Although it makes sense to curb your energy use to lower your monthly utility bills, taking the steps to make this happen can be difficult especially if you do not know how to start. Although there are home automation systems that all connect to each other, you can start with single devices to get the ball rolling on an energy-saving plan.
Program Your Thermostat
Many homes have heating equipment that is not energy-efficient, especially if the system is a decade old or more. Because it can be costly to replace your furnace, you can turn to a programmable thermostat to keep your heating bills lower. Programmable thermostats allow you to set the temperature throughout the day without having to change the temperature on the physical thermostat. For example, if you want your home warmer when you wake up, colder during the day when no one is at home but still warm when you get back, you can program the thermostat to change the temperature automatically.
Control Your Lights
If your family is constantly leaving lights on, you are likely adding to your electricity bills. There are several different apps that allow you to control all of the lights in your home right from your smartphone or tablet. If you forgot to turn your lights off before leaving for work, all you have to do is simply turn on the app and turn off your lights. You can even use the app to turn your lights back on before you get back to avoid coming home to a dark house.
Use a Smart Power Strip
When you turn off your electronics, you may believe that those electronics are no longer using any energy. However, turning off your electronics simply puts them into “standby mode.” As long as they stay connected to a power source, they create what is known as a “phantom load,” which can cost you money. In fact, phantom load may account for up to 8 percent of your monthly electricity bill.
To avoid the extra cost, you can utilize a Smart Strip power strip. These power strips detect when your electronic equipment has been turned off and cuts the power. This way, your turned off electronics are not still draining power even when they are not in use.
Combining Home Automation Devices
Most home automation devices are designed to work with a virtual assistant, such as Amazon’s Echo and Alexa, Microsoft’s Cortana and Google. These virtual assistants allow you to access each home automation device from one app. This means you can also set up different settings so that all you have to do to turn down the thermostat, turn off the lights and turn off your electronics all at once is to push a single button. Some of the virtual assistants, like Alexa, even use voice recognition so that you do not need to be near your phone or tablet to active your home automation devices.
Savings from installing home automation devices do not happen overnight and there is an initial investment cost. Over time, however, you will begin to see lower utility bills and you get into the habit of cutting back on your energy use. Not only can home automation devices lower your utility costs, but you may also find the value of your home going up as more homeowners become interested in home automation.