The Different Types of Wall TimersOne of the easiest ways to better manage home lighting, ceiling fans, heaters and other amenities is with a Wall Timer. Using a Wall Timer is great way to getting started with home automation as it will allow a particular device to operate for a specified amount of time. There are many Wall Timer solutions available at Smarthome and this guide will help you find one that fits your specific needs.
Intelligent Wall Timers
An Intelligent Wall Timer is one that uses a technology (such as INSTEON) to schedule on/off times to control one or more devices on the same network. Additionally these timers can often be remotely programmed from another controller on that same network.
The INSTEON KeypadLinc Timer is an excellent example of an Intelligent Wall Timer as it offers many of the same features Programmable and Push Button Wall Timers have. It also has the ability to link to and control other INSTEON devices, all of which can be managed from your wireless network via the INSTEON Hub. The INSTEON Hub is capable of programming devices, such as the KeypadLinc Timer for a scheduled amount of time, or multiple INSTEON devices, creating scenes and timed events for your entire home over a specified amount of time.
Programmable Wall Timers
A Programmable Wall Timer can typically manage multiple events per day for a device's operating time - extending up to 24 hours a day and up to seven days a week. There are also solar based functionality built into many of these timers that will automatically turn lights on or off based on the sunrise and sunset. These Wall Timers offer many options and are designed to handle complicated schedules as well as to better management of a home's appliances, pumps, motors, and other devices.
Push Button Timer Switches
Easy to install and affordable with basic controls, Push Button Timer Switches have multiple physical buttons that can be pushed to give you a specific amount of time that a device will operate for. These switches have timings that range from 5 minutes up to 12 hours and can be used to automatically shut off lights, spas, heaters, ceiling fans, bathroom vans, and many other devices.
Wall Timers with Occupancy Sensors
These unique timers feature an integrated sensor that utilizes passive infrared (PIR) technology. It senses movement and turns on the attached lights, heater, fan, or other devices when someone enters the room. When the sensor no longer detects movement the attached device shuts off. The onboard timer can delay shutting off a device from 15 seconds to 15 minutes. An added feature of timers is that an ambient-light override (typically a photocell sensor) prevents lights from being turned on when there is sufficient daylight available. This feature helps to save money making these timers even more efficient than other types of wall timers. Occupancy sensors are available in different colors, some able to control multiple loads, and work in three way applications.
Spring Wound Timers
A Spring Wound Timer is a low cost and simple solution with easy installation and basic control. The timer's knob is twisted to a desired run time allowing the mechanical design to break the circuit at the end of the timing cycle specified, which then turns off the attached device. There are many different Spring Wound Timer solutions available with different time increments ranging from 15 minutes up to 24 hours. The main advantage of these switches is that they are typically easy to wire and do not need to be programmed.