Is It Time to Upgrade Your Lighting Control?

Flickering lights, malfunctioning keypads, LED incompatibility— is it time to upgrade or replace your outdated home lighting control systems?

Over the last couple of years, several automated lighting control systems have encountered failures due to incompatibility with current LED technologies and other advances in home automation. Systems like Vantage QLink, Colorado VNet, LiteTouch and older generation Lutron systems are coming to their end of life and need either full replacement or an upgrade to continue working.

Keep reading for next steps if you think your home is ready for an update.  

home lighting system

First, A Brief History of Lighting Control

Automated lighting control first emerged on the home technology scene a little more than 20 years ago. In Colorado, first-adopter companies like Residential Systems, Inc.designed and installed the first complex home automation systems using cutting edge technology.  

At the time, these systems—Vantage QLink, LiteTouch, Colorado VNet, and Lutron HomeWorks and RadioRA—revolutionized the way homeowners interacted with their surroundings.

Lutron was one of the first on the market in 1990 when they revolutionized the industry with NeTwork, the very first whole-home lighting control system. This system networked all of the home’s dimmers and switches, which could be controlled individually and from remote panels.

Revolution came again in 1997 with the release of Lutron’s RadioRA, the first two-way radio frequency whole-home lighting control system. Once RadioRA hit the market, it quickly became the gold standard of automated lighting control.

During this era of first-generation automated lighting control, many forward-thinking Colorado homeowners were early adopters. Today, those same homeowners are encountering problems with systems reaching their end of life. This leaves users with the options of updating or completely replacing their systems in order to avoid complete and irreparable failure.

What Does a Home Lighting System Failure Look Like?

Symptoms like flickering lights, intermittent control, and malfunctioning keypads are the first signs that your lighting system is breaking down. Your system will reach ultimate failure when your system completely shuts down, leaving you and your family in the dark.

When it comes time to replace or upgrade your system, here are a few of your options:

  • Colorado V-Net is no longer in business. Homeowners can’t get parts to fix the outdated systems and should begin looking at options for an upgrade before the system fails completely. Fortunately, there are a number of options for these Homeowners including systems with newer, more advanced technologies like Lutron Homeworks QS or Control4 lighting
  • LiteTouch is no longer in business, as well. Similar to Colorado V-Net, homeowners can’t get the parts or processors necessary to fix these systems when they fail.  Homeowners with a LiteTouch system should begin looking at options for upgrade before the system fails completely.
  • For homeowners who had an original Lutron HomeWorks or Lutron RadioRA system, the solution is a relatively simple processor upgrade and reprogramming of the system to.  A few additional parts may be needed but the path to an upgrade for these systems is relatively straightforward and simple.
  • People with older Vantage systems like Qlink should look at an upgrade for additional functionality. An upgrade will also allow the Vantage system to handle LED loads and use more intuitive devices. Depending on your current needs, a Vantage upgrade or full replacement could be the right solution.

Don’t wait until it’s too late. Know your options and get a plan in place for a replacement. Contact us today at (303) 277-9983 for a free consultation.

lighting control system

Upgrade to a New Lighting Automation System

Today’s next-generation lighting control systems provide an even higher level of functionality than their predecessors. Lutron is the leader in the industry with the most robust platform of products that can fit into any size home, meet most budgets, and can be retrofitted into almost any existing home.

Lutron’s Current Product Offerings

RadioRA 2

  • Expanded wireless whole-home lighting control
  • Supports up to 200 devices (homeowners can start with one room and easily expand into others)
  • Utilizes backlit, custom engraved keypads, customized scene control, and the full line of Lutron wireless shades
  • Works with Lutron wired and wireless occupancy/vacancy sensors

HomeWorks QS

  • Most advanced, luxury whole home system
  • Supports up to 10,000 devices
  • Offers the most keypad style and color options, as well as customized keypads
  • Hidden panels eliminate dimmers and switches on the wall
  • Works with Lutron thermostats for HVAC control
  • New Palladiom keypads add a luxury look and feel to the lighting system

Ready to redesign or replace your lighting system?

