Technology

How to save on utility bills with 4 smart home devices

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

According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the price of utility gas in the US was up 25% in August compared to the previous year. And with electricity costs up 14% in the same time, inflation and the prospect of a recession, not to mention rising grocery costs, people are feeling the pressure.

There are small changes we can all make to ensure that we save as much energy as possible, both for the health of the planet and the health of our bank accounts. Implementing these changes can have an impact on your energy bill within a few months.

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How To Save On Energy Bills With 4 Smart Home Devices

1. A smart thermostat

Kiss the thermostat wars goodbye for good with a clever upgrade. The start-up cost for a smart thermostat can range from about $100 to $300, but the return on investment can make it worth it. Plus, you may be able to get a discount on an upgrade to a smart thermostat.

A smart thermostat means you never have to worry about forgetting to turn down your A/C before leaving the house, and instead you can do it right from your phone. Or take advantage of the option to set up scenes and automations to run without you having to think about it.

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

This also does not have to translate into discomfort. If you work outdoors during the day, your house doesn’t really have to stay at 72° while you’re away. Letting it go to 80° in the warm months and 62° in the winter while away from home can make a big difference in the end. And a smart thermostat can do this for you automatically.

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With Alexa, Google, or HomeKit, you can set your smart thermostat to automatically adjust the temperature on a schedule, or on a trigger like when you say, for example, “Alexa, I’m going to work.”

Here are some good options to choose from:

Also: Nest Learning Thermostat vs. Nest Thermostat: Which Is Right For You?

2. Smart light bulbs

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

This is where smart light bulbs really shine, pun intended: LED bulbs are the most energy-conscious lighting option. All of the options below are LED bulbs and will fit right in with replacing a standard light bulb in your home.

Aside from upgrading to LED lighting, a smart light bulb means you’ll never forget which lights were on because this information is always on your phone. Smart bulbs can also be scheduled so that you can, for example, have them all turned off at 11pm every night and never accidentally leave a light on.

While various smart devices can be expensive, there are quite a few affordable smart bulbs on the market that perform extremely well. And if you don’t want to spend too much to get started, you can also determine which bulbs get the most use — or, in my case, which ones I always forget to turn off — and start replacing those with smart bulbs.

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Also: Set up motion-activated smart bulbs as an Alexa routine?

Lumen and consumption

LED lamps consume an average of 75% less energy than standard incandescent lamps. We used to look at the wattage when buying a light bulb to get an idea of ​​the brightness we could expect from it.

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

An ordinary 60W incandescent lamp typically has a brightness of 800 lumens. But the same brightness of 800 lumens can be achieved with an LED bulb that consumes only 9W.

A wide range of smart bulbs can give you these benefits in different price ranges:

3. Smart sockets or plugs

Smart plugs or sockets give you the most control over energy consumption because they are connected directly at the source.

A smart socket replaces the existing socket in your house, but you just plug in a smart plug, no wiring required.

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

And some of these devices offer energy monitoring optionsso you can see historical and real-time data on how much energy is being consumed by what you have connected to it.

Also: I got the $3.49 smart plug on Prime Day, here’s how it went

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

4. An IR/RF blaster

This is one of those small devices that can make your existing dumb devices smarter at a low cost. An IR/IF blaster can be connected to both your mobile device and your remote controlled devices such as foot or ceiling fans, fireplaces, portable AC units and blinds.

With an app on your mobile device, you can control these dumb devices wherever you are, as the blaster will effectively replace the separate remotes.

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

I am a fan of saving money whenever I can. As a family budgeter, I’ve seen the prices of everything we buy in the store have gone up, and don’t even get me started on fuel, gas, and electricity bills. While these smart devices come at an upfront cost, the savings from using them can be well worth the investment.

FAQ

Smart thermostats can definitely save you money, even if you’re always at home. While it is recommended that people turn their thermostats 7-10 degrees lower for 8 hours a day, usually while working, you can also do this at night while you sleep.

Even if you have a setting to automatically turn it down a few degrees every night, you can save some money.

There is good news and bad news about this. The bad news is that smart bulbs consume energy even when they are off. This is because they need to stay connected to a hub or your phone to work on demand. The good news is that standby power consumption is only a few cents per month: about 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 lets you 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 running efficiently and lowers your energy bill.

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