The goal is to reduce the electricity bill. But is there any way to control your consumption? Home automation and ingenuity come together to create new gadgets that promise to help you consume less energy, such as electrical meters connected to your mobile to plugs that claim to be “smart.” But do they really save that much electricity?
In this article we will try to answer this question.
1. Electric meter: to control electricity consumption.
The arrival of the hourly rate has not been easy to understand for the average consumer. Most users have not got accustomed to checking the different prices of electricity in the wholesale market on a daily basis. Neither has the user been able to gain significant benefits by adjusting their usage habits to the most economical rates.
A solution has been the launch of electric meters that control consumption at all times. Thus, the less active consumer can receive recommendations on their mobile phone to reduce their electricity bill without great complications, while the more active user may even have a more accurate view of how much electricity certain appliances connected to the mains are actually using.
But do they really save money? The answer is not that simple, since it depends a lot on the use that is made of it. First, they promise to reduce the bill between 10% and 15%. However, it should be taken into account that this type of equipment costs about 120 Euros, so you have to apply well all recommendations to recover their cost.
2. Google thermostat
Google also wants a piece of the action with the sale of their gadgets thanks to home automation. Thermostats that promise to control the temperature of our home to balance the well-being of the family and the cost of energy. You can remotely connect with your home from the smartphone to set the temperature before you arrive.
Now, is this device worth the investment or not? Well, the version of this device that is priced in Spain at over €225 makes it possible to control the boiler, central heating and water heater. However, it doesn’t include air conditioning. Therefore, it is not the most useful solution during the hot months and in this part of Spain we do tend to have long summers.
3. The smart plug
Phantom consumption represents more than 10% of the total energy used in a home, according to data from the Institute for Energy Diversification and Saving (IDAE).
I wrote an article not long ago called “Appliances consume electricity even when you switch them off”.
The question is: can you avoid paying for leaving some devices in standby mode? This is how you can start saving with the new smart plug.
Its main function is to control on/off switch of any device, either by programming it or activating the switch from a mobile application. In this way, it is possible to turn on any device that is expected to be needed on arrival a few minutes before, such as the water heater, so that it doesn’t need to switched on all day. It is also a good ally to create the illusion that there is someone at home when you are not, deterring any intruders from breaking in by programming the switching on and off during the day.
The question once again is whether it is worth it or not. In this case, the price of this plug is not much (less than €36), so recovering[dd1] the expense may take a little time. So for savers, this is a good ally to start lowering the electricity bills without making a big initial outlay.
4. The smart meter, the device that everyone has or will have soon
Home automation can be a great companion in the war against fluctuating electricity prices. However, it is important to get the most out of one that is already installed and that allows you to access a lot of information on consumption.
The big electricity companies take advantage of the smart meter to obtain real data on the energy expenditure in each home. This information means one can monitor consumption compared to previous months, as well as identify the hours in which more electricity[dd2] is needed.
But, does it make savings possible or is it just marketing?
First, it is a device that is compulsory, so its cost is already included in your bill. However, it can be used for the user’s benefit. Thanks to this trick, you can know if the rate is the most appropriate. And, why keep a fixed price contract if the highest consumption is at night? Moreover, if the situation were reversed, is there no company that offers a rate that better suits our habits with lower rates? In short, this is the device that helps save the most if you pay attention and invest a little of your time.
[dd1]To amortise in English means to depreciate an intangible asset.
[dd2]English does not refer to electricity as ‘light”