Why Smart Plugs Are Some Of The Best Energy-Saving Tech For Your Home

When you want automation for your home but don't want to burn a hole in your pocket to get it, opting for smart plugs may be a good compromise. With these devices, you get the best of both worlds, as they are able to turn most appliances into connected devices by simply plugging them into an outlet. You can use smart plugs to turn on lights, TVs, coffee makers, and holiday decorations, to name a few. 

Once these smart plugs are hooked up, you can remotely turn them on and off with your phone or voice assistants like Alexa or Google Assistant, assuming they have an integration with the AI options. Not only are using these IoT devices convenient, but they can also save around 1% to 5% of energy usage annually (via NREL). Because they don't require installation, they are easy to use — even for those who don't like tech. Here are a few reasons why these energy-saving devices are a great choice for anyone wanting to cut down on energy usage

You can make schedules

A smart plug's draw lies in its ability to make schedules that control when appliances receive power throughout the day. Once an appliance is plugged in, you are able to use a mobile app or a voice assistant such as Alexa to set the times you want it to switch on and off. This feature is especially useful if you have routines that involve leaving the house daily for work, school, or any other reason. With it, you no longer have to feel unsure if you forgot to leave the lights on or not because it's automatically taken care of. You can also use these plugs to set sleep timers for lamps, TVs, or holiday lights; they'll automatically turn off once the time you selected has passed.

Additionally, you can use a smart plug's scheduling features to run appliances during off-peak times when utility providers offer cheaper services (via CNET). These are typically late nights or early mornings when fewer people use electricity, though it'll vary a bit depending on your particular location. By automating appliances like dishwashers, washers, and dryers during those periods, you can save big on your electricity bill.

Eliminate phantom load for good

Another reason smart plugs are a wise energy choice is that they can help eliminate phantom loads, which refers to the energy a device uses when it's off or in standby mode. Popular home devices like TVs, audio systems, chargers, and video game systems are the worst offenders when it comes to wasting energy when they are not in use and increasing your electric bill, according to Energy Sage. In fact, according to the EPA, around 8% of your yearly electrical costs may be due entirely to these phantom energy demands.

That's why a device like a smart plug is good to have on hand: it lets you track energy usage so you are able to see which devices have the biggest phantom loads and need to be turned off completely. Interestingly, smart plugs have phantom loads as well, though they only use a watt or two of power when in standby mode. When compared to other devices, that is an extremely low amount, and smart plugs are ultimately efficient. As long as your appliances have mechanical switches — electronically controlled devices aren't compatible — they can be used with smart plugs to save you energy and money.