Design & DIY

3 light switches that will make life easier at the cottage

Photo by Christopher Sciacca/Shutterstock

1. Anywhere switch
A light that was once turned off and on by only one switch can be controlled by an extra, “anywhere” switch (about $40). The new light switch communicates by radio signal with a controller at the original switch. It’s like adding a threeway switch but with no rewiring.
WHERE In spaces with two entrances, such as stairwells, garages, or decks; or next to a bed, so you can turn the light on without getting up—or clapping.
WHY Convenience. As in, it’s not convenient to trip over the rug next to the bed or fall down the stairs because the light is off.

2. Humidity-sensing switch
A sensor turns on an exhaust fan when the moisture level is high and turns it off when the room is moisture free.
WHERE An exhaust fan and humidity-sensing switch (about $40) are obviously helpful for bathrooms with a shower and a family that forgets to run the fan, but consider the same combo in a crawl space that’s occasionally damp.
WHY The fan helps prevent mould, while the switch saves power when the fan’s not needed. No more accidentally leaving it on all week.

3. Motion-sensing switch
There are two kinds ($20–$30 each)—occupancy-sensing switches turn on when they detect movement and off when they don’t; vacancy sensors must be switched on manually, but they turn off automatically when no one’s there.
WHERE Entrances—where your hands are often full —or places where you can’t always reach the switch, such as a dim boathouse when you drive the boat in (Bonus: the dock spiders know you’re coming).
WHY Avoid trip-and-fall accidents. Low-cost way to save money, add light automation, and control light pollution.

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