With more than 30 years of experience installing, repairing and replacing lighting control systems, Residential Systems Inc. has the knowledge, expertise, and longevity in the market to ensure peace of mind. When you work with us you get 1. A system from a company like Lutron that won’t go out of business anytime soon, 2. Unmatched customer service, exceptional installation, and customer support for the life of the system.

We have replaced dozens of outdated systems with state-of-the-art Lutron Homeworks, and know exactly what you need for a seamless transition.


Contact us today to set up a free, in-home consultation, and let us light up your life.

Savant vs. Control4 vs. Crestron For Today’s Smart Home. Which is Right For You?

Three years ago, we wrote a post—Savant vs. Control4—comparing the benefits of our top two whole home automation systems. Since then, it has consistently been one of the most visited pages on our site, earning more than 10,000 pageviews from across the globe.

The question “which control system is right for me” is a question asked by nearly every client who walks through our door. Each time our answer is pretty simple: It Depends On What You’re Looking For. Keep reading for details.

Advances in Whole Home Automation

Since publishing our original post, both Control4 and Savant have advanced dramatically, and continue to be world-class products. We also recently added a third whole home automation system to our lineup: Crestron.

With all of the changes, we decided it was time to take a fresh look at these three smart home automation platforms in an effort to help our clients make the decision that is best for them.

An Overview of Control4, Savant, and Crestron

Control4 Savant Crestron
  • Over a decade on the home automation market
  • Lower price points than Savant or Crestron
  • Offers a wide breadth of capabilities including Audio, Video, Lighting, Climate, Security and more
  • Easily integrates with 3rd party devices including Sonos, Nest, Chamberlain garage doors, and Lutron lighting control systems
  • Singular, intuitive user interface
  • Elegant user experience

home automation systems

  • Apple-based products that focus on user experience
  • Extremely reliable, user friendly platform
  • Allows users to define and set “scenes” without reprogramming the software, integration is not required
  • Customizable to suit your lifestyle

  • Over three decades on the home automation market
  • Features complex systems including video distribution, audio conferencing, access control and more
  • High level of integration with simplified control
  • Perfect for commercial spaces
  • Perfect for larger homes with multiple televisions
  • Robust, comprehensive, customizable solutions
  • Ability to build on what already exists, often refreshing and re-programming the software to better leverage the value

Truly integrated solutions

Control4 vs. Savant vs. Crestron: Which One is Right for You?

Asking us to pick our favorite control system is like asking us which of our kids we like better. We like all of them for different reasons.

home automation systemsControl4: Entry-level platform, approachable price point, flexible, integrates with an array of 3rd party devices.

Savant: Mid-level price point, extensive customization options, better user experience.

Crestron: Most robust and customizable solution, ideal for complex integration, higher-end price point.







A few more differences between the platforms:


  • Integrates with more 3rd party devices than any of the other platform including: Nest, Sonos, smart locks, smart thermostats and other “Internet of Things” devices.
  • As close to an “out of the box” product as you can get. This allows for quick installation and systems that can be deployed in minutes, versus weeks.
  • Offers an on-screen display, allowing our clients to control their audio and video experience straight from their television.
  • The only platform that allows you to use the TV as a navigation tool.
  • The leading choice for retrofit projects due to its Zigbee wireless capabilities. This allows our clients to take advantage of home technology without rewiring the home.


  • A favorite among Apple fans.
  • Easy to install and very easy to modify.
  • Allows users the ability to customize and set “scenes” themselves.
  • The most reliable system on the market. Requires the least amount of maintenance and technical support.
  • Requires professional installation and wiring. It is the most popular choice for new construction in the Denver area.


  • The ultimate ability in customization, integration and luxury features. As such, it generally requires some level of personalized programming. When done well, this can be a key benefit. When done poorly, it can make system operations challenging.
  • Ideal choice for a select clients but, for those select few, it is the ONLY choice. If you want to customize the user experience, this is the right platform for you.
  • Ideal choice for large properties and quasi commercial environments.

