There’s no question that the smart home trend is in full swing. In fact, with a worldwide market of nearly $100 billion and over a quarter billion smart homes worldwide, smart homes have become the new standard of residential excellence.
Smart homes are equipped with electronic devices that can be controlled via your phone or computer. Want to start preheating your oven when you leave work? There’s a range for that. Want the blinds to automatically open and close at certain times? You can do that too.
One of the best upsides to smart home technology is that it’s convenient and helps control and optimize your electricity use, saving you money every month on your electric bill — money that can add up substantially over a year.
Sound interesting? Here are a few of our favorite picks for smart home tech gadgets that’ll improve your home’s energy efficiency and reduce your energy costs.
1. Smart Thermostat
When you consider that over half of your electricity usage can be attributed to heating and cooling costs, it becomes very clear that temperature control in your home can be a significant opportunity to be more efficient. No tool makes it easier than the smart thermostat.
These devices will automatically adjust your thermostat — the same adjustments you always intend to make, but forget to do. For example, if you’re not adjusting the thermostat when you’re at work or away from home for extended periods, you’re leaving money on the table. A smart thermostat automates all of that, and it can easily save you over 8% or more on heating and cooling bills per year.
2. Smart Light Bulbs
Most people have jumped on the LED train and begun replacing old, hot incandescent bulbs with newer, cooler, more energy-efficient LED light bulbs. They’re a definite improvement by using less electricity, generating less heat, lasting longer, and producing more aesthetically pleasing light. Alternatively, you can take the upgrade a step further with smart bulbs.
Smart bulbs are internet-capable LED light bulbs so that you can schedule their use and control them remotely. Want your bedroom lights to turn on automatically in the morning? Done. Want to control lighting in your home from your phone when you’re on vacation? Easy. These smart bulbs can be connected to Alexa, paired with door locks, and more.
3. Smart Fans
Ceiling fans are a super-effective complement to your air conditioner. They won’t drop the temperature, but circulating air will make the room feel cooler. Also, it costs less to run a fan than it does an air conditioner. Wouldn’t it be nice, however, if the fan sensed when you entered or left a room and turned on or off accordingly?
Say hello to the smart fan. They have motion sensors that can detect if someone is in the room to enjoy the extra airflow. If not, they shut off automatically and save the electricity for later. Some even have controls that turn the fan on or off depending on the temperature in the room.
4. Smart Appliances
Heating and cooling costs generally account for the greatest portion of your electric bill, but the appliances are typically a close second. That’s why Energy Star refrigerators, laundry machines , water heaters, and more are a good investment. Compared to their less efficient counterparts, Energy Star-rated appliances can save hundreds of dollars per year.
Smart appliances typically offer the same energy efficiency and the added benefit of control and connectivity by interfacing the appliance with your phone. You can control the ice maker from work, check the dryness level of your clothes remotely, run the dryer for longer if needed, and just about anything else from the app.
5. Smart Outlets, Plugs & Motion Sensors
Did you know most appliances and electronic devices pull energy when they’re plugged in, even when they’re turned off? This “vampire power” accounts for thousands of hours of wasted electricity. Smart outlets and plugs are an easy way to be more efficient with your electricity. These devices monitor the electric usage of the device that is plugged-in and can automatically stop phantom power loss. Adding motion sensors to the mix is another way to control electricity usage by enabling devices only when needed.
6. Smart Leak Sensor
We have to mention smart leak sensors as long as we’re talking about using resources efficiently with smart home technology. Household leaks waste over a trillion gallons of water every year. Sometimes it’s slow and causes water damage over time, other times, these leaks cause flooding right away.
Regardless, leaks are best to be avoided, and smart leak sensors are devices you can install to detect water leaks and alert you to their presence so you can take action fast. As you might expect, a smart leak sensor can shut the system off immediately.
That level of peace of mind is a true value all on its own. Imagine if you were away on vacation. Would you rather receive an alert on your phone that the system cut the water because a toilet leak was detected or return home to find a flooded house?
7. Smart Sprinklers
Every day, people in the United States use a total of eight billion gallons of water for landscape irrigation, and up to half of this is wasted as a result of inefficiencies. Smart sprinklers can help to minimize this waste by reducing overwatering and only delivering it when plants need it.
These smart sprinklers are able to detect local weather and landscape conditions for enhanced efficiency and performance. Compared to standard, clock-based sprinkler controllers, these devices can save the average home as much as 15,000 gallons of water every year.
Smart Home Tech Is Just One Way to Save Electricity
Smart home tech gadgets are a great strategy to improve energy usage and work well when you compliment their use with other efforts. They aren’t hard to find either, they can be found at your local hardware store and through various online retailers. If you want to ensure you’re covering all your bases, check out our other article for 15 ways to improve your home’s efficiency as winter approaches.