Smart Home Energy Savings: 4 New Year’s Resolutions
The start of a new year marks a tradition to make resolutions. You may wish to save more, waste less, be more productive, and smarter overall with your tax return dollars.
With this year’s tax refund, consider converting your home into a “smart home” for maximum energy savings. Let’s review some popular devices that provide easy budget savings:
Change Bulbs to Smart LED’s for Maximum Savings
Smart LED bulbs consume far less energy thanks to features such as scheduling power-on times and activation by motion. Use them in the areas with the highest usage to save the most energy and even add color to suit your mood.
An LED lightbulb has a lifespan of around 14 years. The average incandescent light uses around $15 per year in electricity, while the LED uses only about $2.50. Multiply that number by however many bulbs are currently installed in your home, and the smart home savings are sure to climb!
Use a Smart Thermostat to Reduce Heating and Cooling Costs
Nest Labs recently conducted a study which suggests that having a smart thermostat offered home energy savings of up to 12 percent on heating and 15 percent on cooling annually for an approximate savings of $145 per year.
In this scenario, a $250 thermostat would pay for itself in just under two years and keep the savings coming for years to come. Visit energystar.gov to check for rebates in your zip code.
Note: If you reside in an area with milder temperatures, you may not see the same savings as someone in a climate with significant temperature fluctuations.
Eliminate Phantom Power Usage with a Smart Plug
Phantom power refers to appliance energy consumption that occurs when the item is not in use (also referred to as vampire loads). From coffee makers to your beloved computer, nearly any appliance with an LED screen is guilty of some degree of phantom energy consumption.
Consider adding a smart plug which allows you to shut off power to the appliance entirely and prevent energy draw until it is needed. Plugs like the TPLink, iDevice Switch or GE branded plug-in can be remotely turned-on and off from a smartphone or programmed to a schedule for smart home energy savings that add up over time.
Install a Camera or Two for Home Security
Cameras are often the first line of defense for your home. They can also provide some financial savings during unexpected emergencies. In the case of a break in, damage-causing accidents, or natural disasters, cameras act as activity logs and video evidence for your insurance claim. Some insurance companies will even accept screenshots as evidence for a claim.
Many of these cameras can record continuously. This feature enables the camera software to send you alerts of any unusual activity or allow you to retrieve previous clips. This may be helpful in the event there is a need to share evidence with the authorities.
Connected home devices allow you to maximize your energy usage and monthly utility savings while providing added peace of mind. By investing in simple upgrades, you can turn your home into a smart home and maximize your household budget at the same time.
Need to file a tax return, but aren't sure how to start? Get some tips for the first time tax filer and learn how H&R Block can help.
Many life events can introduce financial stress. Guest contributor Madeline Cronin discusses how to deal with financial planning through various life stages.
Hoping to make the most of your money during the summer holidays? Get budget travel tips to save cash on family vacations with H&R Block.
Learn more about the tax benefits of college savings accounts like 529 plans and Coverdell ESAs with the experts at H&R Block.