In the past, there was a distinct separation of domestic and commercial products. But as the internet has equalised us and allowed us to scale our service options, we can now get lots of those products at home. So yes, it is possible to have electrical shutters in your home, and it won’t cost you an arm and a leg. It’s actually a pretty simple fix, and your shutter supplier can install it in a few hours. It offers convenience, but you have to be careful. Your electric roller shutters are operated by remote and just like the TV or garage door remote, it will start to ‘hide’ when you most need it. Consider using a wall-mounted remote for easy location.
There are two options when you want to motorise your roller shutters. You can call in the original supplier or your local electrician, and they can upgrade your manual system to an automated one. Or two, you can buy shutters that have a motorised option built it. You can’t always tell just by looking, so be sure to ask. When you make your shutter system automatic though, be sure you enable a manual fail-safe. We don’t get too many blackouts in Australia, but you never know.
Always have back-up
Besides, weather and bush fire can cut off your power source, and you don’t want to be stuck with inoperable shutters on top of all the other problems that come with disconnected electricity. Also, it helps to note that any shutter system can be motorised, regardless of your brand. So even if you’re no longer in touch with your original supplier, you can call an electrical service and they will come motorise your shutters. Somfy is a good example. The even have an app, so you can work your shutters on your phone.
When you enable Somfy software, you can put your shutters on a timer so they open and close at will, even when you’re not at home. It’s a good way to make potential ‘visitors’ think you’re home. And even if they’re casing your place and aren’t convinced by your tech toys, (motorised) shutters can’t be opened from the outside, so it’s an added security measure. No break-ins, no clambering rodents, and no teens sneaking in past curfew. And don’t worry about power usage – electric shutters are quite energy efficient. If you like, you could add other services, like automated curtains and awnings – they retract on a schedule.
YouTube videos and instructionals (WikiHow, Instructables, How Stuff Works, Tasty) should be taken with a mine of salt. It looks really easy and do-able in five minutes, but that probably involved a lot of re-takes. The back-fired bits were chopped off and the usable scenes were spliced together to make everything look easy-peasy. It’s not impossible though, if you have patience and are good with your hands. There are pretty detailed tutorials on how to motorise your own shutters using a makeshift bike chain mechanism. Test it on a smaller model first, before you apply it to your window roller shutters.
Also, remember that your home insurance probably doesn’t cover this, and that workers’ comp doesn’t extend to tinkering home-owners. If you’re a renter, any damage you do will influence your lease, so think long and hard before you take up this project yourself. On the other hand, if your (nice) in-laws work in construction, you might get a family discount and pay then in barbie and beer. Make sure these are relatives that like you though, or they may deliberately botch the job, and that could cause relationship problems bigger than anything your insurance company or landlord could anticipate …