Many people say smart homes allow you to save electricity.
But some always argue that smart devices consume more energy.
It can get confusing. I know.
But don’t worry.
I’ll resolve this mystery based on my experience as a long-term smart homeowner.
Continue reading to find out:
- Whether smart homes use more electricity.
- 5 surprising facts about smart homes’ electricity usage.
- The hidden energy costs behind convenient smart homes.
- And this is just the beginning…
Do smart homes use more electricity?
Smart homes don’t use more electricity than traditional households. Because smart devices are more energy-efficient than regular models. In fact, estimates show that having a smart home saves up to 30% of your energy consumption.
And as a smart homeowner myself, my electricity bills support this claim.
However, despite a smart home using less electricity, on average…
There are also hidden energy costs behind this setup.
But don’t worry.
I’ll go through them in detail so you can avoid wasting electricity in the last part of these…
Smart home electricity usage: 5 surprising facts
#1: Smart plugs alone save energy in 9 ways
You don’t need dozens of devices to have an energy-efficient smart home.
Because just by adding smart plugs to your regular household…
You’ll be reducing your electricity expenses in 9 ways.
To give you some examples, here are the…
Top 3 methods to save energy with smart plugs:
Cut down phantom load
Many people think that once you tap your devices’ Power OFF buttons…
They’ll immediately stop consuming electricity.
However, this isn’t the case.
See, as long as a device is plugged into an outlet…
It’ll continue using energy.
And the electricity it consumes while it’s OFF is called a phantom load.
If you have a non-smart home…
Phantom load is about 10% of your energy consumption. Unless you unplug your appliances every night.
However, in a smart home, you can cut this percentage in half or even more.
Because smart plugs can reduce your phantom load by:
- Cutting OFF your outlets’ power at specific times.
- Letting you turn OFF your outlets through voice commands.
Maximize off-peak hours
Most US energy providers have designated off-peak hours.
This refers to the time of the day when people barely use their appliances.
And, if you consume electricity during these hours…
You’ll pay less than the regular per kWh rate.
Now, most off-peak hours span overnight.
So, inside a regular household…
Maximizing the cheaper electricity rate during this time isn’t easy.
After all, you’d have to wake up at dawn and manually turn ON your appliances to do so.
However, with smart plugs…
You can reduce your electricity expenses during off-peak hours with ease.
Because you’d be able to schedule your smart devices to turn ON whenever you want.
Track energy consumption
With a regular house setup…
Knowing which appliances are taking up most of your electricity consumption is hard.
But with smart homes, that’s extremely easy to do.
Because smart plugs can track how much kW plugged-in appliances are using.
If you want to see how this smart device works, watch this video:
Recommended reading: Are Smart Homes A Good Idea? 13 Pros & Cons (Updated)
#2: Smart appliances can limit their energy consumption
Most smart devices have built-in Power Saving Mode.
Which is a feature that allows them to limit the energy they use.
For example, the Google Nest thermostat has Eco Temperature.
And this allows your device to use a more energy-friendly temperature when you’re:
Hence, you’ll save money on your heating/cooling expenses without sacrificing comfort.
Fun fact: Nest’s smart thermostats can help you save up to 12% on heating bills. And 15% for cooling. So, on average, you can reduce your electricity expenses by up to $145 yearly.
“Do other smart devices have Power Saving Modes as well?”
Of course, they do.
But, most of the time, the name of this feature varies, depending on the device.
Smart TVs have Eco Modes that limit the picture settings you can use to save electricity.
On the other hand, smart refrigerators, like Samsung, use the term, Energy Saver.
And this feature maintains a 6°c temperature inside your fridge. So, you can protect your food from spoiling while reducing energy consumption.
See, most non-smart appliances don’t have Power Saving Modes like the ones mentioned.
Hence, you’ll save more electricity with smart homes.
#3: Smart refrigerators inform you when you’re wasting energy
Let’s say you forgot to close your refrigerator.
And it’s been open for the past 5 minutes. Wasting your device’s efforts and energy to maintain its low temperature.
Well, inside a non-smart home…
You’ll only notice that you’ve left your fridge open once you approach it again.
However, if you have a smart refrigerator, like the Samsung Family Hub model…
Your device’s app will notify you that you’ve left its door open by mistake.
So, you can prevent wasting electricity for long durations.
#4: Smart homes turn OFF appliances automatically
When I still had a non-smart home…
I regularly forgot to turn OFF some devices when I left the house.
Which resulted in me wasting hundreds of dollars on my electricity bills.
However, when I finally installed a smart home system…
I never had to worry about manually shutting down my appliances again.
Because smart homes have your back when it comes to energy saving.
See, voice assistants, like Alexa, will automatically turn OFF devices when you:
- Leave the house.
- Don’t use them after a certain amount of time.
Hence, you won’t waste money paying for electricity you didn’t purposely use.
Fun fact: You can also monitor and turn OFF your smart appliances remotely through an app. So, it’s easy to double-check that you’re not wasting energy with smart homes.
You might also want to know: 7 Ways Smart Homes Can Save Money (Updated)
#5: Smart devices are built to be more energy-efficient
Let’s use light bulbs as an example.
Regular models often come as LED or incandescent.
Now, the former type is extremely energy efficient.
Because it only needs 6-8 watts to generate brightness with 800 lumens.
In contrast, the incandescent type needs 9-10x more electricity to be as bright.
Evidently, LED is better.
And you know what’s the easiest way to buy this kind of light?
Getting a smart model.
Because there’s no such thing as smart incandescent bulbs available for purchase.
Note: The same idea applies to other smart appliances. For example, all smart TVs are energy-efficient. Because they exclusively use LED, not LCD.
So, if you don’t want to read long specification sheets when comparing device models…
Pick the smart version of a gadget to ensure it’ll save energy.
Bonus: Smart homes have hidden energy costs
Unfortunately, not everything about smart homes is eco-friendly.
Because these 2 factors make you use more electricity:
- Smart furniture.
- Smart cleaning gadgets.
Let me go through each of these in detail, starting with how…
Smart furniture makes you consume more energy
Once you experience the convenience of smart devices…
There’s honestly no turning back.
See, most of my friends just wanted to try a few smart gadgets at first.
But eventually, 1 purchase led to another.
And months later, on top of their regular electricity-powered devices…
They also started turning their furniture “smart,” including their:
- Window blinds.
As you know…
The regular models of these pieces of furniture wouldn’t have consumed electricity.
But since their smart versions require energy to operate…
My friends now have more devices contributing to their electricity bills than before. Ever since they transitioned to a smart home.
See, many smart homeowners eventually reach the stage where…
They feel like their current house setup just isn’t enough.
So, they’ll add more smart devices to the mix.
And while this pattern does make your smart home experience more convenient…
On the flip side, it means bad news for your electricity bills.
Because the more appliances you have, the higher energy you’ll consume.
Smart cleaning gadgets make you use more electricity
Here’s the most popular smart cleaning appliance:
A robot vacuum.
Now, this device is usually advertised as “more energy efficient.”
In comparison to regular vacuums.
Getting a robovac will likely increase your overall electricity consumption.
See, according to environmental Yale students…
Most smart homeowners with robovacs still use their handheld vacuums regularly.
Because the smart models can’t clean as efficiently as the traditional ones.
And, of course, by regularly using 2 vacuums instead of just 1…
Smart homeowners end up using more energy.
“Are there other cleaning devices that consume more electricity?”
Yes. Robot mops also increase your energy usage.
After all, if you use their traditional counterparts…
You won’t consume any electricity.