In Canada, corded window blinds may soon be a thing of the past. Health Canada has proposed regulations to prohibit the sale of blinds with exposed cords because of the safety risks they pose. Local businesses are already preparing to phase out corded blinds, as manufacturers are favouring new cordless technologies to accommodate Health Canada’s proposed regulations. But how will these regulations affect your home?
The first thing many local businesses have focused on is educating consumers about the change. “We’ve learned from our reps that this will be taking place,” says Leigh Folkeard at Complete Blinds. “So, we’re letting our customers know to keep it in mind when you’re purchasing; they’re not going to make you take down the existing blinds in your house, but if you’re running a business, it may affect it.” Jennifer Trussler from A Welcoming Home is also focused on educating consumers, especially in regards to the difference in pricing between corded and cordless blinds. “There certainly is some frustration on the customer end of this,” says Trussler. “Because cordless blinds are more expensive.”
If consumers are frustrated by pricing increases, how have manufacturers responded to the new regulations? Well, it’s mixed. John Ayerst from Ayerst Interiors Inc. says, on the one hand, “I’ve done more power-assist, remote, hardwired, battery, and solar blinds this year alone than the last five years put together.” But, says Ayerst, “manufacturers are coming to the retailers and asking us to go back to the government, because they don’t want to be forced to make a cordless blind.” Other brands are submitting to the change more willingly. Hunter Douglas Inc. has released a new line, called Sonnette, as a way of “testing the market” before the regulations come to pass, says Folkeard.
HOW DO CORDLESS BLINDS WORK?
Essentially, there are two types of cordless blinds on the market: motorized and manual. If you go motorized, you can choose between battery-powered and hardwired installation. But Trussler generally
warns against battery-powered options. “People are often putting motorized blinds where they can’t reach, so if you go the battery route, you can’t reach the batteries,” says Trussler. “If you’re even considering this, just hardwire the blinds now.” If you do choose to go battery-powered, solar power can put the sun’s energy (that you’re trying to block out) to good use. “There’s a little adapter between the blind and the glass that constantly recharges the batteries,” says Ayerst.
For those who don’t have the budget to accommodate motorized blinds, or for those who are less trusting of technology, consumers will be able to purchase manual cordless blinds. How do these work? “You know the old-fashioned roller blinds, that you used to pull down and it shot up like a rocket?” asks Trussler. “Well, they’ve improved that technology so it goes up very slowly.” But Folkeard warns, “Unless you go automated, if you can’t reach the top of the window, you can’t function the blinds all the way.” As with any product, consumers need to make sure manual cordless blinds are suitable for the space and learn how to properly operate them.
If you can’t afford motorization right now, it will probably become more accessible as technology progresses. “Right now, cordless is expensive, and blinds are not inexpensive to begin with,” says Trussler. “I’m hoping, like everything else, that the technology becomes more affordable—they’re going to have to, because consumers are getting wiser and wiser.” So, be a wise consumer, and don’t make your next blinds investment blind!
by Emily Bednarz
Ayerst Interiors Inc.
A Welcoming Home