an additional 240v, 40 amp circuit breaker for the charger.  The cost replacing their existing panel or adding a new sub-panel was more that they wished to spend so we worked with their electrician to develop an alternative.

The couple had an existing 40 amp circuit breaker associated with an electric range.  Since the range was typically not used after 10 PM, the homeowner was able to install one of our Model 1475 WiFi Load Transfer Switches.  The app associated with the switch allows pre-determined scheduling to remove the range from the circuit and replace it with the Level 2 EV charger for a fast, overnight charge.  In the morning, the Load Transfer Switch automatically transfers power back to the range before breakfast, all completely transparent to the homeowner.  Of course, the power can also be transferred manually at any time through the smartphone app or convenient front panel control on the switch.

An additional benefit from this arrangement is that the power is automatically removed from the outdoor EV charger during the day when the home owner is away, thereby preventing power theft.  We also offer our Model 1470 Heavy Duty Load Controller for those who only want to disable outdoor EV chargers when not in use.

Both Model 1470 and Model 1475 are available with ratings up to 60 amps, and in your choice of compatible automation technologies including WiFi, Bluetooth, Insteon, Z-Wave, ZigBee and others.

Contact us for additional information concerning our heavy duty 240v switches or to help you with your custom requirements.

February 22, 2020

Automated Control for Heavy Duty Electrical Appliances

We now offer 240V Heavy Duty Load Controllers for use with Insteon, Z-Wave, ZigBee, UPB, X10, WiFi, or Bluetooth.  You can even control heavy 240-277 volt appliances with your voice using Amazon Alexa or Google Voice commands.

Our Model 1470 Heavy Duty Load Controllers are available in Single Phase or 3-Phase models capable of controlling loads up to 60 Amps!  The controllers are suitable for outdoor locations when equipped with an optional weather resistant switch cover.


Insteon models can be customized to operate without a Neutral wire connection as a direct replacement for the discontinued Insteon model 2477SA Load Controller.  Our Insteon models are also available without a front panel switch if local control is not desired.

Significant reductions in energy usage, cost and maintenance can be achieved through easy to create schedules that limit on times to only needed periods.

Popular applications for our Model 1470 Heavy Duty Load Controllers include electric water heaters, swimming pool, spas, radiant electric heaters, unit heaters, air conditioners, industrial lighting and heavy electrically operated equipment.  

Innovative Home Systems specializes in helping our customers with cost effective solutions for their automation needs.  Contact us today for help with your project.

February 13, 2020

Automated Water Shutoff For Multifamily Homes And Commercial Buildings

Demand for automated water shutoff systems has grown to now include multifamily homes and commercial buildings.  Innovative Home Systems has rapid growth in sales of 1 1/4", 1 1/2" and 2" motorized valves.  These larger sized valves have already saved our customers millions of dollars in potential losses from water damage.

All our valves are quality, full port design with safe yet powerful 12VDC motors for years of reliable service.  Our large valves also include the same feedback signaling that is included on our smaller valves so you know for sure that the valve has completely closed.  All valve can be electrically closed locally or remotely from your smartphone or automatically with available water leak sensors.

We offer all valve sizes individually or as part of our Insteon or Z-Wave Water Shutoff Valve Packages that add even greater saving to our already low, low prices.

Contact us if you'd like additional information concerning any of our water shutoff valves.

September 08, 2019

Insurance Discounts For Water Shutoff Valves

Many people are unaware that some insurance companies provide discounts on your Homeowner's Insurance when water leak protection is installed.

March 31, 2016

3/31/2016 Innovative Home Systems Press Release

Innovative Home Systems announces availability of Z-Wave automation products

Littleton, Colorado, 3/31/2016 – Innovative Home Systems has announced the introduction of Z-Wave product availability at their on-line web store,

Innovative Home Systems, known primarily for INSTEON® product sales has recently added other automation technologies to their product line.  “We have offered customized INSTEON configurations for customers with special requirements for some time.  We now plan to offer the same custom solution development to Z-Wave users,” said Bill Dierking, General Manager, Innovative Home Systems.  “For example, we have frequent requests for design assistance in the development of automated control for water valves used in residential and light commercial applications.  We offer valves that provide feedback of their open or closed position and other interesting capabilities.  We can now also offer customers their choice of automation technologies.”

