How much can you save with smart plugs?

Answered by Ricardo McCardle

Smart plugs can indeed help users save energy and reduce electricity bills if they are used effectively. The amount of savings you can achieve with smart plugs will depend on various factors such as the number of devices you connect to the plugs, your usage patterns, and how efficiently you utilize the features of the smart plugs.

A study conducted by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory and CLEAResult found that using smart plugs can save between 1% and 4.58% of energy usage annually. This translates to approximately 500-1000 kilowatt-hours (kWh) saved per year. However, it’s important to note that these savings are not guaranteed for every user and can vary based on individual circumstances.

To maximize your savings, consider the following tips:

1. Identify high-energy consuming devices: Start by identifying the devices in your home that consume the most energy. These are typically appliances like refrigerators, washing machines, air conditioners, and heaters. By connecting these devices to smart plugs, you can better monitor and control their energy usage.

2. Set schedules and timers: Smart plugs allow you to schedule specific times for devices to turn on and off automatically. For example, you can program your smart plug to turn off your TV and entertainment system during the night when they are not in use. This reduces standby power consumption and extends the lifespan of your devices.

3. Monitor energy usage: Many smart plugs come with energy monitoring features that allow you to track the energy consumption of connected devices. This data can help you identify energy-hungry devices and make informed decisions about their usage.

4. Utilize smart home integration: If you have a smart home ecosystem, you can integrate your smart plugs with other devices like smart thermostats or voice assistants. This integration enables you to create more advanced automation scenarios that optimize energy usage. For instance, you can have your smart plugs turn off automatically when leaving the house or in response to voice commands.

5. Consider occupancy sensing: Some smart plugs have occupancy sensors that can detect whether someone is in the room. By using these sensors, you can automatically turn off devices when no one is present, reducing unnecessary energy consumption.

6. Optimize standby power usage: Many devices consume power even when they are in standby mode. Smart plugs can help eliminate this “vampire power” by completely cutting off the power supply when the devices are not in use.

It’s important to note that while smart plugs can contribute to energy savings, their impact may be relatively small compared to other energy-efficient measures like upgrading appliances or improving insulation. However, when used in combination with other energy-saving practices, smart plugs can be a valuable addition to your home automation setup.

In my personal experience, using smart plugs has allowed me to have better control over my energy usage. By scheduling the operation of my devices and monitoring their energy consumption, I have been able to identify energy-hungry devices and make adjustments accordingly. While the savings may not be substantial on their own, the convenience and peace of mind that smart plugs provide make them a worthwhile investment for me.