Making The Decision

When people ask me “Which system do you prefer.” I tell them the following:

  1. I like all of them. At RSI, we only represent the best in custom integration so we wouldn’t install a product that we didn’t believe in.
  2. The system you select is less important than who installs it for you. Find a reliable systems integrator you can count on. A poorly installed Crestron system will function much worse than a well-installed Control4 system, regardless of price.
  3. Play with the user interface and figure out which one you like best. That’s more important than the brand. You’ll use the interfaces everyday so make sure you come to our office and try them all out.
  4. If it tells you anything, I (along with several RSI employees) have a Savant system in my own house. That said, many of the other employees at RSI have Control4 as well. 

The beauty of supporting all three platforms is that we have a solution to fit every client’s needs. We believe in giving our clients a choice when it comes to control system and budget. By bringing together these best-in-class platforms, we are able to offer clients a solution that will meet their needs at a price point that fits their budget.

For help figuring out which system is right for you, give us a call, visit our web site or schedule an appointment at our Design Studio.

How To Hide Your TV

For decades, design savvy homeowners have been struggling with the best way to hide their TV. Remember your mom’s “entertainment center”?

These days we have ultra thin, ultra large, cutting edge video technologies plus devices that are designed to fit any space of your home—theater, shower, kitchen, backyard. The oversized “entertainment center” no longer makes sense. So how do you enjoy stunning picture quality and rapid streaming without compromising your style? Keep reading for a lineup of ideas and design inspiration.

Disguise Your TV

One of our favorite new technologies enables you to disguise your TV as artwork or a mirror. Choose from a wide variety of styles, frames, sizes, and image overlays (including custom) for a TV that transforms into an elegant design detail when off.

Seura Vanity

FrameMy TV

Take a look at our online FrameMy TV Configurator. It allows you to input your TV model, TV size, wall color, and preferred disguise—and then visualize what it will look like in your space. Try with different mirror styles, frames, artwork, or a personal image. The tool also includes estimated budget and allows you to save, print, and/or share your design. Click through to design your display.

Vanishing TV’s

New vanishing vanity TV mirrors by Seura enable you to watch the news while brushing your teeth, and then have the image disappear entirely when not in use.

Waterproof TV’s

The latest generation of waterproof TV’s can be installed beneath kitchen cabinets, framed by tile in the shower, or installed on your patio. Take your viewing experience into new places without making every room feel like a home theater.  
Seura Shower

Hide Your TV

If you don’t mind seeing the TV but don’t want it as a focal point, thoughtful design and professional installation can help soften the look of a screen. Consider tucking it into a bookshelf or placing it on a dark wall. Click through for more tips and ideas from Houzz: “How to Hide the TV, No Cabinet Required.”

Seura Art Tv


If you’re planning a new home, device installation can be seamlessly incorporated into the building process, giving you a wide array of options and simplifying the process. If you’re looking to upgrade your TV or better disguise the one you already own, professional system design, wiring and installation will ensure that you get the most out of your video technologies without making them the centerpiece of every room.

Apple vs. Ruckus – What Do You Want from your WiFi?

Connectivity is a highly valued aspect of our modern lifestyle, meaning a reliable wireless connection has made its way from nicety to necessity. But what is the right equipment for you and your family?

That depends on what you’re looking for, and how you expect your needs to change in the coming years. Are you looking for something simple, affordable, and easily installed? Or do you rely on a high degree of connectivity, making use of that home office and streaming videos while your kids play games in the next room?

internet connectivity


If you are looking for something minimal, yet functional, Apple Airport Express offers a simple home wireless solution that provides good wireless coverage in smaller homes (up to 2,000 square feet) requiring only one wireless access point, and integrates effectively with an array of devices. At Residential Systems Inc., we regularly install these devices for basic home internet users.

If you are looking for something more robust, Ruckus Wireless offers an enterprise grade solution designed for businesses and equipped to manage the rapidly expanding network of devices within the home. With the fastest wireless signal on the market, seamless handoff capabilities, and state-of-the-art security; Ruckus is our recommendation for the more connected home user.

There are THREE PRIMARY CONSIDERATIONS in choosing the right wireless system for you:

  • The number of devices in your home
  • The size of your home or coverage area
  • Your lifestyle


A family of four likely has four cell phones, four laptops, a few tablets, and, in 2016, an average of 2-6 additional devices (smart tv, wireless printer, etc.). Additionally, if you have or plan to incorporate  smart home technologies—the number increases dramatically.