Innovative Home Systems plans to add a broad range of capabilities provided by select Z-Wave products.

About Innovative Home Systems, LLC

Established in 2003, Innovative Home Systems, LLC is dedicated to providing the highest quality products to improve the safety, convenience, and security of their customers.  For additional information concerning Innovative Home Systems, LLC visit


Innovative Home Systems, LLC

Bill Dierking 720-733-4295


January 15, 2016

INSTEON Switches

Switches are the most popular type of INSTEON device but why are there so many varieties of INSTEON switches and which on should I choose for my application?


We often get that question so I thought I'd try to explain.

On/Off vs. Dimming

Most INSTEON switches are available as either a dimmer or non-dimming (On/Off or Relay).  Dimming switches are a great way to reduce the light intensity and save energy when used with incandescent bulbs.  Dimmers can also be used with some new LED and florescent bulbs but results may vary and may not provide a full range of intensity levels.

Non-dimming switches, usually referred to as On/Off or relay switches, should be used to control electronic audio/visual equipment and devices with motors or transformers, otherwise known as inductive loads.  The use of dimmer switches with these types of devices may cause damage or fire.  Call us if you have any questions or concerns.

What's watts?

The watt is a common measure of the electrical power requirements of a light or appliance.  Dimming high wattages will cause the dimmer to create a certain amount of heat.  The higher the wattage, the more heat will be generated by the dimmer switch.  For this reason, you should always add up the total wattage of all the light to be controlled by an individual dimmer switch.  Generally, loads of less than 600 watts can be safely controlled by a standard INSTEON dimmer switch.  A heavy duty dimmer is also available for loads up to 1,000 watts.  Note: When multiple INSTEON dimmer switches are mounted side by side in the same switch box the wattage rating for each switch should be reduced to account for the heat generated by the other dimmer switches.  Call us or refer to the manufacturers documentation for additional details.

Shifting into Neutral

Another important consideration when selecting an INSTEON switch is if your home was wired with a Neutral wire accessible in the switch box.  If a neutral wire is present, it is usually identified by two or more white wires (commonly connected together with a wire nut), a three wire (black, white, red) switch should be used.  A two wire switch (black & red wires) for dimming applications is also available for use when no Neutral wire is present.  Inspect the switch box where you plan to install the INSTEON Switch.  If no white wires are found, you have a choice; call an electrician to add the white wire or purchase a 2-wire switch or use INSTEON controlled bulbs.  Usually, the latter is your best choice, but remember, the 2-wire SwitchLinc Dimmer is RF only, does not repeat INSTEON power line signals and is not suitable for multi-way circuits.  Refer to the Caveat emptor blog post (below) or click here for more information about how to determine if you have a Neutral wire connection.  Again, call us if you have any questions.

 Isn't that Special?

Want to preserve an antique or special switch?  INSTEON Micro Modules are the perfect solution. 

These compact modules install behind your existing switch, giving it full INSTEON automation while retaining local control at the switch by way of sense wires. Connect the sense wires to any style wall switch to match any type of designer theme (antique, push-button, metal, etc.).  Micro Dimmers can be installed as an in-line module within a fixture box, providing remote control dimming without needing to run wires to wall switch. 

Finally, don't forget you can use INSTEON Sensors to control any of these wired-in switches.  For example, the INSTEON Hidden Door Sensor can be used to turn on the closet light whenever the closet door is opened or the INSTEON Wireless Motion sensor can trigger lighting whenever you enter a room.  If you have a special need of any kind, contact us.  We can suggest ways to address the issue without breaking the bank.                        











