Whether you live in Richwood, Katy, or Sugar Land, TX, home energy efficiency is likely at the top of your mind, especially during the hot summer months when utility bills can get out of control. Here are some recommended high-tech DIY solutions for your home.
Smart Power Strips
Power strips are a cost-effective method for adding convenient outlets where you need them, usually where a computer or home entertainment system is set up. When you turn off the equipment, set it to standby mode, and turn out the lights, pay attention to how many of your system’s LEDs are still illuminated. Those LEDs show that power is still actively being consumed. Smart power strips stop this. They automatically shut off power to devices that have entered standby mode. Standby mode is estimated to make up an average households’ energy consumption by about five to ten percent.
Smart appliances cover a range of products, such as dishwashers, refrigerators, ovens, laundry washers, and dryers, and they all share a common theme: connectivity. These appliances communicate with one another as part of a greater smart-household concept, but more specific to the topic here, they can communicate with the electric company about energy usage.
Though purchasing and installing a smart appliance is technically a DIY project, being tech-savvy is helpful. A smart appliance requires configuration with your home network and it will need a mobile device, such as a mobile phone or tablet, to act as a controller. The flip side is, however, your home needs to be located on a smart grid. The smart grid enables the appliances to communicate information back to the utility company so they can look at your home’s energy usage pattern and recommend energy and money-saving steps. Check with your municipality to find out if your home is smart grid eligible.
Over the past few years a new generation of thermostats has come to the market that takes full advantage of the Internet and WiFi connectivity. It’s worth mentioning that some of the more complex smart thermostats require professional installation, so check the device’s requirements before you make your purchase.
Like the smart appliances, smart thermostats need a home WiFi network to connect to and a mobile app or a computer with a web browser to control it remotely. By remotely, we mean you can control it from anywhere inside your home, if you want to adjust the temperature a couple of degrees, but you can also access it while you are not home. Let’s say a sudden weather event is coming your way, which will make the outside temperature drop by thirty degrees. You will be able to shut off your air conditioning from where you are so you’re not wasting energy cooling your house.
The mobile app and web portal can give you access to energy reports so you can tweak your system for better efficiency. Depending on how your home system is set up, maybe you have connected a humidifier or air purifier to your smart thermostat, you can see in greater detail how those appliances are working along with your AC and heating units. In addition, the software enables you to program when the system turns on or off, when temperatures change for certain times of day, and set these schedules across a seven-day period to get the most efficient use out of your home comfort system.
One of the simplest devices on this list is a household energy monitor. You clip this inexpensive device on to the power cable entering your house, which transmits a wireless signal to a display giving you a precise minute-by-minute report of your household energy usage. Studies in Great Britain show that by using this type of device, households were able to save energy consumption by 10 to 15 percent. You can shut off electronics, make adjustments to thermostats, and receive live feedback for your energy-saving efforts.
If you’re looking for more information on the types of high-tech energy-efficient products mentioned above, call Davis Air Conditioning & Heating at (888) 710-5530 in Greater Houston or (888) 929-0049 in Angleton.
Image provided by Shutterstock