In case you haven’t heard, the future is now. While we may not have personal robots or automatic kitchens like the Jetsons, we do have “smart home” technology. With today’s two-way electric meters and home energy management systems, we can control our appliances remotely. It’s not just cool; it can also save you money.
Smart home technology makes energy efficiency a no-brainer; it automatically shifts power and draws to less expensive, off-peak hours. On the other hand, it also comes with a heftier price tag. Do the pros of smart appliances outweigh the cons? Are they really worth it?
What do smart appliances exactly do?
You can get smart versions of several home appliances including:
- Dishwashers – User your smart dishwasher’s delayed start feature to run it anytime, even when you’re not at home. If you set it for off-peak hours, your utility may discount the energy it uses.
- Double Ovens – Your cooktop surface will automatically reduce power use by 20% during high-cost periods. The range will also switch to the smaller, more efficient top oven.
- Refrigerators – Smart fridges disable “quick chill” and “quick defrost” features during peak hours. Some even send you a smartphone notification when your milk’s about to spoil.
- Washer and Dryers – Both appliances will automatically wait for energy rates to dip before powering on. If you need to wash your clothes during peak hours, the washer will know to use a low energy cycle.
Just How Smart Are Smart Appliances?
According to inciteenergy.com, this is the age of data, and smart appliances know how to use it. They don’t just power off during peak demand; they use analytical precision to identify the best time to run, and then shift your energy use to avoid high-load periods.
They tap into demand response programs to do this. If your utility charges time-based rates, you could save by moving your energy use to slower hours. For example, your refrigerator might delay its defrost cycle until the middle of the night. While you may not even notice the changes, they can add up over time, saving you a bundle.
Smart Technology is Cool, but the Price isn’t So Hot
All of these new-edged, amazing features will cost you. Most smart home appliances cost several hundred dollars, and a complete home upgrade may run into the thousands. Even so, the investment can be worth it. The average household will save up to 10%, or $100 per year, according to smart home companies.
Are They A Really Good Buy?
Like anything else – buying a smart appliance has its advantages and disadvantages. While these appliances can be costly, they can also save you time and money in the long run.
Here’s a quick breakdown to summarize the main things you’ll want to consider before deciding if a smart appliance is for you:
PROS of Smart Appliances
- Long-term cost savings
CONS of Smart Appliances
- Higher cost
- Costly repairs
- Technology bugs
As you can see there are advantages to buying both smart and non-smart appliances. Smart appliances are still fairly new to the appliance arena and are definitely in their early phases for consumers. However, these smart models can end up saving you money in the long run, despite having a bit of a heftier price tag at purchase, which leaves you coming out on top in the end and ahead of the technology game.
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