The goal is to reduce the electricity bill. But is there any way to control your consumption? Home automation and ingenuity come together to create new gadgets that promise to help you spending less energy such as electrical meters connected to your mobile to plugs that claim to be "smart." But do they really save that much electricity?
In this article we will try to solve this dilemma.
1. Electric meter: to control electricity consumption.
The arrival of the hourly rate has not been easy to understand for the average consumer. Having to check daily the different prices of electricity in the wholesale market has not settled among most users. Neither has the user been able to enjoy great benefits by adjusting their tasks to the most economical rates.
A solution has been the launch of electric meters that control the consumption at all times. Thus, the less active consumer can receive recommendations on his mobile phone to reduce his electric bill without great complications, while the more active user may even have a more precise vision of how much electricity certain appliances connected to the mains are actually using.
But do they really save money? The answer is not that simple, since it depends a lot on the use that is given to it. First, they promise to reduce the bill between 10% and 15%. However, it should be taken into account that this type of equipment cost about 120 Euros, so you have to apply well all recommendations to amortize their cost.
2. The Google thermostat
Google also wants to a piece of the cake with the sale of their gadgets thanks to home automation. Thermostats that promise to control the temperature of our home to balance the well-being of the family and the cost of energy. You can remotely connect with your home from the smartphone to set the temperature before you arrive to your house.
Now, is this device worth the investment or not? Well, the version of this device is marketed in Spain for more than 225 Euros makes it possible and can have under control the boiler, central heating and the hot water. However, there is no air conditioning. Therefore, it is not the most interesting solution during the hot months and in this part of Spain we do tend to have long summers.
3. The smart plug.
Phantom consumption represents more than 10% of the total energy used in a home, according to data from the Institute for Energy Diversification and Saving (IDAE).
I wrote an article not long ago called “Appliances consume electricity even when you switch them off”.
The question is: can you avoid paying for leaving some devices in standby mode? This is the basis on which you can start saving with the new smart plug.
Its main function is to control the on and off of any device, either programming it or doing it from a mobile application. In this way, it is possible to turn on any device that is expected to need on arrival a few minutes before, such as the water heater, preventing it from consuming all day. It is also a good ally to create the illusion that there is someone at home when you are not, preventing any intruders from entering the home by programming the switching on and off during the day.
The question, once again is whether it compensates or not. In this case, the price of this plug is not much (less than 36 Euros), so amortizing it may take little time. So for savers, this is a good ally to start lowering the electricity bills without making a big initial outlay.
4. The smart meter, the device that everyone has or will have soon.
Home automation can be a great companion in the war against oscillations in the price of electricity. However, it is important to get the most out of one that is already installed and allows you to have a lot of information on consumption.
The large electricity companies take advantage of the intelligent meter to give real data on the energy expenditure that is done in each home. This information serves to have a control of what is consumed compared to previous months, as well as identify the hours in which more light is needed.
But, does it make savings possible or is it pure marketing?
First, it is a device that is compulsory, so its cost is already part of your receipt. However, it can be used for the benefit of the user. Thanks to this sneak, you can know if the rate is the most indicated. And, why keep a fixed price contract if the highest consumption is done at night? Moreover, if the situation were reversed, is there no company that offers a rate that fits our habits with lower rates? In short, this is the device that helps save the most if you pay attention and dedicate a bit of your time.