There are many new things in the smart home. Not too long ago, casually telling a computer to adjust the lights or adjust the temperature was straight out of science fiction. However, it’s not all about flash. There are real efficiencies you can enjoy with a furnished home that translate into dollars and cents saved. With sensors everywhere and the ability to run automations on your appliances, you can make sure you’re never using more energy than you need to.
Smart thermostats have been championing energy savings for years. By connecting to your phone, they can find out if you’re home and if the heating or cooling should be on. Features continue to vary by model, but you’ll see some that will communicate with utility providers and adjust your home’s climate control to take advantage of cheaper rates when available.
We’ve already delved into some of the estimates for how much money a smart thermostat can save you. Although the exact numbers will vary depending on the climate, the size of your home, and how long you spend in it, there is a general consensus that a smart thermostat will pay for itself in electrical savings over time.
It’s easy to see solar power panels as the original smart home device. With a few upfront investments and smart controllers, your home power network can be optimized to the point where you’re barely paying a service provider.
We’ve got a rundown of the variables to consider when calculating how much money you can save with solar panels. Much will depend on the type of rebates available in your jurisdiction and how net metering is set up. The cost of solar panels has been falling precipitously over the years, and they can only get cheaper, making a return on investment even sooner.
Smart plugs can target electrical usage for specific appliances throughout the home. This includes the additional (and arguably greater) benefit of remote control for appliances that aren’t normally that smart. Smart plugs are easy to install and the companion mobile apps are very easy to use.
In our examination of the ability of smart plugs to reduce energy use, we concluded that you really need to use them in sockets with the highest demand. Small appliances have almost negligible power consumption, even when you put them all together.
The big brothers of smart plugs are energy monitors. These connect directly at the switch level and can give you a holistic view of your home’s energy use. This is a great way to control the main energy consumptions in the house, such as your washing machine, air conditioner, washing machine and refrigerator.
These have an advantage over smart plugs in that their power demand may collectively be only a fraction of the most power-hungry appliances. The biggest drawback is that smart energy systems like Sense require professional installation. Messing with your electrical grid is not for the faint of heart (and should absolutely be left to the professionals).
With droughts occurring more frequently, monitoring your water use is not only good for your bill, it’s also good for the community that shares your supply. Smart water monitors are now smart enough to detect which taps turn on when, and to be able to detect leaks thanks to changes in pressure at the source.
Smart refrigerators are becoming a luxury option for those who want to go all out with their kitchen. In addition to baking many smart home hub features into the refrigerator door, these appliances are also putting cameras inside. This can help homeowners check contents while at the grocery store to get only what they need. In the future, this functionality could be extended to ordering food when you need it.
You’re not likely to get ahead if you’re looking solely at the monetary cost of each of these smart home devices compared to the money saved from their efficiencies. Factor in the convenience and improvement in quality of life, though, and things could start to look worthwhile.
If you strictly want devices that can save you money, look at smart thermostats. By all accounts, they will pay for themselves within about two years. Smart lighting is also a good option, especially the cheaper brands; after all, LEDs last much longer than halogen or fluorescent bulbs and result in a much smaller impact on the environment.