Touchstone Energy Cooperative branding
Main Menu
Show More +

Return

Give a smart holiday gift  Smart Choices Archive

Give a smart holiday gift

Image: Safe Electricity, smart power strip

Energy Efficiency

Thursday, November 21, 2019

Some smart devices for your home can help you save money. Others are designed for pure convenience—like phone apps you use remotely to close your garage door, turn up your heat before you arrive home or check to see who is on your front porch. In either case, smart devices are useful gifts that keep on giving throughout the year.

Using smart devices that can impact your energy bill won’t make you rich, but they can help lower your bills each month, which adds up over time. Here are some devices to consider:

1. Smart thermostats. A smart thermostat studies your heating and cooling trends over time and can help reduce your energy bill by optimizing energy-saving tactics. You can also adjust the temperature of your home remotely and know how much energy you are using to heat or cool your home in real time. So while a programmable thermostat can help you save money, a smart version earns its name by all the extra things it can do above and beyond programming. 

In either case, adjusting your thermostat down (when you are running your furance) or up (during air conditioning season) just one degree can make a difference in your utility bill of up to 3 percent on the heating and cooling portion of the bill.

2. Smart light bulbs/lighting. The first way to save money on lighting comes from good old-fashioned smarts. Replacing your home’s five most frequently used light fixtures or bulbs with Energy Star versions, you can save $75 a year, according to energy.gov. By upgrading your light bulbs you will replace them less often, as well. For example, a 60-watt incandescent bulb lasts an average of 1,000 hours, while a 12-watt LED bulb has an average life span of 25,000 hours.

Then there are actual smart light bulbs, which allow you to schedule lights and control them remotely. This could save you a little money if you or someone in your house frequently forgets to turn off the lights. It can also offer security as turning lights on and off when you aren’t home can make it appear that someone is in the house.

3. Smart window coverings. Smart window coverings are expensive but they can help you save money on your energy bills over time. For example, you can lower blinds on a hot and sunny day even if you’re not home, which may prevent your air conditioner from kicking on.

About 76 percent of sunlight that falls on standard double-pane windows enters your home as heat, according to energy.gov. Conversely, about 30 percent of a home’s heating energy is lost through windows during the winter, and the efficient use of window coverings can reduce energy loss when it is cold outside.

4. Smart water valves. According to the U.S. EPA, an average household’s water leaks can account for 10,000 gallons of water wasted every year. Collectively, that’s 1 trillion gallons of water each year in the U.S.

Smart leak sensors monitor leaks under sinks, behind toilets and near other water sources in your home. And, like most smart home devices, the sensors can be linked to your smartphone to alert you of leaks. There are also smart water valves designed for your main water line to notify you of catastrophes like bursting pipes, although these are pricy and require professional installation.

5. Smart plugs. These devices plug into a regular outlet and allow you to control appliances remotely via a phone app. Most smart plugs track energy use so you can see the efficiency (or inefficiency) of an appliance. Some of them have a convenient away feature that allows you to program lights to turn on and off, giving the appearance that someone is home.

Source: Safe Electricity

Share: Bookmark and Share

Email a FriendEmail article to a Friend

Print Friendly VersionPrint Friendly Version