Try these smart plugs and smart led bulbs End-shutdown


Utility rates are through the roof.

According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, Consumers paid 14.3% more for electricity last year, on average, than in 2021. By the way, this is more than double the overall price increase of 6.5%, according to consumer price increase data released in January.

You may also be feeling the heat in your wallet, with natural gas costs rising this winter as well.

But savvy homeowners are opting for “smart home” devices that can help you keep more of your money, whether it’s cutting energy costs, sensors to prevent water damage, and choosing cameras that don’t require a monthly fee for storage. on the cloud. .

Here are some devices that can help reduce energy costs:

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Does a smart thermostat make a difference?

“Connected” thermostats let you conveniently adjust heating and cooling settings on a phone, tablet or laptop, but they can also learn your schedule and automatically optimize the temperature in your home.

Price of $129.99, google nest Thermostats can be automatically lowered when you leave the house, so you don’t waste energy in an empty house. A feature called Savings Finder suggests more ways to save by adjusting your schedule.

Similarly, Energy Star certification amazon smart thermostat ($79.99) can save an average of $50 on annual energy bills, the company says.

The first to introduce a smart thermostat in 2007, ecobee offers smart thermostats starting at $149.99 (ecobee3 lite), saving you up to 26 percent on your annual heating and cooling bill. Therefore, the company claims, the device pays for itself over time.

In addition to easily adjusting temperature and comfort settings from an app, a smart speaker, or via the thermostat’s 3.5-inch touchscreen, ecobee3 lite can be easily programmed to suit your schedule or sync wirelessly with optional sensors. for greater precision, room by room. control.

Is it worth buying LED lights?

Sure, LED lights cost more, but you’ll save money in the long run. A 60-watt equivalent, for example, might be just 7.5 watts for comparable lumens to an LED light, not to mention they can last considerably longer, saving you even more.

There are also Wi-Fi-enabled smart LED bulbs, which allow you to set schedules and timers, remotely access your lights (such as turning lights off via an app), or, when paired with room sensors, make lights lights turn off automatically. when someone leaves the room.

Smart LEDs, like Philips Tone A19 Bluetooth Smart LED bulbs ($49.99 for a 4-pack), so you can use your voice to control them (via Amazon Alexa or Google). There are also colored bulbs, but they cost more.

Save on surveillance cameras, lighting

Cameras outside your home give you peace of mind, whether it’s a single video doorbell, an entire surveillance system, or something in between.

While Amazon’s Ring family and Google’s Nest Doorbell can talk to a visitor live through the app, and whoever’s at your door won’t know you might not be inside, keep in mind that you have to pay to access to previously recorded videos.

That is, to review what you missed a few hours or days earlier and access other features (like sharing videos and photos), you’ll need a Ring Protection Plan (starting at $3.99 per month or $39.99 per year) for Amazon devices, and a Nest Aware subscription for the Google Nest doorbell (starting at $6/month or $60/year).

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A 2-in-1 solution, the Lorex 2K The Wired Floodlight Security Camera ($249.99) is both a surveillance camera (with color night vision) and a motion-activated light (with multiple LEDs), with no monthly fees to store and access your footage. A pre-installed (but expandable) 32GB microSD card keeps your data offline, plus you can access videos through the app and engage in a two-way chat with a visitor.

An automatic framing feature tracks and zooms in on a person, vehicle, or animal, and you can send them relevant notifications via the app.

Reduce energy use with monitors, smart plugs

After connecting it to your electrical panel, solutions such as scythe (starting at $299), from Schneider Electric wiser family (starting at $299), or emporia Vue Energy Monitor solutions (starting at $84) provide homeowners with actionable information on energy usage and activity, in real time.

With the companion app, you can see a color-coded view of your home’s energy usage, create custom notifications (like when devices are on or off), analyze trends, and set goals.

On a related note, inexpensive smart plugs can give you greater control over all your devices and reduce “vampire power,” which refers to plugged-in electronics that, even though they’re turned off, still “suck” electricity and therefore so much, they cost you money. (Large appliances are often the culprit, but there are others, too, like TVs, sound systems, and video game consoles.)

Insert a smart plug into your AC outlet, and then plug something into the smart plug.

For as low as $6 each when purchased in a 4-pack, popular smart plug brands include Belkin Wemo, Eve Energy, and Kasa by TP-Link, and you can then set schedules or timers, or use your voice to ask. to your smart speakers to do it.

For example, set your dishwasher to only run during off-peak hours to save money on electricity costs.

Avoid costly water damage

Finally, water shutoff valves, like Flo by Moen (starting at $499.99), connect to your home’s water supply and can sense flow, temperature, and pressure throughout your home. It can detect a problem like a frozen or burst pipe, or if a child left the bathroom faucet running, and can turn it off and notify you through the app.

There are no monthly fees, and home insurance providers may give you a discount if you have it installed, Moen says.

If you don’t have the budget, a more affordable solution is D-Link’s Whole Home Smart Wi-Fi Water Leak Sensor Starter Kit ($69.99), which includes two sensors in the box (expandable up to 16) for Place around a water heater, washing machine, sump pump, or anywhere there may be a potential water leak.

You’ll be notified immediately if a leak is detected, thanks to a loud 100-decibel alarm, flashing lights, and a Google smart speaker could also announce a problem.

If you’re not home and detect moisture, you’ll receive a notification via a companion app.

Follow Marc on Twitter for his “Tech Tip of the Day” posts: @marc_saltzman. Email him or subscribe to his Tech It Out podcast. Points of view and opinions expressed in this column are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of USA TODAY.

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