Smart home gadgets do much more than just turn your lights on and off or play your favorite music when you wake up. They can also help you save energy by telling you how much power you’re using and how you’re using it. Smart home appliances can give you the information you need to make wise choices to save energy and money.

Everyone is feeling the pinch of rising electricity prices. According to a report, more than 75% of Americans are worried about their ability to pay utility or electricity bills. Economists say consumers should expect their electricity bills to keep rising.

You need information to make wise choices about how to save energy in your home. Data is power. Here’s how to get started.

smart plug and play

Get started with a smart plug with an energy meter. Choose an appliance, install a smart plug, and start monitoring your power consumption. It’s as simple as starting to take control of how much you spend on energy.

For less than $30, a smart plug can collect data about your energy consumption and allow you to control lighting, heating, or any other connected electrical appliance. For example, you can plug a standard space heater in, and you can turn it on and off from anywhere via an app on your phone, and the process is very user-friendly.

Shelley Smart Plug

Style Plus Plug US

Smart plugs with energy meters provide real-time power consumption data and work with voice assistants like the Amazon Echo. You’ll see easy-to-read bar graphs on the Smart Plug’s app that show how many watts an appliance is using at any given time.

You will want to download data using a PC to keep records of your energy usage. You can use an electricity bill calculator to get an idea of ​​how much you are spending on energy for each appliance.

what to measure and why

You will want to plan what to measure over a given period of time. Smart devices collect data about your habits and give you the information you need to decide when you should set your timer to take advantage of non-peak times.

Cooling and heating are where homeowners see their most significant expenses. The water heater is a power-hungry appliance. In the average home, water heating is responsible for about 20% of total energy use.

However, connecting your water heater to a smart device enables you to measure how much energy it is using. It also allows you to turn off the water heater when you’re on vacation. If you can calculate how much hot water you use, you’ll have the information you need to improve your efficiency and reduce your bills.

According to the US Energy Information Administration, one of the largest single uses of electricity is cooling with fans and air conditioning. You can monitor how much energy you are using to cool your home and identify when you are using the most electricity. You’ll know when to adjust the temperature based on your habits and how long it takes to cool your home.

Based on the information you collect from your smart device, you can set up a routine to adjust the temperature when you’re out of the house so you don’t waste the A/C or heat all day. Everything can be set on a timer to turn back on before you return home so the temperature is nice and comfortable when you arrive.

Your refrigerator is another important appliance that you can monitor; That data over time can help you decide when and if it’s time to upgrade to a more energy-efficient model. If you have a home theater, you can monitor how much energy you use on your toys, such as a gaming system or AV receiver (AVR). In terms of lighting, most bulbs now sold are LEDs, which use at least 75% less energy, and last up to 25% longer than incandescent bulbs.

You can compare energy usage before and after installing smart devices. For example, let’s say you track the energy consumption on your water heater over three months with a smart device. Then make adjustments for three months based on that information. You’ll start to see if there’s a return on investment or if you need to make more changes.

knock out vampire power

Vampire or standby power sucks energy out of your devices even when they are not in use. It is estimated that these energy vampires can account for up to 20% of your monthly energy bill.

Everything from your TV to your coffee maker uses an electric current even if they aren’t on if they’re still plugged in. , One or two devices or appliances may not seem like a lot, but with a whole house full of electronics, it adds up. A 2009 study by McKinsey & Company found that Americans spend $130 billion annually on wasted energy.

Style's smart relay product line for measuring and controlling energy efficiency.

Style Smart Relay products monitor energy efficiency and control the power consumption of appliances and equipment.

To identify phantom devices, take a power inventory using the information you collect from your smart devices. Once you know where the vampire energy is coming from, make adjustments.

A simple solution that can help reduce vampire power is to use power strips, including smart power strips. Power strips can shut off power to various devices at once—essentially, unplugging them when they’re not needed.

You can also program smart devices to send you push notifications to alert you when your power consumption is higher than normal. If you’ve accidentally left something on when you’re away from home, a smart device can trigger a notification. Some changes can help reduce the vampire power consumption.

make a detailed electrical plan

Knowing your energy consumption can result in significant savings on your electricity bill. Start with smart plugs with energy-monitoring capabilities to watch specific appliances and devices one at a time. But smart home automation is a journey, and there are affordable options when you’re ready to take energy monitoring to the next level.

Driving efficiency can start with tracking your entire home with a whole-home power monitoring solution. Some devices run as low as $150, plus the cost of having the device professionally installed in your electrical panel. With one device, you can view the total electricity consumption for the entire home on a daily, weekly or monthly basis.

An electrician installed a smart device in his house. Within 20 minutes, he was able to gather data that showed him where excess power was being wasted and used real-time power consumption to identify 618 watts of energy when he left for work. .

With that information, they found that some fans and phantom devices were operational. Turning off those devices resulted in a 40% drop in out-of-home electricity consumption.

tax breaks for energy efficiency

Starting this year, homeowners can get new tax credits and rebates for making their homes more energy efficient. The Inflation Reduction Act provides a 30% tax credit – up to $1,200 annually – and may also pay up to $150 for a home energy audit that assesses your home’s energy use.

You can start with a plug-and-play device that monitors your power, then dive a little deeper with more smart plugs or whole-home monitoring solutions. From there, you can make wise choices about when to use your equipment and how to cut down on phantom drains. Otherwise, you’re just guessing.

It’s not just about saving money; It’s about being a good steward of the planet. The energy-saving information you collect will enable you to make decisions to increase energy efficiency and reduce your carbon footprint. Data is power.

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