How to save on utility bills with 4 smart home devices

Close-up of a woman's hand holding a smart phone and setting up a smart home system, remote controlling the smart air conditioner thermostat in the living room of her smart home.  smart life.  Lifestyle and technology - stock photo

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It may seem counterintuitive that smart home devices can save you money. People associate smart devices with high expenses, 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 that cost in a matter of months.

Through August, the price of utility gas had risen 25% in the US compared to a year earlier, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, and with electricity costs rising 14% at the same Weather, inflation and the prospect of a recession, not to mention rising food costs, people feel the pressure.

There are small changes we can all make to ensure we are saving 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 utility bills in just a few months.

Also: The future of money. These innovations will change the way we shop, spend and save

How to save on utility bills with 4 smart home devices

1. A smart thermostat

Say goodbye to thermostat wars forever with a smart upgrade. The initial cost of a smart thermostat it can range from $100 to $300, but the return may make it worth it. Plus, you may be able to get a rebate on upgrading to a smart thermostat.

A smart thermostat means you never have to worry if you forgot to turn off the air conditioning before leaving home, and instead can do it right from your phone. Or take advantage of the option to set scenes and automations to run without you having to think about them.

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

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

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, “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 parent going around the house turning off the lights. It’s me, it’s that dad.

This is where smart bulbs really shine, pun intended: LED bulbs are the most energy-conscious lighting option. All of the options below are LED bulbs and can be a great fit to replace a standard light bulb in your home.

As well as upgrading to LED lights, a smart bulb means never forgetting which lights were left on, as this information is always on your phone. Smart lights can also be scheduled, so you can have them turn off every night at 11pm, for example, and never accidentally leave a light on.

Although different smart devices can be expensive, there are many affordable smart lights on the market that work extremely well. And if you don’t want to spend too much to get started, you can also determine which lights I use the most – or, in my case, which ones I always forget to turn off – and start replacing them. those with smart bulbs.

Also: How to set motion-activated smart lights as an Alexa routine

lumens and consumption

LED lights consume on average 75% less energy than standard incandescent bulbs. We used to look at the wattage when buying an incandescent bulb to get an idea of ​​how bright we could expect it to be.

But in the case of LEDs, the metric to keep an eye on is lumens, the unit that measures the brightness of a light bulb. The higher your lumens, the brighter the light will be. An incandescent bulb and an LED bulb can have the same number of lumens, but the LED can consume up to 80% less watts at the same brightness.

A typical 60W incandescent light bulb 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 light bulbs can give you these benefits in different price ranges:

3. Smart outlets or plugs

Smart plugs or outlets can give you the most control of energy use because they are connected directly to the source.

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

Whichever way you choose, the benefits of a smart plug or outlet 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 power monitoring optionsso you can see historical and real-time data on how much energy is consumed by what you have plugged into it.

Also: Got the $3.49 smart plug on Prime Day, here’s how it worked

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

4. An IR/RF blaster

This is one of those little gadgets that can make your existing dumb gadgets smarter at a low cost. An IR/IF blaster can be connected to both your mobile device and remote controlled appliances such as floor or ceiling fans, fireplaces, portable air conditioning units, and window shades.

With an app on your mobile device, you can control these silly devices from anywhere, as the blaster will effectively replace individual remotes.

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

And many blasters on the market can also set scenes and automations, like one to turn off any ceiling fans you’ve forgotten to turn off in your living room each night.

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

Frequently asked questions

Smart thermostats can absolutely save you money, even if you’re always home. Although it is recommended that people turn their thermostats down 7-10 degrees for 8 hours a day, usually while at work, you can also do this at night while sleeping.

Even having a setting to automatically turn it down a couple of degrees each night can help you see some savings.

There is good and bad news on this. The bad news is that smart light bulbs consume energy even when they are turned off. This is because they need to stay connected to a hub or to their phone in order to work on demand. The good news is that standby power consumption is only a few cents a month: roughly 1 to 18 cents a month, depending on the brand.

Depending on the brand, a smart thermostat will likely have a setting on your phone where it can 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, lowering your energy bills.

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