Smart home appliances aren’t just convenient; they also make your home more energy-efficient and environmentally friendly, all while slashing your utility bill by up to a third. Although most smart appliances involve up front costs for purchase and installation, it doesn’t take long for an upgrade to pay for itself, and the long-term savings can add up to thousands of dollars. Below are some of the best smart appliances a budget-conscious homeowner can buy to start saving on energy costs right away.
Many appliances and devices, especially chargers, laptops, and televisions, continue to drain power as long as they are plugged in, even if they aren’t actively being used. In fact, according to a report from the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy, these “energy vampires” can account for up to 20 percent of a household’s total electric bill. An easy solution comes in the form of smart plugs, which attach directly to existing outlets and automatically monitor activity to determine when unused devices can be cut off so that they aren’t driving up your monthly utility bill. In addition to smart plug adapters, there are also smart power strips that operate on the same technology, allowing you to keep your whole home connected and energy-efficient.
While it’s not a practical choice for most renters, homeowners can chalk up significant long-term savings by switching existing light bulbs out for smart LED lighting. Not only are the bulbs more energy-efficient, many of them can also be used in conjunction with a programmable lighting system to automatically dim or turn off lights in unoccupied rooms. Some can even serve as an extra layer of home security by being programmed to turn off and on at random intervals while you’re away on a business trip or vacation in order to deter would-be burglars.
Heating and cooling costs account for almost half of the utility bill for the average household, which is why switching to a smart thermostat is a no-brainer for anyone looking to cut costs without sacrificing comfort. Smart thermostat systems come with a range of programmable features that allow them to adjust the temperature based on whether or not there are people in the house, whether the outdoor temperature changes, or whether people in different rooms prefer different settings. And don’t let the up-front cost of a thermostat and installation deter you. On average, a smart thermostat will cut your annual utility bill by 10-25 percent, which means it won’t take long before it pays for itself.
Traditional sprinkler systems often waste enormous amounts of water, which can quickly lead to soaring utility bills during the summer months. For a more energy-efficient and environmentally friendly option, consider making the switch to a smart sprinkler system, which can be programmed to run on a highly specific schedule while automatically making adjustments for local weather and soil moisture levels. Some of the more advanced systems even include remote monitoring options and wireless flow meters to help detect potential leaks, while the more budget-conscious homeowner may be content with a programmable, no-frills smart sprinkler that attaches directly to a garden hose.
Smart Window Coverings
Though they may not be the first things you think of when you imagine a smart home, shades and blinds can drastically reduce your heating and cooling costs by blocking sunlight and reducing heat loss through the windows. In fact, depending on the climate you live in, installing smart window coverings could cut your heating and cooling costs by as much as 20 percent. Many smart shades and blinds are compatible with Amazon Alexa and Google Smart Assistant, and the benefits are compounded when they are combined with other smart systems such as thermostats or HVAC units.
Smart appliances offer a variety of ways to make your home safer, more convenient, and more energy-efficient, all of which translates to less stress and more money in your pocket. By making only a few key upgrades, it is possible to to cut energy costs by more than 30 percent, potentially adding up to hundreds of dollars a year, making the smart appliances above an obvious choice for the budget-minded and environmentally conscious homeowner.