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It's the digital age, and there's no reason not to take advantage of it. Smart products give you the ability to automate tasks, control your devices from anywhere and can help you save on your electricity bill.
However, with countless options to choose from, getting the right smart home products for you can be difficult. This post is here to help you understand the different types of smart appliances and what you can get out of them.
ElectricityRates.com also features great deals on smart products when you switch electricity providers. Be sure to stick around to the end of this post to see if you can find the perfect smart solution for your home.
Why Should You Purchase Smart Home Products?
You've gotten this far in life without any smart products. Why would you need them now?
Well, for almost anyone, smart products can provide three benefits that will make your life easier: automation, control and energy efficiency.
All smart products can be automated in one way or another so you can set it and forget it.
- Schedule lights to turn on or off at certain times of the day.
- Set your smart speaker to play music when you wake up.
- Have your smart thermostat automatically turn off when you leave your home.
- Have smart locks lock the doors to your home at night.
And that's really the tip of the iceberg. There are so many smart devices out there that your customization options can be endless.
If you have a cellular or WiFi connection, you can control any of your smart devices. Today, that pretty much means anywhere, at any time.
Are you laying in bed and it's just too hot? Turn on your fan or A/C without having to get out of bed through your smartphone.
Left the house but you're not sure whether you left the lights on? Check your phone and turn them off with ease.
A report by the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE) measured the impacts smart home products can have on a home's energy consumption:
- Smart appliances and electronicsranging from smart clothes washers to smart speakers and hubscan reduce energy costs by 2-9% depending on the household.
- Smart lights can potentially cut energy consumption anywhere from 7-27%.
- Smart outlets and power strips can cut usage by 50% in some households.
- Smart thermostats on average can cut heating costs by 10% and cooling costs by 8%.
With your ability to automate and control your smart products, the likelihood of you wasting electricity by accidentally leaving your heating on or something similar will be lower. This means you will use less electricity, and therefore, have a smaller electricity bill at the end of the month.
Different Types of Smart Home Products and What They Do
There are countless smart products that each have their own unique capabilities. It would be impossible to analyze them all.
To simplify this and get you all the information you need to start building your smart home, this section will showcase some of the main smart product categories. That way, you can see the key features you can take advantage of with each type of smart product.
Smart hubs are the brains of the operation. It communicates with all the other devices and tells them what to do.
Smart hubs are not 100% necessary. Many smart products can connect to your smartphone through WiFi. However, there are many reasons why you should seriously consider getting one:
- Smart hubs allow you to control all of your devices through one app, making controlling devices easier and more convenient.
- Certain smart hubs can let you control your devices through voice control.
- If you want to control devices that use a specific communication protocol outside of WiFi, you will need a smart hub that can use that communication protocol.
Essentially, if you want to take maximum control of your electronics and don't want to be limited in your smart product selection, getting a solid smart hub is the best way to go.
Smart Light Bulbs
There are hundreds of different types of smart light bulbs out on the market today and all have their own capabilities. Some require a smart hub, while others can communicate directly with your phone through WiFi.
For the basics, most smart light bulbs will let you control them remotely and let you schedule when they are on or off. More advanced lights will let you change the color, brightness and tone of each individual light.
Depending on the model, smart thermostats offer a wide range of capabilities. Here are some of the most notable:
- You can check and manage your thermostat from anywhere
- Smart thermostats can learn your habits and automatically set the temperature for you
- It can track how long your HVAC system is running any particular month
- If you let it know your location, it can put your system in eco-mode when you leave the house
All of this combined can help you cut back on your HVAC usage and help you save money on your energy bills. Again, this is all depending on the model. If you really want a specific feature, check the specs of the smart thermostat before you buy it.
Also, some utility providers will provide discounts on smart thermostats. In Texas, for example, both CenterPoint and Oncor have customer programs that offer $50 discounts on qualifying smart thermostats. Be sure to check with your local utility company to see if you can take advantage of any discounts or rebates.
Smart Plugs and Power Strips
Smart plugs and power strips give you the ability to remotely control devices whether they are smart devices or not. This also means you can set timers on any electronic device, from lamps to coffee makers to fans.
Since sleeping or charged devices can still drain small amounts of power when plugged in, smart plugs can help you save energy by cutting power off to those specific outlets. If you shell out a little more cash, some plugs can measure how much energy that outlet uses.
Electricity Plans With Smart Home Bundles
If you live in an Energy Choice state, you can likely switch to one of the following electricity plans with smart product bundles through ElectricityRates.com. To switch, enter your ZIP Code at the top of this page and select one of the following plans.
Constellation's PowerPlug Lighting Kit
If you want to get started with some beginner smart products, Constellation offers electricity plans that come with its PowerPlug Lighting Kit (a $99 value). This bundle includes one smart plug and two smart light bulbs. The smart plug included in the package acts as a smart hub and can communicate with other Z-Wave smart devices, giving you room to expand with other smart devices in the future.
TriEagle Smart Energy Plan
In states where TriEagle serves, you can switch to its SMART Energy electricity plan. TriEagle partnered with Connected Savings to bring its customers this plan which comes with two things.
- An Energy ScoreCard – Each month you will get a report that tells you what's driving your energy consumption with tips on how to lower it.
- A WiFi Thermostat – With this thermostat, Connected Savings will combine historical usage with weather data to optimize your HVAC system to maximize efficiency.