There is a dizzying array of smart home devices available to homeowners and renters in 2023: thermostats, locks, security cameras, speakers, door bells, power outlets, lighting systems, sprinklers, window shades. "If they have anything in common, it's that they make your life more practical and enable you to better control what's going on at your property," says Matthias Alleckna, an energy industry analyst with EnergyRates.ca. Along with that peace of mind, smart devices may also save you money. Here are the features to look for and how to keep your devices safe.
Energy-Saving Smart Home Automation Devices
Heating and cooling gobble up more than 50 percent of a typical home's energy use. Smart thermostats can bring down that cost by adjusting the temperature only when and where in the house it's needed. The Environmental Protection Agency has found that smart thermostats provide an average savings of 8 percent, although the savings may be more substantial in places that experience frigid winters, hot summers, or high energy prices.
Smart Plugs and Power Strips
Smart outlets and power strips save energy by cutting power to household products like TVs and computers that go into standby mode when they're not in use. So-called "vampire power" energy used by inactive devices costs each U.S. household an estimated $100-200 per year. Across the U.S. this wasted energy emits roughly the same amount of carbon as 8.4 million cars each year.
Smart outlets and power strips can be programmed to turn on and off on a schedule; others, like the Isole IDP-3050, operate via an occupancy sensor that can determine if someone is in the room or not. Energy savings for each individual plug can be as high as 50 percent for some households, according to the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy, a non-profit organization that advocates for energy efficiency policies.