How might this number change?

A recent study on the expansion of “connected things” predicted that we will reach 20.8 billion “connected things” globally by 2020, up from 6.4 billion in 2016 (Gartner, November 2015).

What does this mean? Smart home technologies are likely in your future: lighting control, temperature control, home security, locks, kitchen devices, health devices, wearables, etc. This translates to increased demand on your wireless connection.

Choose Apple Airport Express If

  • You intend to maintain a fairly small collection of wireless connected devices (approximately ten or less) within the home

Choose Ruckus Wireless If

  • You have approximately 10+ wireless connected devices in your home and are looking to incorporate new smart home technologies



Ruckus Wireless

We recommend having one access point (AP) per 2,000 sq ft. Apple’s Airport Express works well for a smaller home, but leads to gaps in coverage as the span of internet access increases. This problem can’t truly be solved by adding additional access points as the devices are not designed to communicate effectively.

Ruckus’ Seamless Continuity

Ruckus devices are designed to work together: as you transition away from a given access point, it is able to track your movement and transfer your wireless connection to a new access point without any disruption in the signal.

Ruckus offers the added benefit of a “zone-director” (also called the “air-traffic-controller”). This device functions as a critical point to ensure that all access points are online and behaving correctly at any given time, increasing both the security and reliability of your wireless system.

Are you interested in outdoor coverage?

Ruckus’ outdoor access points also enable you to install an outdoor theatre system at the edge of your property; or perhaps take your laptop into the garden; or even install a home security system that allows you to check in on your property from anywhere in the world. As of now, Apple Airport Express APs cannot be installed outdoors.

Choose Apple Airport Express If

  • Your home is <2,000 sq ft
  • You don’t need outdoor access
  • A comprehensive home security system is not in your immediate future

Choose Ruckus Wireless If

  • Your home and/or property is >2,000 sq ft
  • You want outdoor access
  • You have or would like to install a home security system in the near future


Control4 Lifestyle

An easily relatable visual is to consider devices as cars, and your wireless technology as the road. A more robust connection is like a wider road, allowing more cars to pass through at a much faster rate. Now, imagine the opposite.

How much traffic do you create?

Consider how you use wireless within the home. Is your home office in use while others are also online? Are you streaming movies in the bedroom while your kids are streaming games next door? If you’re wireless usage is frequently high volume, you may require a more robust solution.

Are you an “early adopter”?

Both Apple and Ruckus integrate well with most devices. Emerging technology, however, requires larger capacity with stronger send and receive power. Ruckus R500 series’ 2×2 antenna configuration is designed to efficiently manage the newest technologies.

Choose Apple Airport Express If

  • You are generally only streaming on one device at any given time
  • You don’t require a wireless system that is compatible with all new technologies

Choose Ruckus Wireless If

  • You often have more than 1 device streaming at the same time (eg: your movie and your child’s game)
  • You consider yourself to be an “early adopter” of the newest technologies

The Solution, Ruckus vs. Apple?

If you are a basic internet user, Apple’s Airport Express is likely sufficient for your needs. If, however, you have a more complex internet environment, we highly recommend Ruckus Wireless.

Residential Systems Inc. has deployed dozens of systems throughout Colorado since partnering with Ruckus over a year ago; customers who’ve adopted Ruckus Wireless have been resoundingly happy with their decision. If you feel you might be exceeding the capacity of your current wireless system, contact us for a free consultation. We can help!

Control4 vs Lutron: Lighting Control Within Reach

When it comes to automated lighting systems, the options can seem endless, but finding the system that works for you provides the ultimate in convenience.

Consider this: With the touch of a button (or in some cases a programmed setting), you can adjust the ambiance in a room, light up the driveway when returning home, turn off every light in the house as you go to bed, and control the blinds to reduce energy waste.

