Even after a year of being housebound, many of us find ourselves in a remote-work situation, so home is where we’re going to spend far more time than we once did. It doesn’t take long for our thoughts to switch to the extra power we’re going to use by being at home so much more. To help keep electricity costs down, you have a broad choice of “smart” and “wireless” devices to help control your energy usage around the house. Smart energy technology can help you use less power and use it more wisely.
A smart meter or energy monitor can give you a bird’s-eye view of your ongoing energy usage. It installs directly into your home’s electrical system at the main panel and, through an app, it gives you a reading of electrical flow, along with a host of statistics about your home energy usage. Some models can actually identify individual appliances and monitor their power consumption.
This can be invaluable in identifying non-critical electricity usage so you can make decisions about which items to disconnect from the power grid. Do you really need that wine fridge to be on all day and night? Linked to a smart lighting system, they can even tell you how much power a particular lamp is using.
Since heating and air conditioning are notorious for consuming the lion’s share of your home energy budget, a wise investment would be to install a smart thermostat. By programming it with your at-home and away patterns, it can control the temperature in your house and make sure you’re not spending energy dollars when you’re not even at home or awake.
Some versions allow you to control your system remotely through an app, while even more exotic models are being developed that figure out your home patterns all by themselves. Using presence detection, linking to your smart phone GPS readings to determine if you’re on your way back, receiving local weather data and even factoring in your utility’s peak-period rates, they can control your home’s environment with maximum monetary savings in mind.
Just how much you can save varies greatly, but estimates begin at about 10% reduction in your energy bill. A manually programmable thermostat can give you roughly equivalent results if you want to key in your own times and temperatures, and reduce the feeling of being monitored by technology.
When it’s light outside, open your blinds and you don’t need to turn on your home lighting. When it’s hot outside, close your blinds so your air conditioner won’t have to work as hard. Well, now you can automate that process with a system that can be controlled from your phone via an app with voice command, or you can let it can take over complete control of opening and closing the blinds around your dwelling.
Did you have a dad who was always saying: turn the lights off when you leave the room! He was right. Lights that remain on when nobody is even there can seriously eat into your energy budget. There are plenty of automation solutions available — smart switches, smart bulbs and even room sensors that can turn individual lamps or entire room lighting on and off as genuinely needed. They can be controlled via an app on your phone or they can function autonomously to keep your power consumption in line, day and night.
Smart Lawn Sprinklers
Have you ever seen someone’s lawn sprinkler system hard at work while it’s actually raining? Your sprinkler system can now control itself and avoid such wastage. Smart sprinklers can set up watering patterns and adjust those schedules if it rains or if someone walks outside where they might get wet. By monitoring water pressure, they can also detect leaks or broken sprinkler heads, sending you a notification on your app.
Though not dangerous to your wellbeing, energy vampires can be a scary thing. Take a walk around your home and count the devices that activate by remote control or by touching a button. In order to respond to your command, they need a constant stream of power to keep their sensors active. It’s a tiny amount of energy they consume, but multiply that by the number of them around your house and the hours of the day when they are not actually being used, and the drain they represent becomes clear. If you determine which of those you absolutely need to keep in a ready state, you can disconnect all the others and only plug them back in as needed.
Also, any device that uses a “brick”-style power supply is still drawing energy as long as it is plugged in. Device chargers are notorious for that, since you probably only need to recharge your gadgets one or two times per day. If you keep them on a power strip that has an “off” switch, you can stop that energy flow when they’re not needed. And of course there are smart plugs that can do that for you.
Help is always available.
If you have any questions about how to energy waste-proof your home, we’re here for you at Atlantic Energy. Our professionals will be happy to perform an energy audit at your home or business, and advise you on the best way to manage your power consumption. For any questions about energy use, contact us anytime at www.atlanticenergyco.com.
We have the power to help you.