How to save on utility bills with 4 smart home devices


Close-up of a woman's hand holding a smartphone and setting up a smart home system that remotely controls the thermostat of the smart air conditioner in the living room of her smart home.  Smart living.  Lifestyle and technology stock photo

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It might sound counterintuitive that smart home devices could save you money. People associate smart devices with high costs, and while it’s true that many popular smart devices initially cost more than a “dumb” alternative, the money you save on utility bills can offset that cost in a matter of months.

According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the price of utility gas in the US was up 25% year-over-year through August. And with electricity costs up 14% simultaneously, inflation and the prospect of a recession, not to mention rising food costs, people are feeling the pressure.

There are small changes we can all make to ensure we conserve as much energy as possible, both for the health of the planet and the health of our bank accounts. Implementing these changes can impact your utility bills within months.

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How to save on electricity bills with 4 smart home devices

1. A smart thermostat

Say goodbye to thermostat wars for good with a smart upgrade. The start-up costs for a smart thermostat can range from $100 to $300, but the returns can easily make it worth it. Also, you may be able to get a discount on a smart thermostat upgrade.

A smart thermostat means you don’t have to worry if you forgot to turn down your air conditioner before you left the house and can do it right from your phone instead. Or take advantage of the ability to run scenes and automations without you having to think about it.

Did you know that a change as simple as setting your thermostat 7 to 10 degrees from its usual setting for 8 hours a day can save you up to 10% a year on gas and electricity?

It doesn’t have to be uncomfortable either. If you work outside the home during the day, you don’t necessarily need to keep your home at 72° while you’re away. Letting it go to 80C in the warm months and 62C in the winter while you’re away from home can make a big difference on the bottom line. And a smart thermostat can do it for you automatically.

Using Alexa, Google, or HomeKit, you can set your smart thermostat to automatically adjust the temperature based on a schedule or a trigger, such as when the sun is up. B. when you say, “Alexa, I’m going to work.”

Here are some good options to choose from:

Likewise: Nest Learning Thermostat vs. Nest Thermostat: Which is Right for You?

2. Smart lightbulbs

You may be familiar with the stereotype of the budget conscious dad who walks around the house turning off the lights. It’s me, I’m that father.

This is where smart lightbulbs really shine, pun intended: LED lightbulbs are the most energy-conscious lighting option. All options listed below are LED bulbs and can fit right into your home to replace a standard incandescent bulb.

Aside from the upgrade to LED lights, a smart lightbulb means you’ll never forget which lights were still on because that information is always stored on your phone. Smart lights can also be set to a schedule so you can, for example, turn them off at 11pm every night and never accidentally leave a light on.

Although various smart devices can be expensive, there are quite a few affordable smart bulbs on the market that perform excellently. And if you don’t want to spend too much to get started, you can also identify which lights are being used the most — or, in my case, which ones I keep forgetting to turn off — and start replacing the ones with smart bulbs.

Likewise: How to set up motion-controlled smart lights as an Alexa routine

lumens and consumption

On average, LED lights use 75% less energy than traditional incandescent bulbs. We used to look at the wattage when buying a lightbulb to get an idea of ​​the brightness we could expect from it.

But with LEDs, the metric to keep an eye on is lumens, the unit that measures the brightness of a lightbulb. The higher its lumens, the brighter the light. An incandescent lamp and an LED lamp can have the same amount of lumens, but the LED lamp can use up to about 80% less watts for the same brightness.

A standard 60W incandescent bulb typically has a brightness of 800 lumens. However, the same brightness of 800 lumens can be achieved with an LED lamp that consumes only 9W.

A wide range of smart light bulbs can offer you these advantages in different price ranges:

3. Smart sockets or plugs

Smart plugs or sockets can give you the greatest possible control over energy consumption as they are placed directly at the source.

A smart outlet replaces the existing outlet in your home, but a smart plug that you just plug in, no wiring required.

Either way, the benefits of a smart plug or socket are undeniable: you can set light schedules, triggers, scenes, and automations, and always see which lights are on right from your mobile device.

And some of these devices offer energy monitoring capabilitiesso you can see historical and real-time data on how much energy is being used by what you have plugged in.

Likewise: I got the smart plug for $3.49 on Prime Day, that’s how it went

Instead of smart sockets and plugs, you can also get smart switches and smart power strips serve the same purpose.

4. An IR/RF blaster

This is one of those little devices that can make your existing dumb devices smarter at a low cost. An IR/IF blaster can connect to both your mobile device and your remote controlled devices such as pedestal or ceiling fans, fireplaces, portable air conditioners and window blinds.

With an app in your mobile device, you can control these stupid devices from anywhere, as the blaster effectively replaces the individual remote controls.

Review: Broadlink RM4 Pro: Make your home smarter for less than $50

And many blasters on the market can also set up scenes and automations, e.g. B. one to turn off ceiling fans that you may have forgotten to turn off in your living room every night.

I’m a fan of saving money whenever I can. As a family budget planner, I’ve seen the prices of everything we buy at the store go up and I don’t even start with fuel, gas and electric bills. Although these smart devices come with an upfront cost, the savings from using them could well be worth the investment.

FAQ

Smart thermostats can absolutely save you money even if you are always at home. Although it is recommended to set the thermostats at 7-10 degrees 8 hours a day, usually during work, you can also do this at night while you sleep.

Even a setting to automatically turn it down a few degrees each night can help you rake in some savings.

There is good news and bad news about this. The bad news is that smart lightbulbs use energy even when they are off. This is because they need to stay connected to a hub or your phone to work when needed. The good news is that the energy consumption in stand-by mode is only a few cents per month: around 1 to 18 cents per month depending on the brand.

Depending on the brand, a smart thermostat will likely have a setting in your phone that you can use to tell it to track your location and change settings or go into eco mode when it detects you’ve left the house. This helps keep your heating and cooling system working efficiently and reduces your energy bills.



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