Proven to be the most inexpensive way to automate and smarten up dumb electrical devices is to simply fit them in smart plugs plugged into a power socket.
Primarily there are two aspects we tend to focus on when buying or incorporating smart plugs in our home. First is, of course, a handful of conveniences comes from automation that gives control over appliances via the corresponding app; voice control, and second is energy saving.
The former is resoundingly apparent to us, which is also the sole purpose and the major functionality of smart plugs; whereas, the latter is still not clear and understandable to many smart homeowners.
Does smart plug save energy? If you asked me to remove the skepticism if a smart plug genuinely saves you energy, the short and straightforward answer to this is “yes, smart plugs can reduce the overall energy consumption only if used correctly, otherwise no.” However, interestingly, the long-detailed, and extensive answer is slightly different from it.
Now whether or not the smart plug is going to pay for itself is varies on a few factors and on your technical knowledge of how well you utilize to make it a choice worth investing. After testing smart plugs in different situations and with numerous devices, I have finally come to a conclusion, which is elaborated below.
Here in this article, I have explained the math that works behind making proper use of smart plugs that is potent enough to change the ideal answer for the question if smart plug at your home is going to save you energy in the long term or not.
Smart Plugs Are Energy Efficient
Firstly, I would like to throw some light on the primary conundrum. That is, you can’t rely on the smart plug to save you bucks on the bill if you aren’t tactically making proper use for controlling devices and making its convenient features to work in your profit.
Now for your surprise, a smart plug draws some electricity even when left in standby mode to remain in connection with your home’s WiFi for receiving signals. However, this should not be the case for concern, as it’s a minimal amount of energy that has an almost negligible effect on your overall energy consumption. This whole concept boils down to one thing that states we are using energy for saving energy.
Also, according to rough statistics published by some reliable sources, it has been measured that after leaving 3 different smart plugs plugged in for a half-hour, the number of kilowatts used was 0.00 estimated by Kill A Watt monitor. The test validates the fact that smart plugs do not consume much electricity that can reflect a notable change in your bills.
The Math Behind Smart Plugs Saving Energy
For comprehending the common scenarios in which a typical smart plug would save on electricity bills, I have put together a few applications and studies you can have a look at.
To begin with, I’ll start with the very specification of a smart plug that is scheduling and automating outlets. Okay, so now you can ensure that the electrical appliance you might have left behind plugged in and running isn’t going to burn the electricity the whole day long. You can actually command a smart plug to let the device operate only for a certain time.
Does it sound like a boon for you may be because you have the tendency of falling asleep whilst watching TV, and it runs till the time you wake up in the morning? But wait, here’s the breaker for you:
It’s an experiment carried out by HowToGeek, where they measured a power strip for a half-hour with 10 devices connected to it. The electronic devices were a Nintendo Switch, Xbox One X, controller charging bases for both systems, a surround sound system, a 60 inch TV with Netflix streaming, a Google Home hub, an Eero Wi-Fi router, a Synology NAS, and an Nvidia Shield TV.
Leaving all the devices running for 30 mins, 0.15 kilowatts was the total electricity consumption that was noted. The average cost of electricity considered was 12.82 cents per kilowatt-hour, so if you left the devices running for an entire day, which is an unlikely scenario, though, the overall consumption of the energy would cost you $1.10 in total.
Now assuming, if you left all devices working for eight hours – as it’s the amount of time an average person spends sleeping every day – around 32 cents is what you would spend on a day. This way, it will take about 71 days for the Eufy smart plug (link to Amazon) to pay for itself. Although these figures are quite hypothetical and might not be accurate, the math will not change.
It’s a good case study that also shows the power household devices itself are energy efficient. I would say the numbers are arbitrary and perhaps not applicable in real life, but this way, you can at least have an idea about the energy usage of electrical appliances you use in your day to day life.
To Save Money Skip Over Anything Small
Running a lamp, coffee maker, or your charger on a smart plug isn’t going to be of any help from the saving energy perspective since these devices don’t consume much energy to give you a notable result even if saved over a long haul.
So if you are looking for a net gain to make your smart plugs investment worth it, look for the devices around your house that tend to draw more electricity and maybe keep getting left on or gadgets that use noticeable power when idle.
Now you might say that you don’t possess any such habits of leaving the electrical appliances on and rather shut them straight off when not in use. It’s a valid point, but sadly, it doesn’t fit aptly when we are talking about smart plugs — feeling confused? I have elaborated on the “WHY” below.
Smart Home Appliances Is not Always about Energy Savings
What are your expectations from smart devices you have in your home? Out of all, I can assert that “cutting down on the bills” must be one.
However, the goal of smart home outlets is to enable automation, provide comfort and convenience to its owner. And by having access to features that allow easy monitoring and controlling of the electrical devices, the resulting byproduct is energy efficiency.
The same goes for a smart plug. It is designed for automating dumb devices by simply employing a smartphone app that gives you the comfort of operating appliances without having to leave your couch and walk upstairs to check if you have forgotten some device to turn off.
Also, if you are secretly concern about vampire power/outlet, you can monitor the amount of electricity your favorite devices are drawing with the help of a smart plug offering the power monitoring feature. You think scheduling your large dehumidifier in the basement would help you in energy consumption, a smart plug has got your back.
Your dexterity may not be amazing, but with new smart plugs offering voice control, you will not even get a chance to complain about your lower mobility for operating devices. After all, it’s much easier and fun to say “Alexa, turn off the lamp” than turning it off with full hands.
If your buying decision for a smart plug is majorly dependent on whether or not it’s going to be for energy savings, then probably you are off track with the wrong notion. Having smart plugs for controlling dumb devices remotely and on a schedule is the privilege that you are paying for and not essentially the power consumption aspect.
You may save energy in some circumstances, and you may not in the rest, but the convenience factor that you get by integrating smart plugs in your home outweighs almost every other factor you may think in regards. And the bottom line is:
You’ll only realize the benefits of investing in smart plugs if they address your habits.
I hope this article helped you understood smart plugs from close and knowing what you are allowed to expect from it. As I tried not to leave any stone unturned, I would also love to hear your insight as well.