The Most Cost Effective Devices to Cut Your Winter Energy Bill in Half
Whether you live in the snowy midwest or the warm West Coast, many people’s energy bills skyrocket in winter due to increased utility costs, from heating to warm the house to electricity bill for holiday cooking and light decorations.
Although the U.S. makes up only 4.5% of the world’s population, Americans consume 20% of the world’s energy and 64% of our electricity generation comes from burning fossil fuels. With concern for the environmental impacts of energy consumption, including air and water pollution, global warming emissions, and damage to public health, we can do our part to reduce energy use in our homes while also saving money on our utility bills. These three devices can help you cut your winter energy bill in half.
1. A Smart Thermostat
Cooling and heating account for 48% of a home’s energy use, making it the most significant energy expense. A smart thermostat can help you save on your heating expenses this winter. The Nest Thermostat is one of the most popular on the market. It learns your temperature preferences and, when you’re away from your home, adjusts to an eco-friendly temperature.
Pre-Nest usage, homes in Nest’s independent study used an average of 774 therms of natural gas per year and 12,355 kWh per year of electricity. With the Nest thermostat, these homes cut back around 56 therms per year of natural gas and 585 kWh per year of power.
Combined, these therms and kWh is equivalent to cutting back on CO2 emissions from 801 pounds of coal burned! Beyond environmental benefits, you can save up to $145 per year on heating and cooling costs. As the Nest Thermostat costs $249 per year, this device can pay for itself in as few as two years.
2. Smart Light Bulbs
Until a few years ago, most homes relied on incandescent light bulbs as they were significantly less expensive than LEDs. However, incandescent lighting is inefficient, converting just 5% of its energy into light. Running a 60-watt light bulb for five hours per day at $0.10 per kWh costs $10.95 per year to operate—and that’s for a single light bulb.
Today’s smart LED light bulbs are more affordable than ever and eco-friendly. The Philips Hue is a smart bulb that uses just 9.5 watts for the same lighting as that of a 60-watt incandescent bulb. As these bulbs use about 25% to 80% less energy, replacing your home’s five most frequently used light bulbs with a smart LED bulb can save you $75 per year.
A four-pack of Philips Hue bulbs costs $49.99, which can pay for itself in around one year. Plus, with a 25,000-hour lifespan, LED bulbs last much longer than an incandescent, which lasts roughly 1,200 hours. So you also save money by not having to replace the bulbs as often.
3. Smart Plugs
Many people don’t realize that plugged in appliances and electronics consume energy even when they’re powered off. A study of California residential homes found that powering idle devices (“phantom energy”) accounts for nearly 25% of residential homes’ energy consumption.
When the average home uses 897 kWh per month of energy, this percentage means phantom energy accounts for around 224 kWh per month of energy, or 2,688 kWh per year. This is equivalent to greenhouse gas emissions from 4,903 miles driven by a car! And in terms of costs, it’s equivalent to $268.80 per year at $0.10 per kWh.
The Wemo® Insight Smart Plug lets you remotely control any device you plug in so you can turn them on or off to cut off power to the device. Through the Wemo app, you can also monitor how much energy a device uses, helping you save on energy costs. For example, a Samsung cable box uses around 26 watts when turned off, adding up to 227 kWh each year, equivalent to 185 pounds of coal burned. At $0.10 per kWh, using the smart plug can save you $22.70 per year. Priced at $49.99, the Wemo smart plug can pay for itself in two years.
Remember, along with these smart devices, it’s beneficial to use a home automation hub to control them all and make sure they can talk to one another. Connecting your thermostat with newer home security systems can let you watch your energy consumption and secure your home from one app. This can help you save even more on your bills or even claim discounts to offset energy bills.
Through home automation devices, you can reduce your environmental impact while also saving money on your energy bill. What smart devices do you currently use or plan on using to save money this holiday season? Comment below and share this post!
About the Writer
Krystal Rogers-Nelson is a freelance writer with expertise in home security, smart homes, green living and family safety. As a homeowner and mother of a rambunctious toddler, she enjoys DIY house projects, gardening, and arts and crafts projects.. When she’s not writing or researching, you will probably find her streaming late night comedy shows, playing outside or planning her next family travel adventure. You can find more of her work here: https://krystalrogersnelson.contently.com/