Smart plugs are one of the marvels of our modern electronic age and bring many benefits to the humble electrical outlet. The benefits of using smart plugs go beyond the benefits of turning your home into a smart home and giving you greater control over all the appliances in your home. Using smart plugs on certain devices can save you money on your energy bill!
Smart plugs can save the average homeowner between 1 and 4.58% of their annual power bill. This works out to between 500 and 1000 kilowatts of energy-saving each year. The amount of energy the smart plug consumes is minuscule compared to the energy savings they offer.
Smart plugs have been a revolution for people who have the need to automate their homes and provide remote control and smart management of appliances, lights, and any other devices you would normally plug into an electrical outlet.
How Do Smart Plugs Work?
Smart plugs are electronic devices that plug into the normal power outlet in your home, and then you plug the device you would normally plug into the outlet into the smart plug.
Smart plugs require no changes to the electrical systems of your home. They are plug-and-play and offer many benefits to the homeowner.
In its basic form, a smart plug turns devices connected to it on and off, but when combined with a smart home platform such as Amazons Alexa, or Google Home, or Apple Home Kit, the smart plugs sophisticated electronics offer remote functionality for a wider range of the appliances in your home.
Smart plugs offer energy-efficiency benefits in association with the ability to providing smart functionality to your home, bringing cost savings along with convenience to the homeowner!
Do Smart Plugs Monitor Electricity Usage?
As in any electronic market, there are products that offer more features than others, and the smart plug industry is no different. Each manufacturer has features built into their smart plug units that they feel offer the most benefits to the homeowner.
Consequently, not all smart plugs offer features to monitor electricity usage. However, there are several reputable manufacturers that do include this feature in their products.
TOPGREENER Smart Plug. This unit is WiFi compatible and includes energy monitoring. It uses the TopGreener app, which allows you to monitor both real-time and historical power usage data.
Kasa Smart Plug Mini with Energy Monitoring. Kasa is a brand that is gaining popularity because they are affordably priced and works with the major smart home platforms such as Alexa and Google Home.
Satechi Dual Smart Outlet with Real-Time Power Monitoring. The Satechi unit is compatible with Apple HomeKit and offers control via Apple Siri as well and Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa. The Satechi app can be used to set the unit up and for energy usage monitoring.
Eve Energy Smart Plug. The Eve Energy smart plug is compatible with Apple HomeKit. The unit comes with built-in power usage monitoring and can be accessed via WiFi, Bluetooth, or the manufacturer's app.
This is just a sample of some of the smart plugs that offer energy monitoring as a feature. There are other models that offer this as well, but the point is that all units do not offer this feature. You will need to read the feature list of each product to ensure power usage monitoring is included if you need this feature.
Do Smart Plugs Use More Electricity?
A smart plug is an electronic device, which means it will be a consumer of electricity itself. However, the amount of electricity a smart plug uses is minuscule since it has no motors driving moving parts or components that require cooling.
Smart plugs will use approximately 1 to 2-Watts of power. Energy consumption in your home displayed on your energy bill is expressed in kWh or kilowatt-hours. A kilowatt is 1000 Watts, which means that the power your smart plug consumes is in the neighborhood of 8.76 kWh of electricity over the course of 1-year.
Considering that the use of smart plugs in your home can save up to 100 times this amount of electricity, the amount of power that smart plugs consume is a small price to pay for some significant savings on your household energy bill.
How Much Energy Do Smart Plugs Save?
Just like any other electrical device, a smart plug will use power, but the management of the devices that are plugged into the smart plug is where the savings come in.
The National Renewable Energy Laboratory reports that using smart plugs in your home can save between 1% and 4.58% of energy usage, which equates to about 500-1000 Kilowatts every year.
Devices that you would normally leave plugged in may not be in use, but they will still draw power when they are in sleep-mode. This is sometimes referred to as a phantom load because the device is not in use but still drawing power from the outlet.
Considering that the average home can have as much as 40 appliances plugged in at any one time, these phantom loads can add up to significant energy usage in your home. Over time, these phantom loads increase the energy bill to run your household. Using a smart plug on these devices will save you significant energy usage by actively disconnecting these devices from the electricity supply when they are idle.
The amount of electricity that the smart plug uses is significantly less than what these devices use, and because it is disconnecting appliances that are not in use, the savings more than compensate for the power the smart plug consumes.
Smart plugs, therefore, not only offer benefits for home automation and management but also make your home more energy-efficient, saving you money.
What Should I use Smart Plugs For?
Smart plugs can be used for any device that you would normally plug into an electrical outlet in your home. The appliances where you would see the most benefit in using a smart plug are the ones that draw phantom power when not in use.
You can tell which appliances fall into this category because they will have a light or LED that is still illuminated, even though the unit has been turned off.
Appliances where this is most common include the following.
- Home entertainment centers
- Gaming consoles
- Coffee makers
- Electric toothbrushes
- Garage door openers
- Air conditioners
- Musical instruments
These appliances are a great place to start implementing smart plugs to reduce energy consumption in your home. Installing smart plugs on known high-energy using devices such as space heaters and electric blankets will allow you to have a greater level of control over the energy usage in your home.
Smart plugs are definitely energy savers in the home, and as the technology improves in these units, they will offer more energy-saving features in the future.
If you are investigating ways to reduce the energy bill in your home, smart plugs are a good place to start, giving you a greater measure of control over each power-consuming device in your home.