6 smart home products to keep cool while paying less this summer
These smart summer tech tips can help you save money and energy
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The temperature is going up but that doesn't mean your home energy bill should. Whether you're concerned about the cost of running your air conditioning all summer long or forgetting to turn the lights off, you can rely on on smart home devices like smart bulbs, smart thermostats, and smart plugs to help you save money on your home energy bill.
Here are six smart home products to keep cool while paying less this summer.
1. Keep cool with a smart thermostat
Smart thermostats can connect to any home Wi-Fi network, allowing users to tweak comfort levels from across the house or across the world.
The Nest Learning Thermostat can shave as much as $145 a year off electric and heating bills. If your utility company is one of the many that offers rebates and discounts for installing a smart thermostat, you can save even more.
The Nest Smart Thermostat offers remote control features so you can adjust the thermostat from anywhere, as well as scheduling and intuitive learning features. You can also access Home and Away modes that change the HVAC temperature based on your location.
If you want to monitor temperatures in more than one room, we recommend the Cync Smart Thermostat. The Cync Temperature Sensor is an additional purchase, but it does a reliable job of monitoring the temperature and humidity in a separate room, and adjust heating or cooling accordingly. The thermostat supports up to six sensors.
Tip: Enable your smart thermostat’s away feature, so it will automatically go into an energy-saving mode when you leave the house. No programming is needed!
- Get the Get the Nest Learning Thermostat at Amazon for $199
- Get the Cync Smart Thermostat at Amazon for $89
2. Turn on the fan
Air conditioners use about 6% of all the electricity produced in the United States. It may be hard to cut cooling during those sweltering months, but there are ways to keep costs and usage down, like a ceiling fan. Overhead fans can not only supplement air conditioning, but also keep that cool air circulating. You don't need to rush out and buy a new fan for your smart home.
You can turn most ceiling fans into smart ones with a smart fan switch. With a Wi-Fi-enabled ceiling fan switch, you can set the fan to a schedule. Users can also make manual tweaks remotely using an app, as well as voice commands via Alexa, Google Assistant, and Siri.
3. Make your plugs smart, too
If you already have an A/C unit or fan you like, it’s easy to add new features with a smart plug. These devices plug into any outlet, adding remote control and scheduling options from smartphones and tablets paired with an app.
For instance, if you plug your window A/C unit into the Wyze Smart Plug, you can turn the unit on and off from iOS and Android devices. It also supports voice control from smart assistants Alexa and Google Assistant.
Tip: If you opt to pair a smart plug with an air-conditioning unit, make sure that A/C has a mechanical switch versus a digital one, which defaults to the off position when power is cut.
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4. Close the shades when it's bright out
The sun is a great source of free heat in the winter. However, it can make a room unbearable in those summer months. Motorized shades and blinds can help your home keep cool.
These products allow you to open and close window coverings at the touch of a button. Some motorized shades have smart features, so you can actually program the system to open and close at set times as the sun moves across the sky, or to adapt to real-time weather conditions. There are a lot of excellent solutions out there, but they're also expensive.
If you want to go the DIY route, the Yoolax Motorized Blinds allows you to remotely control curtains and is compatible with Alexa.
Tip: Motorized window shades can save you money on more than just electricity; this solution can actually save furniture from sun damage.
5. Cool down your yard with a smart sprinkler controller
No one likes a brown lawn, but getting up early to turn on the sprinkler is also no fun. That's why you may want to look into a smart watering system that can water the lawn at predetermined times.
Smart sprinklers can also adjust based on weather conditions, seasons, water bans, and even your specific soil. The Rachio provides remote control watering, as well as updates based on local conditions. It offers support for Alexa, Google Assistant, Siri, Nest, and IFTTT.
Tip: Don’t set your system to water while you sleep; nighttime watering can promote mildew and fungus.
6. Get smart lights that turn off when you're not at home
Smart lighting is one of the best ways to keep costs down—all year round. Installing something as simple as a smart bulb or smart light switch can save energy (and money), ensuring that lights aren't left on in rooms that aren’t occupied. Smart bulbs like Phillips Hue and smart switches like the Lutron Caseta Smart Home Switch offering geofencing, which uses your phone's location to adjust the lights. Forgot to turn off the bathroom lights before leaving for work? No worries when you have smart lights with geofencing.
Smart bulbs and switches also allow you to control the lights remotely and set schedules, so you never have to enter a dark house, or tell the lights to turn on and off while you’re away. As an added bonus, these smart lighting system also works with Alexa, Google Assistant, and Siri, so you can bark out commands to your smart speaker or phone to douse the lights from under the covers.
Tip: Only 10 to 15% of the electricity that incandescent lights consume results in actual light—the rest is turned into heat. Seek out energy-efficient options, such as LED.
- Get Philips Hue Premium Smart Bulb on Amazon for $90
- Get Lutron Caseta Smart Home Switch on Amazon for $65
Prices were accurate at the time this article was published but may change over time.