May 3, 2018

A New England family uses automation to add security and comfort to their home.

LOCATION: Manchester, New Hampshire // DEALER: Complete AV // PHOTOGRAPHY: Jim Stone
For any family, the best feeling in the world is of being protected at home, and today, homeowners are using smart home technology to make their homes safer than ever. In a picturesque neighborhood outside Manchester in southern New Hampshire, one busy family of four is just beginning to enjoy the added layers of security their home automation system gives them—as well as more than a few unexpected upgrades in comfort and convenience.
Both parents in this family are fairly tech-savvy, so when they were building their new home, they knew they wanted to incorporate home automation. Their architect called in Complete AV for the install. Above all else, the owners wanted to make the home secure. Beyond that, they weren’t sure what a smart home system could deliver. So the Complete AV team knew a flexible Control4 system was the way to go. “These customers didn’t know 100 percent what they wanted, so we used Control4 to build a system that could be added upon easily as the family settles into the home and realizes the full potential of their system,” notes Complete AV owner Jason Hillard.
Today, the robust smart home system features five video zones, 10 audio zones, 60 zones of security, eight security cameras, a full centralized lighting system with 60 lighting loads, some 40 window blinds and four door locks. Despite the variety of branded products, everything works harmoniously on the Control4 system. “It just made good sense for us to go with Control4,” Jason adds. “They’re all certified Control4 partner products, so we know they’re going to work seamlessly.”

LEFT: Every regular visitor has their own entry code, so the owners can keep tabs on who comes and goes on a daily basis. TOP RIGHT: The alarm system covers every door and window in the 4,600-square-foot home. BOTTOM RIGHT: Images from the security camera on the front porch can be viewed on any touch screen or television in the house. 

And, as promised, the house is now super-safe. “We’ve created a very secure home,” notes Rick Hartley, Complete AV owner. The owners can control the house alarm system from any phone, TV or interface in the house. They can trigger the alarm from upstairs if they see something suspicious on a security camera image, which they can view from any TV in the house. Within the home, certain lights go on when those areas of the house are occupied. “The system provides a completely secure barrier around the house,” Rick adds.
Like any home with a garage (and kids), the garage doors are sometimes left open accidentally, which is an obvious security issue, leaving the home open to theft. But here, during a harsh New England winter, leaving a garage door open can also be a costly mistake, as outside cold air can cause pipes to freeze and make a mountain of damage. Fortunately, here there’s an automated fix: LED indicators on the Control4 keypads show the owners if garage doors are open (red light) or closed (green light). “They can just look at a keypad and see the status of their doors,” Rick notes. “In a large house like this, that’s a great time saver.” And at night, the system automatically checks the status of the garage doors at regular intervals and closes them if they are open.
In a family like this one, in which both parents work away from the home, having remote access to the house is key. “They both live a fairly busy lifestyle,” Jason notes. The owners can operate the security cameras, arm or disarm the house or open doors, all from their offices. The system features unique entrance codes for anyone who needs access to the house: grandparents, the nanny, contractors, and landscapers—even the Complete AV team have their own code. When someone enters a door, the owners are alerted by text. Cameras take pictures of the entrance and email a still picture of the visitor, as well. If someone is coming or going, these owners will know as it happens.
And when the entire family goes on vacation, the system stays home and works. If the heat drops below a specified temperature in chilly New Hampshire, the owners get a text at their beachside vacation in Florida, and they can send a repair person to handle it.
But not every feature of this fine system is focused on security—some features just make life easier. One family favorite lets mom and dad get a little extra shut-eye after the wee ones wake up early. At certain times in the morning, the kids can fire up their favorite TV channels like Disney Jr. or Nickelodeon, with one button press on the Control4 Touch Screen in the living room.

With the system complete, Jason and his team are proud of the large number of moving parts and subsystems, all humming smoothly within the Control4 system. “On this project, we got to show off what Control4 can do in a medium to larger-sized home.”
So, the installers are happy. What about the owners? “They love the system,” says Jason. “It’s really awesome,” one of the owners’ remarks. “I love having absolutely no wires anywhere.” They particularly love being able to control everything no matter where they might be, and the support and availability of the install team throughout the process. Some features they thought they’d never use have become great conveniences, like being able to open the third garage door from the kitchen for the frequently visiting grandparents. Even with the constant stream of visitors, everyone can use the system. “Nannies, parents, babysitters, everyone can turn on a TV,” the owner continues. The owners also love the ability to customize the system as they learn it and grow with it. “They can make simple changes themselves, or if we need to get involved, 90 percent of the time we can make the changes remotely,” Jason says.
And so, what started as a basic security system has become much more, but the original goal—and result—remains the same: to increase safety and security for this New Hampshire family, whether they’re home or not. “It totally provides peace of mind,” the owner adds. “I love everything about it.”