Sunday, February 26, 2012

Light switches

I don't know why, but this weekend, the lack of a light switch exactly where I wanted it to be was getting up my craw, so viola, blog post on what I would have done differently had I only known!  I know there are a couple of new Ravenna people out there, so hopefully this is helpful to you as well.

Front Lights

The front porch light switches on where it should - by the front door.  The front lights on the garage are switched on by the garage door.  Which makes sense to a certain degree, but sometimes I want to turn both lights on from the front door!  If I want both sets of lights on (like when people are trying to find my house on a pitch dark December evening), I have to walk my butt all the way to the garage door.  Its just inconvenient (especially on crutches).  Also, when I was growing up we had a pole light at the end of the driveway - kinda wish I had one of those installed too, though nobody else in the neighborhood has one.

Garage Lights

This was the first one I really noticed -  I need a light switch on the inside of the house that turns the interior garage lights on!  As its set up now, I have to open the door, lean my body out over the steps and reach way to the left to hit the light.  To rectify this, BF bought and installed Mr. Beams directly over the door.  Its a battery operated, really bright LED that comes on as soon as we open the door, then switches off after something like 40 seconds of no motion.  Its really cut down on the number of times I curse that light.


Who thought of this terrible system?  The light at the top of the steps flips on a light in the staircase only; the lights to the rest of the basement are at the bottom of the steps.  This works out well, until you get to the top of the steps then realize that you forgot to turn the lights off and have to walk back downstairs to shut them off!  I'm not a lazy person at all, but this is just annoying.  Again, particularly when you are waddling around on crutches.

(wow.  I had more to say on this subject than I thought!  I think there are only 2 more really annoying ones)

Master Bath

The lights for the toilet room (what is that place called?), the master closet and the main lights are all controlled at three separate locations.  I want a light that turns them all on and off at once.  I end up going in there every morning to shut off a bunch of lights.  And how's this for a recurring theme - its a pain (and sometimes dangerous with a wet floor) to crutch back in there to turn off lights.

Upstairs Hallway

There are 3 switches that turn the lights on for the upstairs hallway - one downstairs, one at the top of the steps and one by the master bedroom.  However, if you are hanging out in the guest bathroom or one of the bedrooms over the family room and living room, you'd better take a head lamp with you when you leave because you've got to stumble up or down the end of the hallway to find a light switch.  We don't have kids, but I'd imagine if you had a kid who was scared of the dark, this would be a problem, even with a nightlight.

Does anyone else have any weird light switch issues that bother them?


  1. I love the woulda, shoulda, coulda posts! I wish we had more of these when I was building.
    I see what you are saying on the garage lights. It can be a pain if you are someone who likes to have front lights on.
    I have thought the same thing about the upstairs hallway light. I wonder if switching the switch outside the master to a motion detector switch would make a difference.
    I am going to check out the Mr.Beam recommendation. Sounds cool.

  2. I recall someone (might have been you) mentioning the garage lights issue, so we are having our switch moved from the garage into the mudroom. That is how our current home is, and I can't imagine having to reach out into the garage to turn on the light.
    We are getting the lamp post outside and found out that it comes on automatically, so it will not have a switch.
    We will have the 3 switches upstairs, but I don't recall the locations, so we'll have to see if it's an issue in the Verona.
    Like Sgt. Rich, I love the woulda, coulda, shoulda posts. So much to learn!
    Hope you are recovering well and will be off the crutches soon :)

  3. Ugh - light switches. Are you sure you want to get me started on light switches??? Well, here you go.

    Front lights - annoying, like yours, in two different locations. One by the front door for the porch light and one inside the garage for the garage light. Our porch light is a photo-sensor light, so I just leave it on all the time. The garage lights, for now, are on all the time. We bought Honeywell timer light switches to replace the regular light switch. I will set the timer to come on at dark and off at dawn. Also bought these for the flood light, morning room light, and basement door light.

    Foyer lights - switches are located at the front door and the family room (which the switches are about 2-3 FEET inside the family room - quite a stretch from the start of the room. So the foyer light really annoys us. When going to bed, you have to remember to turn it off before you head for the stairs - leaving you in the dark until you walk about 5 feet down the hall to get to the upstairs light switch. And even more annoying when you come down the stairs from the bedrooms and you walk into a dark hallway and have to either walk to the front door or back the other way into the family room. Solution for us was to buy a photo-sensor nightlight with single outlet plug and replaced the two-outlet plug at the bottom of the stairs. At least it gives you some light as you come down the stairs.

    Kitchen light - we have a wide wall between the foyer entrance and the dining room entrance - and they centered the light switch on the wall - so you have to walk a ways into the kitchen to get to the switch. The dining room light is also located there, so when you are walking into the dining room, you have to walk a few feet to flip the switch before going into the dining room.

