Articles

Smart Home: Saving Money with Tech

Wednesday, May 09, 2018

It’s almost that time of year again, the time when your air conditioner hums all day long and your energy bill skyrockets. Fortunately, there’s a way to tamp down those costs: smart home technology.

Those energy-efficient devices may be an investment on the front end, but they can wind up saving you money over their lifespan. So how do they work? You can connect the devices to your Windstream internet and control them remotely with your smartphone or smart speaker.

In 2016, the average monthly electricity consumption for the average American household was 897 kilowatt-hours, and those households shelled out an average of $122.59 a month for their electric bills, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. And just the year before, just over one-third of those surveyed by The Harris Poll said they have at least one smart tech device, most being wireless speaker systems.

Here are some other energy-efficient devices our Windstream team thinks you should consider:

1. Smart Thermostats

Heating and cooling make up about half of your entire energy consumption at home, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. Check out Nest Learning thermostats, which are Energy-Star certified. Nest thermostats will learn what temperature you prefer at what times and will automatically adjust to fit your schedule. If your schedule gets off kilter, you can adjust temperatures from your smartphone, tablet or laptop.

2. Smart Lighting

The U.S. Department of Energy says the average household dedicates 5 percent of its energy budget to lighting. Try Philips Hue lights, which you can control through your smartphone, tablet or laptop, along with voice apps, such as Amazon’s Alexa or Google Assistant, should you need to turn off your lights remotely. You can also save money by dimming these lights without any other installation or setting them on a timer. The lights are also color-customizable as one Fortune editor programmed her Hue lights to turn red when she received a text from her boss. Other Hue lighting products can mimic the daytime or nighttime and have motion-sensor capabilities.

3. Smart Plugs

Smart plugs, like this one from Belkin, fits right into the outlet in your home’s walls. Plug your appliances, beauty products or even your lights into this smart device to control them from wherever you are. If you desperately need a cup of coffee by the time you get home from work, connect your coffee maker with the smart plug and — provided you have the ground beans and water already in there — it’ll be waiting for you. Or if your daughter has left her hair straightener on in the rush to get her to school, turn it off from work. Some of these devices can also be paired with Nest Home-Away controls and voice apps.

4. Smart Appliances

Refrigerators, washing machines and vacuum cleaners, oh my! Many of these appliances already have touch-screens. Some come equipped with Wifi capabilities, so there’s no need to buy more parts. Take, for example, smart refrigerators. Capabilities differ by product and brand, but some now allow you to create a grocery list on the appliance and have that uploaded to the same list accessible by your smartphone. Other fridges include a camera so you can see what you already have and what you might have missed. They’re now able to connect to your television shows or music for the ultimate cooking experience.

The Smart Home market is only going to grow, according to forecasts, and with the convenience of it all — and the possibility of cutting costs — it’s to be expected. Check out our Windstream electronics page to see how we can help you save with our energy-efficient devices.