June 05, 2015

Caveat emptor (continued)

This is the second installment in the series on how to avoid disappointment with your INSTEON purchases.  Contact us if you have any questions concerning INSTEON devices or if you have a tip that would help others.

Tip #4  What do you have in Common?

Depending on how it is wired, there may or may not be a Common or Neutral (white) wire present in every switch location in your home.  Inspect the switch box where you plan to install the INSTEON Switch. If white wires are present (commonly connected together with a wire nut), choose a 3-wire switch.  If no white wires are found, you have a choice; call an electrician to add the white wire or purchase a 2-wire switch.  Usually, the latter is your best choice, but remember, the 2-wire SwitchLinc Dimmer is RF only, does not repeat INSTEON power line signals and is not suitable for multi-way circuits.

Tip #5  Which switch is which?

 A large variety of INSTEON switches are available to accommodate a range of uses.  To avoid disappointment and confusion, you would be well advised to become familiar with the different types of INSTEON switching devices and their application.  Switches with 3-wires, (not including the bare copper ground wire) require a Neutral or Common switch box connection.  Switches with 2 wires do not require a Common or Neutral wire connection. 

Here is a partial list of INSTEON Switches and their application:

Decora Style
  • 3-wire general purpose dimmer
  • 3-wire general purpose On/Off Only
  • 3-wire heavy duty dimmer (for high wattage loads)
  • 2-wire general purpose dimmer (RF only, for use when a Neutral or Common wire is not available)
Toggle Style
  • 3-wire general purpose dimmer
  • 3-wire general purpose On/Off Only
Keypads  (all Keypads are 3-wire and require a Neutral wire connection)
  • 6 button dimmer (local load control plus 4 programmable buttons for controlling other devices)
  • 6 button On/Off only (local load control plus 4 programmable buttons for controlling other devices)
  • 8 button dimmer (local load control plus 7 programmable buttons for controlling other devices)
In-Line (switch box mount - no local control)
  • 3-wire general purpose dimmer
  • 3-wire general purpose On/Off Only
Micro Switches (used for adding INSTEON to an existing switch, can be placed inside existing switch box)
  • 3-wire general purpose dimmer
  • 3-wire general purpose On/Off Only
  • Motor Control (for use with motorized shutters, blinds, screen)
Din Rail (primarily for electrical contractor installations)
  • 3-wire general purpose dimmer
  • 3-wire general purpose On/Off Only
 Heavy Duty (240 Volt, 30 Amp for water heaters, spas, swimming pools, etc.)
  • 4-wire On/Off
 Low Voltage
  • 1 output / 1 input
  • 4 outputs / 0 inputs
  • 8 output irrigation controller
  • 8 outputs(AC only) / 3 inputs
  • 8 output / 7 input

Outlets (Decora style)

  • Dimming
  • On/Off only

Tip #6  Multi-way Switches

Another common point of confusion deals with INSTEON switches used in 3-way applications.  INSTEON switches are not the same and are not wired like traditional 3-way or 4-way switches.  This means that traditional multi-way switches cannot be used in conjunction with INSTEON switches, all switches in a given multi-way circuit must be INSTEON. However, this also means every INSTEON switch can potentially be used as a 3-way or 4-way switch.  Traditional 3-way and 4-way switches require special wiring in the walls of your home and this wire can be reused for the new INSTEON switches.  Since INSTEON switch emulate multi-way functionality through INSTEON communication links rather than the special wiring connections associated with traditional multi-way switches, an additional switch can be easily and inexpensively added at any location where power is available.  This makes INSTEON switches perfect for adding multi-way switch locations were none existed before without the expense and inconvenience of rewiring your home.

June 02, 2015

Innovative Home Systems partners with First Alert to offer ONELINK smoke and carbon monoxide detectors

Innovative Home Systems is pleased to announce a new partnership with First Alert to offer ONELINK smoke and carbon monoxide detectors that can be integrated into INSTEON networks.

