Where’s the best place to put my smartplug?
You got a smartplug - now be smart about where you put it.
Smart home officianado? I’ve got a business idea for you: Please write a ‘Smart Homes for Dummies’ book. I would read it!
I love the idea of installing smart home tech into my apartment to save money on my energy bills, and keep my carbon footprint as small as possible. (The tree hugger in me felt so thrilled when my smart thermostat adjusted the temperature when I wasn’t home!)
But for someone like me with little-to-no gadget savvy-ness, the installation of said thermostat had me a little worried. C wires? Remote sensors? Not my cup of tea. (Thankfully I found some walkthrough videos on the internet, which helped immensely.)
But one smart home device that ANYONE can start with (myself included) is a smartplug.
You might be wondering … What is a smartplug?
A smartplug is any type of wifi-enabled, plug-in electrical socket that allows you to control the devices attached to it from your phone or through an automated set of rules (like turning off your smartplugs automatically so you can get paid for your energy savings when an #OhmHour or AutoOhm is happening .)
Psssst … Did you know you can get a free TP-Link smartplug and then get paid to use it?
Hot tip: If you live in California or Toronto, you could be eligible to score a free TP-Link smartplug simply for signing up to be an OhmConnect user. As an OhmConnect user, you’ll get sent notifications once per week which alert you to times when the electricity grid is stressed and then pays you if you reduce your energy usage during that time.
So now that I’ve got my smartplug … where should I put it?
To make sure I was getting the best bang for my buck with the smart plug, I picked the brain of my coworker Scott, who is the most smart-home savvy person I know. His tips included:
Maximize your savings by attaching your water heater or space heater to a smart plug. This one feels like a super life hack that hardly anyone does … but everyone should! When my husband and I went on vacation recently, I expected my home’s energy usage to be next-to-nothing since I had turned off all the lights and unplugged our entertainment system. But it wasn’t!
A bit of investigating made me realize that even though we weren’t home for the whole week, our water heater had been working diligently to keep a huge tank of water hot, just in case someone needed it. Nowadays we make sure we’re not wasting energy and money by controlling our water heater via wifi. We can even reactivate it when we’re on our way back ensure the water is hot enough for a shower by the time we get home. The best!
Additionally, if you do not plan on travelling in the near future, you still can save energy and earn rewards by connecting your water heater or space heater to a plug and connecting that plug to your OhmConnect account. This occurs by allowing these appliances to automatically shut down for a short period of time during both #OhmHours and now AutoOhms. Typically #OhmHours are happening later in the evening, so shutting off your water heater for one hour should not impact your daily hot water needs. As for AutoOhms, since they only happen in 15 minute increments (maximum 45 minutes) your water heater will not be turned off for more than 45 minutes and should not take long to heat back up again after the event has ended. This may mean waiting a bit to take a shower or wash dishes, but that to me is a small price to pay for energy savings and cash back!
Don’t let savings fly out the window - attach a smartplug to your window A/C unit. No need to keep your home cool when nobody’s home, right? Attach a smartplug to your window A/C unit and only flip it on when it’s really needed.
Another option to maximize your savings would be to attach a power strip to your smart plug. If you’ve only got one to work with, you’re not doing yourself any favors by plugging a single bedside lamp into your smartplug. By attaching a power bar to the smart plug, you can maximize your savings by ensuring that multiple electricity-hogging appliances or devices all get shut off when you want them to.
Put your smart plug near your most energy-sucking appliances and devices. Lots of appliances and devices are what could be called “vampire appliances”, meaning that even though it looks like they might be turned off, they are still sucking small amounts of “phantom power”, and adding unnecessary costs to your energy bill. By attaching these devices to a smart plug, you can ensure they are totally off when not in use. These appliances and devices include:
- Cable boxes
- Desktop computers
- Gaming consoles
- Stereos / speakers / sound equipment
Last but certainly not least, if you’re an OhmConnect customer, consider attaching one to your fridge. Normally, I wouldn’t recommend turning your refrigerator off (seems counterintuitive since it’s made to stay on all the time, right?) but since I joined OhmConnect and am now getting paid to reduce my energy during time-sensitive #OhmHours and AutoOhms, I’ve upped my energy saving game.
By attaching a smartplug to my fridge and connecting the device to my OhmConnect account, the fridge now gets automatically turned off during both #OhmHours and AutoOhms, meaning I earn more. Research has shown that fridges and freezers can get turned off for up to four hours at a time with no fear of the food inside spoiling, so I shut that baby off every time.
And that’s all there is to it!
Now I can put my fears - that my smart home may actually be smarter than I am - to rest, for now at least.