At my local fair, one of my kids’ favourite stops is the table demonstrating electrical safety. Each year, they watch the demonstrator totally fry a dill pickle with an electrical current. And each year, I mostly zone out while they listen intently. This year, something caught my attention, though. The presenter was talking about saving energy by unplugging things like phone chargers because even if your phone’s not plugged in, those things are using electricity. Huh. She said the average home could save money every year just unplugging things like that and televisions. If you know me, you know I love saving money and this sounded like a pretty easy way to do that!
We’re big fans of choosing technology and devices that work to save energy around our home and I found some great tips at Save on Energy’s new site on how to get the most out of the gadgets in your home! All it takes is a few simple upgrades to save you money long-term – those fancy new gadgets need to be worth the investment after all.
Here are five gadgets that’ll help you save energy and money:
Smart thermostats are one of the best investments you can make, honestly. It’s a smart device that “learns” your patterns over time, and automatically adjusts your home’s temperature controls. You can control it through your smartphone, too, so if you’re away and want to warm or cool your home for your arrival, you can do that easily. Much like Santa Claus, the thermostat knows when you’re sleeping, when you’re awake, and when you’re at work, so it adjusts controls, saving you money and energy!
Also controllable via smartphones, these bulbs can be adjusted to be brighter, dimmer, and in some cases, even colours can be changed. Dimming bulbs saves energy (and money, remember?), and bulbs can be programmed to turn on and off at specific times, too. THIS is a great review of the many options on the market today.
Great for outdoor security, motion sensor lights turn on when someone or something passes by their sensor, and off a few minutes later. They’re also great for indoor use, though. We’ve got a motion sensor light for going down our basement stairs. Convenient, because we’re often carrying things like laundry baskets, and don’t have a free hand to flip a switch on, but also perfect because the kids forget to turn lights off after playing. It saves energy and money by not leaving lights on endlessly when nobody is in the room – this is pretty much my Dad’s dream come true since most of my childhood memories involve him saying, “TURN OFF THE LIGHTS WHEN YOU LEAVE THE ROOM!”.
This is a pretty standard consideration when buying appliances nowadays, but it’s also important to realize that if you’ve got a basement or garage freezer you store stuff in, it could be an energy sucker not an energy saver. Energy Star®ratings tell you which products will save the most energy, run the most efficiently, and in the end, save you moolah on your electricity bills.
Yet another clever piece of technology, smart power strips turn off any idle appliances. Remember at the start of this post when I talked about all those cell phone charger cables sucking up energy even when devices aren’t attached? (That’s often referred to as “phantom power drain”.) Smart power strips eliminate idle energy use by powering down unused products.
Studies estimate that these smart strips can save 5-10% of your household energy usage – isn’t that crazy?
There are countless ways to save energy here and there. For more handy info, you can visit Save on Energy, and learn how to lower your energy bills, strengthen your community, and help sustain our power system overall. Save on Energy equips Ontarians with incentives and tools to help us all understand and manage energy usage.