5 Modern Devices That Can Help Lower Your Energy Usage
If you’re like most electricity consumers, you want one thing from your energy company – a lower electricity bill. There are typically two ways you can achieve this:
- Securing a low kilowatt-hour rate for the electricity you use
- Using less electricity around the home, thus reducing your energy usage
While Power Wizard can find you a great Texas electricity plan for your home, you should also lower your energy usage. These 5 pieces of modern smart home technology help you better control your energy usage and far surpass their initial return on investment.
1) Programmable Thermostats
This is the big one, since nearly 50% of your home energy usage and costs come from heating and cooling. In our experience, your real savings potential comes from creating a reliable daily schedule for your thermostat and then following it. As in, you must actually program your thermostat if you want to save energy.
Here are a few suggestions:
- Start your energy-saving settings as soon as the last person leaves the house in the morning.
- Set the more pleasant settings to begin 30 minutes before the first person returns home for the day.
- Schedule nighttime settings to begin at 10 p.m. and end at 6 a.m.
- If possible, use the app for your smart thermostat to your advantage when it comes to adjust the programming for off-schedule situations.
As the U.S. Department of Energy research states, you need to program your thermostat if you want to achieve the promised 10%+ savings. We recommend the following temperature settings:
- In Summer: 75 degrees F when you’re home in the daytime and 78 degrees F at night or when you’re away from home for over 1 hour.
- In Winter: 68 degrees F when you’re home in the daytime and 65 degrees F at night or when you’re away from house for over 1 hour.
You must tell your thermostat when and how to heat and cool your home if you want to save money – especially when you’re not at home.
2) LED Light Bulbs to reduce your Energy Usage
While you might not think light bulbs count as new technology, many people still use traditional incandescent bulbs. We’re not suggesting you upgrade to fancy smart light bulbs that allow you to change color, timing, and brightness from a smartphone app. Instead, we’re simply encouraging you to replace those old bulbs with new LED ones.
Modern LED technology lasts up to 50 times longer and uses up to 75% less energy than incandescent bulbs. Also, the price of LED light bulbs has dropped drastically in the past few years. You can now purchase them in bulk from top brands for less than $2 a bulb. That’s why you can reduce your home energy bills and pay off the investment of your purchase in 2 years.
3) ENERGY STAR Appliances
If you’ve shopped for appliances in the past few years, you’ve seen the ENERGY STAR logo festooned upon certain makes and models. That light blue square indicates products that have been certified to operate more efficiently than its standard competitors.
However, when considering these purchases, you should first check the lifespan of your current appliances, because it might not be financially feasible to replace everything at once. We encourage you to focus on the ones that could break in the near future and/or could provide the highest return on your investment. To help you in this quest, ENERGYSTAR.gov has assembled the following lifetime utility costs savings information:
- Clothes Washer: $415
- Refrigerator: $260
- Air Purifier: $215
- Clothes Dryer: $160
- Dehumidifier: $100
- Room Air Conditioner: $99
You can save money with this new technology because it uses less energy to run and uses that energy with greater efficiency.
4) Motion-detecting Light Switches
As the classic bit of advice goes, you should turn off the lights every time you leave the room. But let’s face the facts – most of us forget to flip that switch more than we’d like to admit. By exchanging your traditional light switches for ones with motion detection properties, you can save up to 35% off your current lighting costs.
Now, you can program these switches to turn off the lights if they don’t detect any motion after a short amount of time. Even better – you don’t need fancy smart bulbs for these switches, as you can use standard LED bulbs instead.
Also, you shouldn’t use these switches in busy rooms of your home, as turning bulbs on and off too often harms them. Instead, opt for areas of your home like the bathroom, closet, garage, and bedrooms.
5) Smart Surge Protector
According to data collected by the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, the average American home has about 40 different electronic devices plugged it at one time. That is a LOT of vampire power, and it can account for up to 10% of your monthly energy bill.
The simple answer is actually complicated. In theory, you should just unplug every electronic device when they aren’t in use, but that’s inconvenient in the real world. To keep vampire power from draining your home electricity, plug your devices into a surge protector. That way, you can flip a single switch at night and turn off everything at once.
However, we recognize that you might not want to turn everything off at once. For example, you might want your router and smart home hubs to remain on all the time. In this instance, we encourage you to invest in a high-quality smart surge protector. You want one that allows you to control each outlet independently of the others from the comfort of a smartphone app.
Focus on the Technology that Reduces your Energy Usage
We realize that these devices do cost money, and it may feel odd to consider spending money in order to save money. But as we’ve shown, investing in modern technology can really reduce your energy usage and lower your electricity bill.
Our last piece of advice – only purchase what works for you and your budget. You don’t need devices you can’t afford, and you don’t need the latest and greatest technology just because “industry experts” are talking about it. You just need what makes sense for your home and your life, because if you don’t use these devices as they’re intended, you definitely will not save any money on your bills.