One of the main reasons I started looking into Smart Home Technology was to see if there was any quality of life improvements I could apply to my everyday lifestyle – As such, this article explains the Best 3 ways to save money with a Smart Home.
How much money can I save with a Smart Home?
For a fairly active living space, with a TV, 2 Nintendo Switches, Amazon Fire Stick, PC, Laptop and a sound bar, I am wasting around £50 a year (That’s around $60-65) not using Smart Home Technology. Following the steps I tested, you can save more!
Whilst it may only save a small amount per bill, it really does add up, especially if like me, you have quite the beefy computer which costs a bomb to run even on idle.
I mostly waste power on various office devices such as my laptops, printer, extra monitors, TV and chargers.
Even when your device is on standby it will use electrical current and this is what we want to minimise! Saving money with home automation really is forward thinking.
I’ve purchased various plugs over the course of the last 2 years, not many have had great success, a lot of which have actually been discontinued (No idea why).
But I’m going to break down how much money you can save with smart home devices and why it’s a worthwhile investment.
Smart plugs definitely seem like a waste of money on the face of it, especially if you can just walk over and turn the plugs off at the wall, but if you’re here, chances are like me, you’re not very good at doing that every night.
I use my smart plugs to power everything on at 5:50am, so my floor lights start brightening with the sunrise at 6am (When I’m up to do my dailies). It’s honestly cut my electricity down (See below).
Whilst the value of this is still high, and when this was taken, April hadn’t finished. You can see the comparative difference between January, February, March & April. There’s a definite drop in usage.
It’s worth noting, I was on holiday at the start of April, so don’t hold that too closely, I would use March as a better comparison.
Here is what I found in terms of saving money
For a fairly active living space, with a TV, 2 Nintendo Switches, Amazon Fire Stick, PC, Laptop and a sound bar, I am wasting around £50 a year (That’s around $60-65).– Me! Earlier in the post!
For my office space, with two monitors, printer, RGB lights, Chromebook Laptop and wireless modem/router the waste is about £70 a year (which is around $90 dollars).
Whilst I’m not taking into consideration charging devices such as Smart Phones, you can see that having a Smart Plug really is a great investment after around about 2 years of owning them!
Given that it only takes 1 for an extension lead to plug into it, I really do think in the future, smart plugs which can be turned on and off by a variety of methods (Such as leaving your area via GeoLocation).
Saving Money with Smart Plugs
Smart Plugs can often be controlled by Apps, Voice, Scheduling and 3rd party tools such as IFTTT. There is a HUGE range of smart plugs, some I’ve used, some I’ve sold on and some I’ve out right thrown away.
In the case of saving money, I’m going to tell you the ones I suggest using and why, please do note most of these plugs cater to those in the UK.
My Top UK Smart Plugs
I recommend this purely because it just works. It’s built by Amazon themselves, so you know it has everything you need.
It requires no hub and has minimal power use. Perfect when you’re trying to Save Money with a Smart Home
This is one of my favourite smart plug when not using an extension lead (It’s a bit difficult with an extension lead).
It’s both compatible with Google Home & Alexa, it works with IFTTT, you can use its own app (Smart Life) to keep it on your network and it also has a schedule + Timer available via the app.
Everything available on the app can actually be done via voice as well!
I found this plug to be one of the quickest to setup.
Once you have the Meross app it’s literally a walk in the park.
It’s both compatible with Google Home & Alexa, it also works with IFTTT.
Meross boasts being one of the safer products, although I can’t quite test that theory! It does appear to be a product Amazon openly support.
I’m mentioning this Meross Smart Power strip simply because of the prior plug being so useful and the fact this has some of the better reviews.
This power strip can have each outlet controlled by it’s App, voice & IFTTT.
I do always suggest an extension lead with the USB ports on it, once you have them you honestly don’t go back!
Smart Bulbs that will save you money
LED Bulbs, which often include even the cheaper of the Smart Light Bulbs are more energy-efficient than most incandescent bulbs that you will find in your local supermarket but have a higher upfront cost.
