4 Products That Will Save You Hundreds on Your Utility Bills
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If you're looking to save money every month, your family's home electric bill is a good place to start. Smart, green tech updates will save a lot of electricity — and money — over the course of a year. Even small changes add up quick.
From home heating to lighting, I've compiled a list of four simple tech upgrades for your home that will save you a combined $340 or more per year on your utility bills. Most can be installed yourself with a little bit of handyman know-how. And, once they're installed, these devices are smart enough to take care of racking up the savings.
Average savings: $240 per year*
One of the most powerful ways to save money on your home heating bills in the winter and electricity bills in the summer is to install a smart thermostat like the Ecobee4 Alexa-Enabled Thermostat. It takes indoor and outdoor humidity and temperature into account when cooling or heating your house, making temperature settings feel more consistent from season to season. And with extra sensors (one is included in the package), you can manage hot and cold spots in your home, adjusting heating and cooling elements as necessary. And, of course, you can always control settings manually on the thermostat itself or with your voice via Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant or Samsung SmartThings.
The Ecobee4 comes with Alexa built-in, so in addition to controlling the temperature, you can set timers, play music and more. The Ecobee4 is currently available for purchase through Amazon for $249. Be sure to check with your local utility to see if any special rebates are available to lower the price even further.
GE Z-Wave Plus Occupancy-sensing Dimmer Switch
Average savings: $10 per year per switch*
Does it seem like there’s one room of the house where the lights are always on, even though no one ever seems to be in there? Fight back against wasteful lighting with the GE Z-Wave Plus Motion Dimmer Switch. It’s a replacement for a standard light switch that senses when people enter and leave a room (from up to 30 feet away), turning the lights on and off as needed. It also works with Z-Wave compatible smart home hubs, including Samsung SmartThings, Wink, Nexia, Harmony, Honeywell, Pulse and Trane, so you can turn lights on with your voice via Amazon's Alexa or trigger a sequence of events when the switch senses motion. Smarter yet, if the GE sensor detects enough natural light, the switch stays off. I like it for guest bathrooms, utility rooms and other places people typically stumble around looking for the light switch.
Belkin Conserve Switch Surge Protector with Remote
Average savings: $75 per year*
Your home entertainment center is likely hiding a large number of energy vampires – devices like video game consoles that can suck up large amounts of electricity even when they’re not in use. The Belkin Conserve Switch Surge Protector fights back against this problem in a unique way by offering a remote switch that can turn up to six connected devices 100% off from 60 feet away. Just as importantly, this strip also offers two always-on slots for anything that truly does need power 24/7. The Conserve Switch has 1,000 joules of surge protection and is backed by a limited one-year warranty and $100,000 connected equipment warranty.
You can find the Belkin Switch Surge Protector with Remote for sale at Amazon for $32.
Cree 3-Way LED Lightbulb
Average Savings: $8.08 per year per bulb*
If you're still using energy-wasting incandescent bulbs, the time is right to consider trying a smart LED light bulb. The 60-watt equivalent Cree Connected bulb put out up to 815 lumens of soft warm white light (2700K) or daylight (5000K). And because it has Zigbee wireless technology built-in, the bulb can be controlled by most smart home systems and Amazon's Echo Plus.
You can find the Cree Connected 60-watt replacement LED Lightbulb for sale on Amazon for $15 each. They are pricey, but consider that each one will save you approximately $8 per year on your electric bills over the cost of an incandescent.
*Based on average utility bill of $2,200 per year with heating/cooling consisting of 48% of total bill. Ecobee4 delivers 23% savings when compared to holding a steady temperature of 72 degrees.Estimate for the GE Smart Occupancy-sensing Dimmer Switch based on 1,000 wasted hours per year of 100W light. Estimate for the Belkin Conserve based on a TV, DVD Player, VCR, game console, subwoofer and compact stereo on but not active for 19 hours per day at $0.117 per kilowatt hour. Estimate for the Cree LED lightbulb based on use as a substitute for a 60W incandescent used 5 hours per day with an energy cost of $0.117 per kilowatt hour.
[Image credits: Go Green key via Shutterstock, Ecobee, Lutron, Belkin, Cree]
Updated 2/132018 with new product picks