Smart home aficionado? 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 smart plug.
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 smart plugs automatically so you can get paid for your energy savings when an OhmHour or AutoOhm is happening .)
Hot tip: You could be eligible to score a free TP-Link smart plug simply for signing up to be an OhmConnect user. As an OhmConnect member, 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.
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:
1) Maximize your savings by attaching your refrigerator to a smart plug. This one feels like a super life hack that hardly anyone does … but everyone should!
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 smart plug 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.
2) Don’t let savings fly out the window - attach a smart plug to your window A/C unit. No need to keep your home cool when nobody’s home, right? Attach a smart plug to your window A/C unit and only flip it on when it’s really needed.
3) 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 smart plug. 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.
4) 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:
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.