Integration is accomplished through the use of a single INSTEON Smoke Bridge module per installation.  The INSTEON Smoke Bridge allows the First Alert ONELINK communication to be translated into INSTEON messages that can be used instantly to turn on path lighting or send email or text messages when paired with a compatible INSTEON automation controller. 

Available INSTEON commands include Smoke Sensed, Carbon Monoxide Sensed, Low Battery, Sensor Malfunction, and All Clear.

Studies have concluded that the very presence of a functioning Smoke Alarm reduces the overall percentage of fatalities associated with fire by a staggering 50%.  Although thousands of lives have already been saved by the smoke detectors currently in place, it is estimated that 12% of homes that fail to utilize alarms experience more than half of all documented fires. A more frightening statistic is that a third of all installed smoke alarms are not functioning.  Many homes simply don’t have the required number of active smoke alarms needed to provide proper safety.  Check out our selection of INSTEON compatible Combination Smoke and CO Alarms

Are your home’s smoke detectors over 10 years old?

Experts say smoke detectors should be replaced every 8-10 years, (carbon monoxide detectors every 5-7 years).   Why not replace all your old smoke and carbon monoxide detectors with new, top quality First Alert devices and add INSTEON monitoring and control?

Where To Install Carbon Monoxide Alarms:

One on every level of the home and one in each sleeping area (bedroom hallway).

Where To Install Smoke Alarms:

One in every bedroom, and at least one on every level of the home.


May 17, 2015

Caveat emptor (Let the buyer beware)

INSTEON home automation is the most popular, most robust, most reliable, and best selling technology available.  At Innovative Home Systems we not only sell INSTEON devices, but we manufacture our own INSTEON product: the popular GarageHawk garage door monitoring and closing system.

With that said, we often receive calls and emails from many new customers who are disappointed (or are about to become disappointed) when they realize the INSTEON hardware they purchased (from another dealer) is not what they thought.  In fairness, I don't think the dealer is trying to hide information, but if the customer doesn't ask, the information is not volunteered.  The problem is, how do you know what to ask?  I will try to make you aware of some of the biggest "gottchas" when planning your INSTEON home automation system.

Tip #1 INSTEON Automation Controllers come in two basic types.

INSTEON controllers are either Hardware Based or Software Based.

Software Based controllers are an application (Windows or Mac) that loads onto your home computer.  It uses your computer's processor and memory to control your INSTEON devices using a predetermined schedule.  Your computer communicates with your INSTEON enabled lights, appliances, thermostats, etc.  by using a PLM (Power Line Modem), usually purchased separately.  Remote access and control of your INSTEON devices are provided through your computer's existing Internet connection.  Pluses: Generally less a expensive alternative because it uses your existing computer's processing power to control your automation.  Minuses: Requires your computer to be on 24x7x365 to run automation.  Less reliable due to computer updates, viruses, malware, and all other typical home computer issues.

Hardware Based controllers use a dedicated "box" that includes all the processing and memory required to control your automation.  The Power Line Modem function is provided by an external PLM or is incorporated directly into the controller box.  Remote access and control of your INSTEON devices are provided by a separate RJ45 Ethernet connection from your Cable or DSL Modem or Ethernet Router.  Pluses: Small size, low power consumption, and remote access means the controller box can be located almost anywhere (usually co-located with Cable or DSL Modem).  More reliable than software based controllers.  Once initially configured, does not require computer connection.  Minuses: More expensive to purchase due to the cost of the processor hardware.

Tip #2  All INSTEON Automation Controllers are not created equal.

Regardless of whether you are interested in a hardware or software based controller, control capabilities and sophistication vary greatly. A little knowledge and planning can go a long way to reduce or eliminate buyer's remorse.

