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How to Save Money on Utility Bills with Smart Home Devices

Posted On: March 25, 2024

Today, technology touches nearly every aspect of our lives. It should be no surprise that we increasingly rely on smart devices to manage our homes. In addition to convenience, they can also aid in energy conservation, which can lead to utility bill savings.

If you want to minimize energy waste and maximize energy savings (and really, who doesn’t?), install one or more of these smart devices in your home.

Smart thermostat

According to ENERGY STAR®, the average American household spends almost half of its energy expenses on heating and cooling — more than $900 a year! With a smart thermostat, you can conserve electricity without sacrificing comfort with features like:

  • Geofencing that detects whether you’re home or away so it can optimize your thermostat settings accordingly
  • Learning your heating and cooling schedule and preferences to keep you efficient yet comfortable
  • Remote access and control via a smartphone app
  • Separate temperature settings for different areas of the home

Smart thermostats also let consumers join demand response programs and receive incentives for allowing automatic thermostat adjustments during high-usage periods. For instance, Stream Energy customers can sign up for the Stream Conserve Smart Thermostat program and receive a one-time $25 bill credit.

Note: Check with your utility company to see if any smart thermostat rebates are available in your area.

Smart plugs and outlets

Smart plugs and smart outlets let you set schedules for and/or use voice commands to control the items plugged into them anytime through a smartphone app. Some types of these devices even let you monitor an item’s energy usage.

Use a smart plug between a regular electrical outlet and an electronic item, like a lamp or a fan, to control that item in a number of ways — via your voice, smartphone or manually.

A smart outlet operates similarly, but it’s hard-wired directly to the electrical system of your home.

In addition to convenience, these devices can help you avoid wasting energy when an item is in standby mode. Smart plugs and outlets can shut off power to an item entirely, banishing energy vampires and helping you save on your energy bills.

Smart power strips

Like smart plugs and outlets, smart power strips allow you to avoid wasting energy through strategic scheduling, voice commands and/or remote control via your smartphone.

Designed similarly to regular multi-outlet power strips, Advanced Power Strips (APS) come in several options with features like:

  • Motion sensors that turn off outlets if no activity is detected
  • Setup of a “master” device that, when shut down or in standby mode, signals to other items plugged into the power strip to shut down
  • The ability to remotely control each plugged-in item individually or all items at once

Smart sprinkler controller

Adding smart irrigation technology to your existing sprinkler system can help you waste less water and save money on your utility bill with very little effort.

A smart sprinkler controller optimizes your system’s watering schedule. Models vary, but common features include:

  • Automatic adjustment to local weather, including rescheduling if rain is forecasted
  • The ability to customize schedules and zones for different areas of your landscape
  • A soil moisture sensor that determines watering needs

Note: When shopping for a smart sprinkler controller, look for the WaterSense label and check to see if any rebates are offered in your area.

Smart light fixtures

Since lighting accounts for about 6% of electricity usage in U.S. homes, smart light bulbs can help you lower the size of your electricity bill.

In addition to using energy-efficient LEDs, smart light bulbs let you control your lights from anywhere via your smartphone. Sync them to your family’s daily routine and turn off lights you’ve forgotten about when you’re away. You can also adjust their dimness and color temperature. Some bulbs even have motion and/or ambient light sensors to allow for dynamic adjustment that optimizes efficiency.

Whether you incorporate one or many of these smart home devices into your everyday life, you’ll be moving toward more efficient energy usage — and potentially saving money on your electricity bill.