How to Save Money and Energy With Smart Home Devices

Smart-home devices don’t just make it easier to close the garage door or secure your home. They can also help you save energy and money, if you use them properly. And seeing how Americans spend $130 billion a year on wasted energy, people can use all the help they can get.

You set up smart-home devices using a smartphone, and you can control them remotely, put them on a schedule, connect them to a smart speaker, or even set them up to perform actions on their own. By giving you more control over the things in your home that use energy, smart-home devices can be part of an energy-saving plan. Here are a few ways to use smart-home devices to cut down on energy and water waste while also saving money.

To turn off lights

When someone in my house leaves the lights on, I can almost feel my energy bill going up. (Maybe it’s just my blood pressure.) Smart lighting foils energy hogs by adding remote control, scheduling, and automation to an everyday fixture.

Smart bulbs are the simplest way to save money because all you have to do is screw in a light bulb. And all smart bulbs are LED bulbs, which use at least 75 percent less energy than incandescents yet last 25 times longer. They also bring extra savings by adding dimming, which can save another 40 percent. Smart bulbs can trigger in reaction to other smart devices, motion sensors, or your location (aka geofencing), so they’ll operate efficiently without you having to turn them off. We like the Philips Hue line, which offers a number of smart-bulb kits for both inside and outside the home.

Benefits of using smart home devices for energy saving

Another option, for the person who knows how to wire an outlet, is a smart in-wall light switch, which replaces your existing light switch to control lighting fixtures. If you’re clinging to the bulbs and switches you already own, a smart plug tackles the same on/off and scheduling functions for lamps and small appliances, and you can still add regular money-saving LED bulbs. A smart plug offers an inexpensive way to control lights. Our favorite, the Wyze Plug, costs under $30 per lamp.

To conserve water

According to the EPA, everyday household leaks account for about 1 trillion gallons of wasted water annually. That’s equivalent to over 1,500 Olympic-size swimming pools.

Adding a smart leak sensor is an easy way to monitor under sinks, behind toilets, around washing machines, and other potentially leaky points. When the sensor detects a leak, it sends a smartphone alert so you can tend to the issue before things get out of hand.

If you want more comprehensive control, or if you have a second home, the Flo by Moen and the Phyn Plus are smart water valves that install on your water main and can sense and alert you to leaks as small as a drippy faucet. When they detect a burst pipe or cycling toilet, they can turn off the water to prevent a catastrophe.

Smart sprinkler controllers can control water waste outside by regulating the amount you use to irrigate your lawn or garden, based on your specific soil moisture and even plant types. We recommend the Rachio 3 Smart Sprinkler Controller because it uses hyper-local Web-based weather information to adjust schedules automatically, so you won’t be one of those people who water their lawn right before (or during) a rainstorm.

To curb cooling and heating

The US Energy Information Administration says that the largest single use of electricity by US households is in fans and air conditioning, with some households spending more than $525 a year. A smart thermostat optimizes your home’s heating and cooling so that you never waste electricity or fuel. Our pick, the Google Nest Learning Thermostat (third generation), is a learning thermostat that can automatically adjust temperatures to optimal levels based on your habits, the location, and the time it takes to cool your home.

A smart ceiling fan can be another great option. The US Department of Energy says ceiling fans let you raise thermostats about 4 degrees without noticing a difference. And smart fans like those from Big Ass Fans and Hunter include motion sensors so they run only when you’re in the room; they can also integrate with a thermostat to maximize savings. Or, instead of going for a smart fan, consider the Lutron Caséta Smart Fan Control, which works with most existing fans and can respond to triggers from an app or other smart devices such as thermostats or temperature sensors.

A lot of heat passes through windows, resulting in overheating in the summer and smart shades, although expensive to install, can make it easier. Set either at specific times or on schedules, smart shades and blinds can open and close to allow light (and energy) to pass through only when you want it.

Kill vampire power

Many electrical appliances and gadgets—including computer speakers, TVs, coffee makers, and more—continue to draw power even when they aren’t in use, a phenomenon referred to as phantom or “vampire” energy.

According to a 2016 article in The New York Times, the annual tally for all these vampires is the equivalent of 50 large power plants’ worth of electricity. Smart plugs like our pick the Wyze Plug (and most of our other smart plug picks) monitor, in real time, the energy use of any device you plug in. If you need to power several things, you can try a smart power strip like the TP-Link HS300 Kasa Smart Wi-Fi Power Strip, which can track up to six devices individually. Just plug in whichever energy hog you wish—your old plasma TV, an audio system, a space heater—and schedule the strip to cut the power completely when the device isn’t in use. The individual cost savings won’t be dramatic, but along with other energy savings, they will add up.

Smart-home devices offer a convenient and efficient way to save on energy consumption and reduce utility bills. From controlling lights and conserving water to curbing cooling and heating, these devices provide a range of solutions to help individuals become more energy-efficient. By incorporating smart-home devices into your home, you can make a positive impact on the environment and your wallet.


How do smart-home devices help save money and energy?

Smart-home devices enable users to have more control over their energy consumption by offering features like remote control, scheduling, and automation. For example, smart bulbs can be programmed to turn off when not in use, while smart thermostats optimize heating and cooling to reduce wasted energy. These devices allow individuals to make energy-saving adjustments easily, resulting in cost savings.

Can smart-home devices help conserve water?

Yes, smart-home devices can play a role in conserving water. Smart leak sensors can detect leaks early and send alerts to homeowners, allowing them to address the issue promptly. Additionally, smart sprinkler controllers regulate water usage based on specific soil moisture and plant needs, preventing wasteful irrigation practices.

How do smart plugs help save energy?

Smart plugs are an effective tool for managing energy consumption. They can monitor the energy use of plugged-in devices in real-time and allow users to schedule on/off times. By cutting power to devices when not in use, smart plugs prevent unnecessary energy consumption and help reduce electricity bills.


Smart-home devices offer practical solutions to reduce energy waste and save money. By utilizing these devices to control lighting, conserve water, optimize cooling and heating, and eliminate vampire power, individuals can make their homes more energy-efficient. Incorporating smart-home devices not only benefits the environment but also allows for increased convenience and cost savings.