  1. Know what devices you want to control now and in the future.  I don't know a single INSTEON automation controller on the market today that is compatible with all INSTEON devices.  Do your research to make sure the controller you purchase supports all your hardware.  Don't forget about devices you would like to add in the future and maybe even devices that aren't on the market yet.  So how can you know if one brand of controller will support an INSTEON device that hasn't even been invented yet?  You don't, but a controller that supports a large number of devices now will probably have a better chance of adding new devices when they become available.  Ask your INSTEON dealer for help.  If your current dealer can't help or is reluctant to find the answers for you, maybe it's time to find a new dealer.
  2. Know your technical abilities and limitations.  Generally speaking, low cost automation controllers are less sophisticated and control fewer types of INSTEON devices.  Not surprisingly, controllers that support more devices and have more capabilities cost more due to the cost of development.  Also, controllers that have more capabilities tend to require more technical ability to configure because they are more complex and have more options.  However, don't let a sophisticated controller scare you off.  The more costly, more sophisticated controllers are usually better documented.  Remember, we provide free tech support before and after the sale.  In some cases, for a modest fee, we can even configure your controller for you remotely via Internet connection.  Again, talk to your dealer.  Ask specifically if the controller you have in mind will support all the INSTEON devices and functions you wish to automate.

Tip # 3  There are 3 basic types of INSTEON devices.

All INSTEON devices can be classified in one of three categories.

  1. Power Line - These devices communicate exclusively over your home's existing power circuits.
  2. RF - RF devices are typically battery powered and require the presence of at least one Dual Mode device to allow communications with Power Line devices
  3. Dual Mode - As the name implies, Dual Mode devices use both Power Line and RF simultaneously to communicate with all three types of devices.  This simultaneous communication provides an alternate signal path.  Should one path become degraded,  the alternate path will allow the message to reach its destination.  When placed on opposite phases, Dual Mode devices will also couple the INSTEON signals between the phases and eliminate a potential cause of INSTEON problems.  INSTEON recommends at least two Dual Mode devices be included in every installation.  Contact your dealer for specifics.

Remember, not all INSTEON devices are Dual Mode.  Check with your dealer to determine the device type if you are unsure.

I'll discuss INSTEON Switches in a future post.

April 06, 2015

What makes INSTEON more reliable than other automation technologies (and what can make it fail)

Unlike some previous automation technologies, INSTEON communications will tolerate a fair amount of power line or RF noise interference and signal degradation.  The illustration below shows how INSTEON signals are communicated between INSTEON Power Line, RF, and Dual Band devices.

 Also, many (not all) INSTEON devices use both power line and Radio Frequency (RF) communication to provide a second, parallel path for communications to travel.  All other technologies use only RF or only power line communication.  The result is an automation network that is extremely robust and reliable under most circumstances.

The signals can take multiple paths and hop between multiple INSTEON devices to provide very reliable communications.  Every INSTEON device is also a repeater of INSTEON signals thereby, increasing the overall INSTEON signal level.

Think of it like trying to communicate with a friend across a large room at a noisy party.  Your friend can't hear you when you speak however, if everyone next to you repeats what you say in unison and everyone next to them repeats it again...well, you get the idea.  When your friend receives your message, he/she acknowledges and the acknowledgement is passed back in a similar fashion.  If you don't receive the acknowledgement for any reason, you simply try again.

There can still be some situations when the noise is too great for even the person standing next to you to hear.  Imagine jet aircraft taking off in the middle of the party.  Unlike the party scenario, you can't actually hear the power line noise with your ears, it's a much, much higher frequency so the only indication you have of its presence is when you experience problems with your INSTEON network.  I have seen this happen in the presence of a defective or poorly designed electrical appliances like a small, inexpensive, plug-in power supply used to recharge cell phones and other mobile devices, and power tools.  I have, also, noticed this happens with power supplies associated with cable TV set top boxes, cable and DSL modems.  Less common causes are routers, laptop computers, and printers.  I have even heard of faulty florescent lighting, dimmer switches, TVs, and even an occasional refrigerator creating  unacceptable levels of power line noise.

Isolating the source of the noise can sometimes be a little challenging, but there are some tips to make the task a little easier.  Look for a troubleshooting blog on "Finding power line noise."

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