As its name implies, a smart thermostat is a thermostat with internet connectivity. This allows you an unprecedented degree of ease when it comes to controlling your thermostat. In fact, with the corresponding smart phone app, you can even make changes to your thermostat when you are not at home.
Forget to turn down your heat before leaving for work? No problem. Want to turn up your air conditioner before arriving home? Easily done. A smart thermostat gives you the power to accomplish previously unthinkable tasks like these with just a few taps on your phone. In the process, you can eliminate wasteful energy usage.
Smart thermostats are also capable of improving your energy efficiency independently. Many smart thermostat systems gather data using motion sensors. Over time, this data allows the system to learn the natural rhythms of your home. For instance, your thermostat can discern the hours when nobody is at home, automatically lowering the heating and cooling levels to optimize energy usage.
The power of a smart thermostat grows even more pronounced for those who invest in zoned HVAC systems. Such a system breaks up your home into different zones. Thermal sensors in each zone allow your thermostat to tailor the amounts of heating and cooling sent to each zone. For instance, the side of your home that receives hot summer sunlight will receive more cooling power than the shady side of your home.
Finally, the app used to control your smart thermostat will also provide an easy way to monitor and evaluate your energy usage as time goes on. Ultimately, those who upgrade to smart thermostats can expect to save between 10 and 23 percent on their monthly heating and cooling bills, depending on the particular system they choose.
Smart Water Heaters
Smart technology has also begun to revolutionize efficiency when it comes to home plumbing appliances, and hot water heaters in particular. Water heaters — especially those that run on electricity — often end up wasting a lot of energy. That's because your water heater consumes electricity around the clock, in order to keep the water in the tank perpetually heated.
Yet most homes don't require hot water at all hours. For instance, you likely have little need of hot water in the middle of the night, when you and your family are sleeping. Yet a traditional water heater does not understand this, and instead it goes on heating and reheating its water at all hours. According to one estimate, a water heater ends up wasting as much as 50 percent of the energy it consumes.
Regular water heaters can be made smart by the installation of a special controller. In other words, you don't have to replace your entire tank. The smart controller simply has to do be wired into to the existing system. At that point, must as with a smart thermostat, you can monitor and control your water heater using a phone- or computer-based app.
This technology makes it easy to program your hot water heater yourself. Furthermore, the system can automatically analyze your hot water usage and independently tailor when your tank consumes energy. This allows you to cut down on a huge source of unnecessary energy usage.
Even more impressively, a smart water heater can monitor to the constantly fluctuating costs of electricity. Using this information, the water heater can reduce the amount of time it spends running during times of peak energy costs. Instead, the system uses energy when costs are lower. In this way, a smart water heater can save you up to an additional $216 dollars per year.
Motorized Window Blinds
As hinted at above, the energy required to heat and cool your home changes throughout the course of the day. One of the biggest factors is where and when hot sunlight happens to enter your home. Rooms with west-facing windows tend to heat up significantly more during afternoon hours, requiring less heating in the winter — and more cooling in the summer.
A zoned HVAC system can help to offset such room-by-room temperature differentials, thus promoting increased comfort. Yet that isn't energy efficient approach. A better solution involves reducing the amount of sunlight that enters your house at such times. Window blinds offer an effective way to reduce unwanted solar gain.
Yet few people have the time or inclination to go around their house opening and closing at certain times every single day. Moreover, you may not even be home at such times. To solve this problem, many people choose to install motorized window blinds that are compatible with their home automation system.
This allows you to independently — or automatically — control the position of your window blinds. Simply by closing blinds at certain times of day, you can greatly cut down on unwanted heat gain without driving up cooling costs.
Another significant source of wasted energy comes from the lights in your home. Unused lights often get left on for hours — even days — at a time. Monitoring and controlling lighting is one of the easiest ways for a home automation system to help optimize your energy usage. For one thing, as with other home automation systems, you will have the option to monitor and control your lights using your phone.
In other words, you can identify lights that have been left on and turn them off even if you are not at home. You can also install motion sensors that allow the system to detect when people leave a room. After a certain period of time, if nobody re-enters, the system will automatically turn off the lights.
Home automation is one of the most effective new strategies in the fight against energy inefficiency. For more information about how to automate your home, contact the electrical experts at Caribbean Electrical.