Home Automation Helps Reduce Energy Costs
Are those high heating bills burning a hole in your winter coat? Maybe you’ve tried piling on the blankets and turning the heat down to 60 each night or buying low-wattage energy efficient bulbs. However, there’s much more you can do to save some serious money on your monthly bills and it doesn’t involve installing costly solar panels.
Home automation is more than just a hot new tech trend, it’s your path to maximum energy efficiency. Popular home assistant devices like Google Home and Amazon Echo are just the tip of the iceberg. True home automation includes smart devices that work independently or with your favorite home assistant. And as these handy new tools become more accessible, so too do the awesome savings they provide.
Why are My Energy Bills So High?
Per a 2009 study by the United States Energy Information Administration, heating energy costs made up 42% of overall yearly energy costs. Add to that the roughly 6% attributed to air conditioning and that means that your thermostat is responsible for about half of your yearly energy costs. Lighting and other appliances comprise about 30%, water heating is 18% and refrigeration is 9%.
This may seem hopeless. After all, you have to heat your house and, last you checked, candles were not an effective way to light your office. But take heart. What this really means is that only a few simple changes can help you dramatically reduce energy costs.
Those two simple words are likely to have a significant impact on your yearly energy costs. And no, we’re not talking about a programmable thermostat. Smart thermostats can be controlled remotely from a cellular device, making it easy for you to adjust the temperatures in your house from anywhere. What’s more, state of the art sensors can tell when nobody is in a room, causing the smart thermostat to self-adjust, lowering the temperature and saving you money.
Smart bulbs are more than just energy efficient LEDs, they are responsive devices that, like the smart thermostat, can be controlled remotely. Forgot to turn the living room lights off when you left for work? No problem. Pull out your phone and turn all of your lights off with a quick tap.
Of course, you may not even need to. Smart lightbulbs are also equipped with motion sensors. And if you’re skeptical, thinking that the lights will shut off the second you stop pacing, don’t be. Motion sensing technology now employs the use of optics and can tell with far more accuracy if you’re actually out or just doing your best impression of a statue.
Sounds weird, right? Also called idle currents or phantom energy, this energy is in your house right now and costing you money. Look at all of the gadgets and appliances you have plugged in. All of those items are using energy whether they are on or not. That’s right, your PS4 could be off all month and still contribute to that month’s bill. In fact, according to a study by the Lawrence Berkley National Laboratory, vampire energy accounts for about 10% of household electrical usage. In other words, 3% of your overall yearly energy costs come from appliances that aren’t even turned on.
Thankfully, home automation has a solution to help you eliminate or reduce energy costs from vampire energy. Get a smart power strip. These power strips work in a few different ways. They can be programmed to shut down and boot up devices that are plugged into them. They can use motion sensors, shutting off electronics when they sense that nobody is in the room. Finally, they sense currents, reading when devices have been shut off and shutting off the corresponding outlet on the power strip to prevent the flow of idle current.
Take Control of Your Savings
Probably one of the handiest aspects of the home automation movement is the ability to keep track of energy usage in real time and make choices with a clear understanding of how they reduce energy costs. Apps that connect you with your smart home devices can tell you how much energy you’re using and allow you to make adjustments. These apps can also help you stay on top of non-peak usage times, which may come with lower rates, so you know the best time to run that washing machine.
Invest in home automation and reduce energy costs right away. You’ll be surprised how much power you really have over that pesky energy bill.