Winter warmers: Save money on utility bills using your smartphone
Posted on May 28, 2015
5 min read
For most of us winter is setting in. If you’re like me, the reduced hours of daylight sees me hibernate, spending more time at home – staying warm, cooking, watching TV and entertaining.
For some of you, wet weather has the kids stuck inside – meaning more TV and computer time. The washer and clothes dryer are working overtime to get those weekend muddy sports clothes clean and, with everyone at home so much, the dishwasher and stove are getting a good run.
But thankfully, you can save money on those power bills simply by using your smart phone or tablet. Here’s how:
Household appliances account for up to 30% of your home energy, so buying the most energy efficient ones can save you money.
The Australian Government’s Energy Rating App uses the Energy Rating that appears on over 7,000,000 appliances in Australia every year to calculate the cost of running the appliance over its lifetime.
What I love is that it’s the perfect shopping companion for when you’re thinking of purchasing the likes of a new fridge, hot water service, washer, clothes dryer or television – those big ticket items that also chew through big amounts of electricity. You can use the app to see not only what that new fridge is going to cost you up front, but what it will cost to run, allowing you to make the best choice for the long term.
It also displays your power use in dollars instead of kilowatt hours, making it easier to know exactly how much an appliance is costing you.
Get Real Time Data
More than just a smartphone app, Wattcost helps me be greener and do my bit to save the planet. It uses revolutionary sensors that connect to the energy meter to deliver accurate data.
Using this meter-to-mobile technology, you can track the energy use of every appliance in your home (or business) in real time, and manage your electrical efficiency.
What I love about this app is that it provides tips on how to optimise energy use, such as when to use the clothes dryer to get off-peak savings.
Connect Your Heating
The Internet of Things is changing the way we live, allowing us to connect more and more home appliances with Wi-FI.
Many new home air and heat units come with a wireless remote and app.
I use LG’s Smart AC (works with the split heating/cooling system). It comes with a wireless device that connects to the indoor unit and controls the settings and the functions (lowering or raising the temperature) via my smartphone.
It also comes with a child lock feature on the wall panel (a good add-on for roommates or guests), which prevents you coming home and finding your home set at Hawaii or Antarctica. The app allow you to control the unit from anywhere and lets you monitor usage so you can see when you’re using the most power.
If you’re one of those people, who love a gas fireplace, companies such as New Zealand-based Escea, have launched a range of stunning gas fireplaces that feature a world first: inbuilt WiFi connectivity, called Smart Heat which gives you the ability to control your fireplace from your smart phone. However the big rug and bottle of wine you’ll want to enjoy in front of it are optional.
Be At Home – Even When You’re Not
I’m in the process of installing Belkin’s WeMo LED lighting – which use their special bulbs. It costs a little more to install, but once you’re set up, it’s easy. I can dim my lights, turn them on or off from outside the house, or create a custom schedule that works for when I am home.
WeMo also have a Smart Switch that you plug your appliances into via the wall socket. This makes it easy to set schedules for appliances and electronics, and to turn devices on and off by the remote app.
This app is awesome simply because, if you’re like me, and are often half way to work when you remember you left the TV on, you can switch it off at the wall via your phone. It also means you can power up the house before you get home, set the lighting for that hot date, or turn off the music if the neighbour calls and says the kids are being too loud.
The above is a personal article and part of it is based on third party product descriptions, without further research; any commentary on third party products in the article is not intended to be an endorsement by Telstra, which has no association with the mentioned products unless expressly stated otherwise.
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