To give you an overview of the automated lighting options available, let’s compare the top two brands: Control4 and Lutron. Each system offers flexibility and convenience but, by comparing their features against your needs, you can determine which system is right for your home.


lighting control


No Need to Retrofit or Rewire

Lutron has been the world leader in lighting control systems for more than 60 years with good reason. Using patented wireless technology, this company allows you to install a whole-home lighting control system without retrofitting or rewiring your home.

Seamless Control

With Lutron, all of the lights within your home can be seamlessly controlled both in-home and out using a broad array of devices: keypad, remote control,, iPad, iPhone, Android, etc.

Unlimited Options, Designed to Your Specifications

lighting control


Lutron approaches in-home lighting from a holistic fashion, incorporating window treatments, lighting devices, and seasonal shifts to engineer the perfect lighting design for any situation while saving energy and time.

Take a moment to consider all of the light sources in your living room alone.  Now imagine having the flexibility to adjust each element individually from the comfort of your couch. Find a combination you like? Set it as a “scene” so it can be easily recreated. As the masters of ambiance, Lutron makes it easy for you to create and/or pre-set lighting designs to match your activity, your mood, and your company. The controls are in your hands.

Reduce Energy Costs

Lutron’s streamlined user interface allows you to see and adjust all of the lights that are on at any given time. Their solar-adaptive shading software can further reduce energy costs by tackling much of the daytime lighting control for you, bringing in soft, natural light while reducing the need for artificial light.

The Perks of Geofencing

Lutron’s new Geofencing capabilities enhance the customization and convenience of automated lighting systems by enabling you to design action triggers based on the movements within and around your home. Here are just a few examples of how this might come in handy:

  • Select indoor and outdoor lights turn on as you arrive home
  • Shades close and lights dim when the house is empty
  • You are notified if lights are still on when you leave the house

Lutron is…

Precision. Flexibility. Ambiance. Responsive. Streamlined. Lighting Focused.


Control4 Lifestyle

Flexible Install

Control4 is a newer company in the field of automated lighting systems but is backed by years in complementary smart home technologies. A Control4 automated lighting system can be installed either during construction or after (wireless), allowing homeowners to adopt the technology at various stages in the design process.

Convenient Keypad Control

lighting control


All Control4 smart home technologies function through the Control4 platform, an operating system that allows you to cohesively manage your home’s “internet of things” through a simple user interface accessible across multiple devices.

Adjust your lighting with the touch of a button using sleek wall mounted or wireless keypads (a favorite amongst Control4 users); the Control4 user interface on your TV or tablet; or the Control4 mobile application.

Expansive Compatibility

With the Control4 automated lighting system, you can dim virtually any type of light, large or small, interior or exterior, incandescent or LED. They offer a continuously expanding list of third-party compatible lighting fixtures so it is easy to identify which devices can or can’t be used with the Control4 technology.

Match your Mood

Control4 Lifestyle

Like Lutron, the Control4 Lighting System gives you the freedom to adjust ambiance without dealing with the “which lightswitch?” fumble. While Lutron offers more flexibility in crafting the perfect lighting design for your specific mood, Control4 offers users the option of incorporating audio control into their keypads.

What does this mean? One button could simultaneously dim the lights and turn on soft music. Or, set up the inverse as an automated alarm clock: bright lights and loud music. Control4 also makes it easy to incorporate timers and motion sensors into your lighting design—a quick way to boost convenience and security while decreasing energy costs.

Adaptive Technology

Control4 Lifestyle

Want to adjust the overall lighting system? It is both straightforward and convenient to tweak your lighting design…yourself. No complicated re-programming required.

Lower Costs

Control4 was founded in 2003 with the mission “to deliver an elegant and more affordable way to control and automate lighting, music, video, security and energy in a single room or throughout the entire home.” On average, a Control4 lighting system will cost approximately 10% less than a Lutron system, providing a homeowner with substantial cost savings

Control4 is…

Cohesive. Elegant. User Friendly. Lower Cost. Integrative Technology.

Control4 Chilterns

What are you looking for in an automated lighting system?

For each of the following options, consider which benefit is more important to your needs.