    Bedroom half-hots - every bedroom half-hot is located where a nightstand would be. They should be located where a dresser would be. So, if you turn on the light switch, your nightstand bed light comes on. Then you turn off the light when you go to bed. In the morning you have to remember to turn the light back on so that you can walk across the room to turn the light switch off. Soooo annoying. Our solution is that I had to plug a torch light into the half-hot and then had to get a plug strip to then plug in my cell phone charger, light, clock radio, and ipad charger.

    Loft lights - the switch is by the loft, but if you get to the stairs and forgot to turn them off, now you have to walk back there to get it. There should have been a second switch by the stairs.

    Agree with the basement switches - need one at the top - the kids are forever leaving the basement light on and I have to stomp down there to switch it off.

    Definitely get my exercise in this house just to turn lights on and off. Lesson learned for if we ever build again - Demand that the electrician walk through the lighting plan with you at the pre-drywall meeting - this was not offered to us and we even asked.

  4. Wow, priceless advice. Typing an email to the PM right now :)

    1. Received a positive response from the PM, he basically just said to shoot him a reminder right before wiring and he will sort it with the electrician. Not sure if I will have to grease the electricians palm to run all that extra wire across the entire house. I even asked for all the external lights to turn on at once from the front door-- we shall see

  5. We don't like the hall light switches in our model or where the morning room lights are located. We asked our pm about the morning room lights and were told b/c the plans have it that way, it had to be that way. =/

  6. I don't know if you read my last post but the basement light issue was one we had a gripe with too. My husband is thankfully very handy and was able to put a double switch at the top of the basement steps so we can turn off the basement lights from there. Our garage door opener is pretty nice, so each time we enter the garage or it detects any motion the garage light turns on for us. I agree though it would be annoying to have to use that switch every time. We also wish we had changed the light switch configuration in our master bathroom. We only have the option turn on all bathroom lights always...I wish there was a switch so in the middle of the night I could just turn on the ceiling light or just the vanity lights but not every single light. The upstairs hallway light also drives me crazy....I wish there was a switch someplace between the master bedroom and the top of the steps like near the guest bathroom. In our kitchen we have recessed lights, and lights over our island. However, the switches that activate the island lights are located near the stairs and near the morning room.....I wish there was a light switch just as you enter the kitchen from the mud area that activated the island lights. Although we don't use our outside lights a lot, I do agree I wish you could turn on and off all of the outside lights from the front door. I often find that when we do turn on the lights we often forget to turn off the garage lights because its a separate switch. We don't end up noticing until we leave for work the next day. SO funny that when you're planning this house these can get overlooked...I wish someone else had also discovered these and posted about them when we were building so we could have made changes.

  7. I'm okay with the switches for the hall, but I have dusk/dawn nightlights that swivel top to bottom and shine a pretty decent light.

    I loathe the light switch design in this house, though. Basements steps only, and then you have to go around a corner to get to the switches for the room. Not even just at the bottom of the stairs. Big pain. Lighting in the utility room in the basement is mediocre. I also wish we had a switch for the garage inside the house.

    I really hate where they put the living room lights, too. In between the windows - wha? Bad placement because 1: it's not at any 'edge' of the room and 2: in between the windows was a perfect place for a little chair or piece of furniture. Really dumb. We added a switched outlet above the mantel. Did they put a double wall plate for that and the eyeball lights? No. They put two switch plates a few inches apart. Again - what were they thinking?

    It bugs me how all the light switches can be in the off position, but lights are on. It bugs my husband even more.

    I'm okay with how the exterior lights are handled, but I think my carriage lights go on with the porch light. And we have a post light set for dawn/dusk in the drive and a large post light for the community our front, so we're well lit out front.

    I wish there was another light switch way in the master bedroom. Sometimes I use the overhead light and forget to turn it off, and it would be nice for one of us to be able to turn it off from around the bed.

    Of course, all of these are minor annoyances compared to the electrical situation in the old house, which would have issues pretty much every day.

  8. I used to think that i would like to have a master switch to each kids room in my bedrrom. That way when i ground them, i could "flip the switch" and kill the power in their room. Brilliant i say! But we moved in with one kid and a lack of motivation to pay an electrician on the side for my devious plan.
    Tammi, i still don't understand why the living room switch is between windows.
    For those that don't know, you can replace light switches with motion detector switchs. They work very well. I plan to put one in my boy's room.

  9. Wow, I touched a nerve!! :) Rich has the most brilliant idea though - a kill switch for the kids room. I think I'd like a kill switch for the basement, where BF plays his electric guitar. The sound travels right upstairs to the living room and keeps on going right to the bedrooms.

    I'm sure the light switches in an older home would have been just as annoying, but we have the expectation that the house has been designed and re-designed and re-designed to make it just perfect. Maybe the expectations are a bit too high. But Ryan Homes, if you are out there reading this, get with your designers and fix some of these issues!

  10. In our former Ryan home, we had the same issue with the exterior lighting. You can buy a light sensing switch that just screws into the lightbulb socket, then you screw the lightbulb into the switch. Leave the light switch on, and the light will come on at dusk and go off at down. Cheap fix from Lowes or Home Depot.