Let's help make your home smarter!
Remember those light timers we used to set to fend off possible intruders? We’d plug it into our lamps and outlets and crank it to make sure our lights turned on at a specific time in case someone walked across our lawns. Well, those got an upgrade and they’re called smart plugs!
Smart plug let you turn on and off any appliance that plugs into a standard wall socket via an app. The idea of smart plugs gets even better when you think about how they can help you save on your energy bill and assist you in altering your usage when wholesale electricity prices get high that 0.6% of the time. How do they help you save on your energy bill? Well, in case you didn’t know or connect the dots by now, smart plugs can be programmed with our IFTTT Home Automation so that you can use this technology to help alter your electricity usage.
Here are some cool things that you can do with smart plugs:
1). Set up lights to turn on and of during specific times of the day
This is much like the old-timey timers but now it can all be done on the smart plug of your choosing’s app so the light can be turned off remotely at any time. Or, like during a price spike *cough *cough, you can have them automatically turn off at a certain price point.
2). Set up for less vampire power
Sounds spooky, right? But it’s not. Vampire power is the electricity that your electronic devices use when they are on standby. That type of power can make up 10% of your electricity bill easily. Also, if you’re a green person, vampire power is roughly responsible for 1% of global CO2 emissions.
Some of the biggest vampire energy suckers in your house are 😈:
- Laptops and desktop computers
Fun fact: The average desktop computer idles at 80 watts, while the average laptop idles at 20 watts.
- Wi-Fi modems
- Printers and scanners
- TVs, DVD players and game consoles
Fun fact: Sony PlayStation 3 uses about 200 watts, both when it’s active and when it’s idle.
- Phone chargers
- Microwaves, blenders and other kitchen appliances
Fun fact: A microwave oven consumes more electricity powering its digital clock than it does heating food.
When you connect your appliances to smart plugs, you can switch them off from your phone when you’re about to leave the house or go to sleep. Or you can give them a schedule of when to turn off and on!
3). Get smarter with your mobile charging station
Did you know our device batteries don’t enjoy eternal life? It isn’t what they’re built for. They don’t need to be charged for 8+ hours at a time. In fact, that is actually bad for the batteries. You’re hurting them!
Most smartphone device manufacturers say their batteries last about 300-500 cycles. But for many of us it is a part of our routine to plug our phone in when we go to bed and not unplug it until the next day.
The ideal charge for your phone is about 2 to 3 hours. A smart plug lets you achieve just this without even having to think about it. By connecting your charger with a smart plug, you run it on a schedule that automatically turns off the power at a set time. This could save you thousands of dollars on replacing a new phone, not to mention you avoid vampire charging like we talked about earlier.
4). Make your dumb window AC unit smart
We know window A/C units already run expensive ranging from $200 to $500 at purchase. They do make up for that cost in longevity, but what if it could also make your life easier and save you money?
At the moment, when prices get high that 0.6% of the time, or even when the temperature changes, it leaves you running or sprinting from room to room to turn them off. Smart plugs are the inexpensive way to make your window unit smarter and something you can easily control from your phone. Or think bigger! You could connect your A/C window unit to our IFTTT home automation so that it turns off and on based on the wholesale price of electricity.
Before buying a smart plug for your window A/C unit do, first make sure it is compatible:
- Examine the power buttons. Is it a soft push button with an LED display? Or is it a mechanical switch that flips into different positions?
- If it is a soft push, the unit likely won’t work with a smart plug.
- If it’s a mechanical switch, you’re good to go!
- Still aren’t sure after you answered the above questions? Turn your A/C unit on, then unplug it. Wait five seconds, then plug it back in. If your A/C unit turns on without you pressing any buttons, then it will work with a smart plug!
5). Make your washer and dryer slightly smarter
Depending on your type of washer and dryer, you can plug them into smart plugs and get notifications when the laundry finishes on either machine.
To start, most washers plug into a standard 120V outlet which is compatible with a smart plug. But, with a dryer, most electric ones require a 220V outlet which most smart plugs are not compatible with. However, if your dryer uses natural gas, then it’ll run into a standard outlet to run the electronics.
If you’re going this route, you’ll also want a smart plug that can monitor energy usage and be able to send you alerts when your appliance goes over or under a certain amount of wattage. For this here is our recommendation: Belkin's WeMo Switch.
Once you’re all set up, you might want to create a rule that will send you an alert on your phone whenever the power consumption goes under five or ten watts, depending on your specific model/specific needs.
How does this help you with Griddy? Well, knowing your exact consumption can help you decipher a schedule for yourself on when to run your washer and dryer with the help of our projected prices in order to get optimal savings.
6). Fun stuff!
Turn off the TV with your voice
Plug your TV into a smart plug and get instant voice control – you’ll never have to lift a finger to find your remote again and continue to be what Burger King likes to call a couchpotatiriot.
In doing this, you will be able to turn your TV off or on using Siri, Alexa, or Google – depending on your smart plugs preferences. Plus, kiss those days of arguing with your kids to turn the TV off goodby. Just pull out your smart phone and shut it down… remotely!
Start your coffee from afar
What better way to start your morning than turning on your coffee maker right from your bed! In order to do this, your specific coffee maker will need to have an on/off switch rather than a power button. But not to worry, those aren’t too hard to come by! After that, set your coffee maker to a schedule and voila!
Put your curler or straightener on a schedule
Do you curl or straighten your hair daily? Well with a smart plug you can schedule your straightener or curler to turn on at 8:00am and turn off at 8:30am. Or, you could even remotely turn them off which helps a lot if you ever forget to unplug your appliances.
Program a light to change color with the wholesale electricity price
Believe it or not this something that can be achievable with a smart bulb and our IFTTT home automation. In fact, we already have a member doing this. They have the light bulb turn red during a price spike, yellow when it is moderate, and green when the price is in good standing. That way, everyone in the house knows the price of energy. Talk about a custom notification!