  • A whole home automated lighting system OR an automated lighting system spanning select areas
  • Higher costs with a higher level of flexibility OR lower costs with a lower level of flexibility
  • A platform uniquely tailored to your lighting needs OR a broad platform that integrates with other smart home technologies
  • Low-level user interaction/broad span of options vs. high-level user interaction/simple user interface

If your answers were more closely aligned with the first option in each of the questions above, we might recommend Lutron. If you tend to prefer the second option, Control4 might be the better choice for your needs. Either way, you can’t go wrong with an automated lighting system in your home.

Which is Right for You?

When selecting an automated lighting system, take some time to decide what features are most important to you, and how you want those to interact with your control devices. A system that feels intuitive and comprehensive will save you time and frustration, and will allow you to make sure that your home is always a “welcome home” for you and your loved ones.

If you’re looking to transform your lighting or looking for whole home automation and don’t know where to start, check out our “Getting Started” checklist.  Better yet—Call us to set up a free in-home consultation where we can guide you through the process. Our team of experts can design a lighting that works for your lifestyle. Give us a call at (303) 277-9983.

5 Ways to Make Your House Smarter, Inside and Out

Smart home technology is changing the way people interact with their homes. From simple devices, to whole-home automation systems, the latest innovations promise to make everyday living easier, more comfortable and more efficient.

But what does a smart home actually look like? Let us take you on a quick tour.

The Kitchen

smarter home


The kitchen is the heart of the home, and the perfect place to kick off our technology tour. Sure, state-of-the-art appliances are a must, but the way to really turn your kitchen into a family haven is to add automated lighting and music to the mix.

With automation systems like Savant and Control4, you can create the perfect mood with one touch on a keypad.

Need to get the kids up and energized in the morning? Open the shades, turn up the lights, and cue top 40 music. Ready to kick back and relax with a glass of wine and your friends? Close the shades, dim the lights, and cue a little Adele in the background.

All with the touch of a single button.

Sounds fun right?

The Bathroom


smarter home


Forget the bluetooth speaker in the corner and the mini TV perched next to the bathroom sink. Today’s smart bathroom technology includes in-mirror TVs from Seura; you can catch up on the news while brushing your teeth. Want shower tunes? Hidden speakers from Sonance provide enveloping surround sound to wake up your body and mind. Time to wind down? Seura’s waterproof TVs allow you to watch your favorite movie while soaking in the tub. 

How’s that for stepping up your wash room time?

The Bedroom

We all know the value of a good night’s sleep. Smart bedroom technologies allow you to tuck in without the late night walk through. Today’s technology gives you the option of installing a “goodnight” button to dim the bedroom lights, automatically close the shades, arm the security system, and turn off any lighting or entertainment devices throughout the rest of the house.

If you are the type to hit your snooze button a few too many times in a row, you can pre-program your lights, shades and music to turn on at a certain time. Now no one has an excuse to be late for school (or work).

The Living Room

Make family movie night at home feel like a night out at the theater. Using Control4 or Savant controls for lighting and climate, transform your living room into a cool, dark, night-out experience. With the touch of a single button you can lower the lights, choose your favorite blockbuster, and adjust the temperature all from the comfort of your couch. Now kick back with some homemade, buttery popcorn and enjoy the magic of the movies right at home.

The Backyard

Make the outdoors as comfortable as the indoors. Recreate the stadium experience or an open-air theatre with a big screen outdoor TV from Seura. Touch a button on your smartphone to turn on your fire pit and enjoy the sunset. Or, program the outdoor lights to turn on as the sun dips behind the hills. Time to get the party going? An outdoor surround sound system will take your outdoor entertaining to a whole new level.

A smart home equals better living. And the best part? Each of these systems can be installed separately or easily integrated together throughout the home.

If you’re looking to turn your house into a smart home and don’t know where to start, check out our “Getting Started” checklist.

We also offer a free in-home consultation. Our team of experts can design a system that works for your lifestyle. Give us a call at (303) 277-9983.


Let’s Talk About Sonos DIY Installation vs. The Professionals

Music lovers listen up! We’re going to tell you a little bit about Sonos, one of the world’s leading smart speaker, sound, and music streaming systems.

You have probably heard about this incredible smart speaker system that can stream music in any room, or every room, and gives you control of all of the music in the world, with one app. Even more, the Sonos speaker system provides clear, immersive sound like you have never heard before.