As mentioned prior it can take 2 years alone to save money with your Smart Plugs, and bulbs are the same!
Different bulbs have different costs and some are better than others, no doubt you’ve heard the names Phillip Hue and LIFX in terms of being leaders in the Smart Bulb industry, however, there are some alternatives.
It’s going to be a definite long term investment, if you consider simply changing the price of your bulb and not the energy usage, you’ll see that the bulbs are often 5x the price of your standard bulb.
Popular brands like Philips Hue & LIFX can cost anywhere between £20 – £50 (It’s often better to buy a set). Philips standard bulbs (Non-LED) on estimate last for 11,000 hours whereas the LED bulbs last 25,000 hours.
In short, if you bought a lot of LED based lights, you’d end up saving money tenfold than if you bought standard Philips bulbs.
Another way of equating this is comparing a Philips Hue / LIFX bulb with a standard incandescent bulb.
Incandescent bulbs last for approximately 1500 hours (Between 1,000 and 2,000 hours), that means by picking up an LED replacement bulb, you’re getting an additional 10x the life span for much less energy consumption.
Philips Hue vs LIFX
- Easy to setup
- Cheap to run
- Has fittings for most sockets
- Works with Alexa & Google Home
- Compatible with Homekit & Siri Hue Bridge
- 25,000 hours of life
- Third Party Support
- AMAZING colours
- Expensive ecosystem
- Requires a Hue Bridge
- Not as bright as LIFX
- Easy to setup
- Cheap to run
- VERY bright
- Does not require a hub
- Lower up-front cost
- 25,000 hours of life
- Compatible with Alexa, Google Assistant/Home & Siri
- More expensive per bulb
- Not as compatible with external tools as there is no Bridge
Smart bulb comparison statistics
It’s a really tough choice for smart bulbs, but it really comes down to your preference, hopefully with this information you can make a decision on what is needed in your smart home!
|Philips Hue Bulb||LIFX Bulb|
|Length of Life||25,000 Hours||25,000 Hours|
|Colours||16 Million!||16 Million!|
|Bulb Wattage||10 watts||11 watts|
|Siri Support||Yes (With Bridge)||Yes|
|Alexa Support||Yes (With Bridge)||Not really|
|SmartThings Support||Yes (With Bridge)||Not really|
|Google Assistant Support||Yes (With Bridge)||Yes|
Saving Money with Smart Thermostats
I’m not going to bore you with the extremities with this as this relies more on your temperature of choice, the time of the year and how often you tweak it.
But it’s no surprise that heating your place is at least 1/4 of your bills, I myself spend just above the average household budget on my heating.
Smart Thermostats, however, adjust themselves to your comfort zone meaning it’s never too cold or too hot for you.
This rules out mold from dampness in your property and can long term save you money!
Having a Smart Thermostat can easily save you 25% of your total bill simply from no tweaking and regulated temperatures, all whilst being available at the click of a finger!
The best thermostat I’ve personally seen and used is the Echobee3, it has remote room sensors that communicate over your wifi connection to tell the hub the it’s either too hot or cold.
You can also program the Ecobee3 to turn the heating off before you’re home and switch it on the moment you’re back, it’s a pretty cool use of Geolocation.
The Ecobee sensors are quite unique in the sense that they also work with external tools via Homekit.
If you can find an Ecobee still being sold, it’s worth going for it! However, if you want to stay up to date, I’d recommend going with the Nest Learning Thermostat!
Did you know that a lot of energy companies offer discounts if you opt-in to use a Smart Thermostat? This stops the need for alternative utilities.
Some energy companies offer alternatives like the Nest Learning thermostat if you sign up with them. It’s worth getting in contact with your current heating provider!
Smart Home Appliances save money, it’s just a fact. You can’t argue the numbers but you can argue my choices! If you have any other suggestions please do email me or comment below!
Let’s get this discussion going!