In part 1 of this series, I talked about how you can potentially save some money on your energy bills with the use of a smarthome thermostat. But, those programmable and intelligent thermostats are only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to saving power with smarthome technology. In fact, there are a whole slew of products out there designed to help you manage your household more efficiently, and save some cash on power bills at the same time.
What’s a Smarthome?
While it is still in its infancy, the smarthome technology market is a growing industry, and there are more and more devices out there that let you control almost every aspect of your home via an iOS or Android app on your phone. You can choose from several gadgets and build your own affordable and intelligent abode, or invest in an entire smarthome system that takes all the hassles out of managing a household.
What Kind of Products Are Out There?
You’ll find plenty of options out there for setting up a smarthome, and you’ll be amazed by the different devices available that you can install and monitor from practically anywhere. Take the TP-LINK HS100 Wi-Fi Smart Plug… well, you can’t take it, that would be stealing, but if you were to buy one, you could plug anything into the smart plug and then control it remotely using an app on your phone. So, you can turn on or off appliances in your home while you’re at the office, or use the plug’s scheduling function to automatically power something on or off during the day as needed. It even has an “away” mode that will turn your appliances or lights on and off at different times to simulate someone being at home.
A bit of a step up from just an ordinary smart plug, is the Philips Hue Lux A19 Smart LED Light Bulb Starter Kit, which lets you dim, brighten and completely control the lighting in your home with a swipe of a finger on your tablet or phone. The kit features energy efficient light bulbs, and in addition to being able to adjust brightness and synching with your smart devices, you can also set alarms, timers, geofencing, and soft security elements.
Speaking of security, the August Smart Lock gives you easy access to your home without the need for keys or a code. This Bluetooth smart lock lets you control who enters your home and for how long, and you can even set it to sense (with GPS and your smartphone or tablet) when you are near home so it will automatically unlock the door for you. No more fumbling for keys again! Okay, this one may not save you power, but it will save you the stress of trying to find your keys while holding bags of groceries. You can even check the lock’s status or unlock the door remotely with your phone or tablet.
But, as someone who loves to cook, but has little time to do so during the busy work week, the Crock-Pot Wi-Fi WeMo Smart Slow Cooker has to be my most coveted smarthome device. The six-quart cooker lets you control the cooking functions remotely using an iOS or Android app, so you can adjust cooking time, temperature, shift to warm, or turn off the cooker right from your smart device while at the office or gym. And that’s just a little sampling of the gadgets you could add to your household for convenience, control and to save a bit of energy. But the list also includes things such as smart speakers, smart security cameras, air quality sensors, garage door openers and a lot more.
The Home of the Future
I know it all sounds like technology straight out of The Jetsons or some futuristic world, but smarthome gadgets are becoming more and more mainstream. As the “Internet of Things” infiltrates our daily lives, and all our stuff becomes connected online, we’re entering a new age of time, energy and money saving like never before. Also, our phones and tablets are going to be brimming with apps, apparently.
But that’s the price you pay for saving power with smarthome technology.