What do we mean by all the music in the world? Enjoy your personal library, as well as all of your favorite services like Pandora, Spotify, siriusXM, Apple Music, Rhapsody, iHeartRadio, and more. Play digital music from up to 16 PC, Macs, phones, tablets, and even storage devices on your home network.


Sonos Lifestyle

Now, let’s talk about installation. There is a lot of content out there about DIY installation vs. having a professional come in and configure your system for you. The bottom line? You always want a professional. Not convinced? Keep reading.


Though Sonos DIY installation is possible, working with a professional installer is the best way to make sure you get the most out of your system. Professional installers can make sure your speakers are hidden from view so they don’t take up precious counter space. We will also set up your system for proper amplification, giving you the sound quality you have been dreaming of. This can’t be achieved through DIY installation unless you really know what you are doing.

Sonos Works With Other Devices


The beauty of home technology is the ability for different devices to talk to each other. Sonos can sync with different smart home systems such as Savant and Control4. A professional can add a Sonos Connect to an existing whole house sound or automated system. This can open up a wide range of streaming content with only one additional device. We’ll make sure everything is connected to the wireless network so you worry less about connectivity and more on which song you’re going to enjoy next.

Wired vs. Wireless Streaming



Wireless isn’t always the best option. Signals can cut in and out making your system not work properly. As professional integrators, we know how to design and wire sound systems while keeping the aesthetics of your home’s design.

We’ll Walk You Through It

Sonos LifestyleThe streaming content world is a crowded space with many options and services to navigate. Once your system is in place, we can can give you easy system training and support. Working with a professional will give you a better understanding of what is available plus the pros and cons of different services, such as free vs. paid music streaming.

Sonos does provide a good support department, but you’ll benefit from an integrator walking you through your new system. We want you to have a thorough understanding of your audio setup so you feel comfortable navigating through your music.

If you’re considering installing a Sonos whole home audio system. Give us a call for a free in-home consultation, 303-277-9983.


Smart Home Security for Your Vacation Home

As Coloradans, we escape to the mountains just about every chance we get, and having a second home in the high country is a dream for many. However, when that dream home becomes a reality, many homeowners aren’t aware of how much work it takes to properly care for a vacation home. Supervising your retreat isn’t always easy and convenient, but that doesn’t mean it’s impossible.

Snow piles up, pipes burst during colder temperatures, and there’s no way of knowing if the person you paid to clear your driveway is actually fulfilling their end of the deal. It might not be possible to visit your home to check up on it, but with today’s home automation systems it’s easy to keep an eye on it.

Keeping an Eye Out

C4 Wall IntercomThe first thing on your list for taking care of your home should be a surveillance system. Keeping an eye on the house is easier than ever with remote access to security cameras. Place one camera facing towards the driveway and one on the front entrance. Before you even pull into the driveway you’ll know how the house looks (i.e. if the driveway has been cleared) while you were away.

Go Keyless

vacation home

Yale keyless entry

Keyless entry is a great way to secure your home, with the ability to assign individual codes for each person in the house—including contractors, house keepers, electricians, etc.—and monitor who is coming and going. You can also receive alerts on your phone each time the door is unlocked and who used their code. Plus, you can use your smartphone to unlock the door before you step out of the car.

Avoid “Little Surprises” 

C4 Apple Watch

A major concern when owning a mountain home is the safety of the house itself. You don’t want to arrive ready for vacation only to discover a pipe burst and your basement is flooded. Avoid these “little surprises” by setting up in-home alerts that can be sent straight to your smartphone if something goes wrong, giving you a chance to head it off before things get worse. There’s even the possibility to have your home alert the fire department or automatically shut off the water or a gas leak.

Remote Access

For the ultimate peace of mind, control and monitor your entire home from your smartphone or tablet with the press of a button. Take control of your thermostat so the house is comfortable before you arrive, save on energy bills by automating your lights. Give the house a lived-in look by controlling the lights at the front door and driveway to ward off intruders. Having access to your home while you’re away gives you added comfort of knowing everything is taken care of.

If you’re looking to update the security of your vacation home give us a call for a free in-home consultation, 303-277-9983.

Control4 vs. Savant for Today’s Smart Home

At Residential Systems, Inc. one of the most common questions our clients ask us is “What are the major differences between Control4 and Savant and which should I use in my house?”  As authorized dealers for both of these world-class products, this can be a very difficult question to answer.  I joke with our clients that, when it comes to Savant vs. Control4, it is sort of like picking which of my kids do I like the best!  Fortunately, I love both of my kids and at Residential Systems, Inc. we feel the same way about Savant and Control4!

Both Savant and Control4 have revolutionized the home automation and smart home landscapes for our clients.  Control4 is the more seasoned of the two companies, having been around for many years and recently becoming a public company.  Control4 recognized a major shift in smart-home technology and capitalized on this by making their products available to a broader marketplace through more reasonable pricing.  Savant, the newer of the two companies, has strongly leveraged their partnership with Apple to gain momentum in the last few years.  Since the invention of the iPad, Savant has grown tremendously and has made smart home technology more appealing to the mass market.

Let’s take a closer look at the strengths of each company:


Savant Lounge

Strengths of Savant

  • Apple-based system is familiar to most consumers
  • Easy integration with client iTunes libraries for whole-house audio distribution and movie downloads
  • Carrier-grade switching equipment for audio switching, HDMI switching, etc…
  • Easy ability to integrate with other world-class smart-home products including Lutron, Vantage, HAI and others
  • The whole house is easily accessible from your iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch

At Residential Systems, Inc. we tend to recommend Savant in applications where quality is of utmost importance to our clients or where the clients are self-described “Mac People.”  For example—Savant’s HDMI switching products are some of the best in the world so if a client is particular about that, we will recommend Savant.  Our clients recognize that they pay a premium price for that, but they also recognize that they get incredible quality, as well.  Additionally, if our clients are very comfortable with the Apple operating system (and already have their content housed in iTunes, etc…) Savant is the more seamless approach for usability and functionality.  We also tend to recommend Savant for clients in the Colorado mountain communities (Aspen, Breckenridge, Telluride, Vail, etc…) as the remote management capabilities give us the ability to troubleshoot issues remotely, potentially saving our clients a service call.


Control4 Lifestyle

Strengths of Control4

  • Control4’s products are available at lower price points, enabling clients to do more with their budget
  • Control4 offers a full line of automation products including thermostats and lighting control under one umbrella.  This makes integration incredibly simple and quick!
  • Control4’s handheld remote control is one of the best we have ever used.  It is intuitive and rarely fails.
  • Control4 offers an Android application for those users who prefer Android over the Apple Operating System
  • A large majority of the Control4 product line-up can be installed wirelessly, making it very easy to use in retrofit environments

At Residential Systems, Inc. we tend to use Control4 in applications where price/budget is more of a consideration.  While Control4 can do many of the same things that Savant can do, the interface is very different.  It is extremely intuitive and the on-screen display make it very easy for clients to control their entire home from their TV, iPad or Android device.

Which One is For You?

At the end of the day, this decision boils down to customer preference and perceived value.  For clients who value an integrated home-automation system with high functionality, Savant presents a more “luxurious” option.  For clients who want the ability to control their entire home and not break the bank, Control4 presents a wonderful option.

If you are thinking about adding Control4 or Savant to your Denver smart home, here are some questions you should ask yourself as you prepare to make that decision:

  • What is the budget I have for this project?  This is probably the most important question to ask yourself so that you can be prepared for the trade-offs that will be necessary if the scope exceeds your budget.
  • What do I want to control?  Is this a relatively simple Audio/Video control or do I want to integrate other technologies like climate control, lighting control, security, cameras, motorized shades, etc…
  • What type of technology am I comfortable with today?  If you are an “Apple Zealot,” Savant may present a better solution for you and your family.

At Residential Systems, Inc., we are proud to be dealers for both of these companies, as well as many more.  By offering our clients a full line-up of smart home solutions, we can meet any need and operate under any budget.

To learn more about Savant, Control4 or other smart home technologies, stop by our showroom or contact us today!