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Smart home apps to make life easier and save you money

Smart home apps to make life easier and save you money

“Alexa, save me money!”

Our homes are getting smarter, with virtual assistants following our every command, thermostats learning our ideal temperature and a different shade of lighting available to match any mood. But smart homes aren’t designed purely for convenience – they can also save you money.

Smart homes put you in control of your home. Being able to control your home from anywhere, from any device, helps you to optimise energy and the things that cost the most – principally electricity but also gas, water and other utilities.

Smart home apps to make life easier and save you money

Here, we pick some of the best smart home devices to help you save money.

Smart thermostats

Probably the most popular smart device, the smart thermostat has been around for a while, meaning the technology is most advanced and the savings are likely to be most substantial. Smart thermostat providers offer a range of different products relating to whichever area it is you want to control, allowing you to tailor your home to your needs. One of the most popular products is smart heating which allows you to remotely control your heating from anywhere in the world as long as you are connected to WIFI.

Whatever your thermostat controls, a smart thermostat will help you cut energy costs by learning what temperature you prefer your house to be at what time and in what season, and automatically changing it. Smart thermostats learn your habits over time and can let you know if it detects a wasteful routine.

Smart blinds and window coverings

Staying with the temperature of your home, smart blinds and window coverings can have more of an impact than you know. If you live somewhere hot, blinds play a vital part in keeping your home cool. Likewise, if you live somewhere cooler, you don’t want to lose any retained heat through the windows.

Smart window coverings give you remote access to your blinds, meaning you can open and close them even when out of the home – and before the thermostat kicks in to increase or decrease the temperature of your home. This simple capability means you can save even more money by optimising the natural temperature of your home. Some smart window coverings can even react to the weather, automatically opening and closing depending on the outside temperature or sunlight.

Showers, taps & sprinklers

Smart shower heads and taps measure water consumption and use colour displays to provide you with real-time information about how much water you are using. Most shower heads are already capable of slowing down the flow of water when consumption is high, but in a smart home, all water sources are linked to one point of information, so you know when it’s time to get out of the shower. You can also use smart technology to control water usage for outdoor garden sprinklers, water displays and any other water source in your home.

Smart LED light bulbs

Smart light bulbs are smart for a number of reasons – mainly because they’re LED, which mean they will last longer. Most LED lights will also save a huge amount of energy compared with typical incandescent bulbs – up to 80%. And, as with other smart devices, you can switch lights on and off, or dim them, remotely at the touch of a button.

Outlets and power

Ever heard of an ‘energy vampire’? These are the appliances that use power when plugged in, even when you’re not using them. The worst culprits are smartphone and laptop chargers and devices with active standby modes, like TVs. You can avoid this phantom energy drain by unplugging each device, but that can be a hassle. A smart outlet automatically detects and cuts off power to devices not in use or in standby mode.

Some smart outlets have colour-coded sockets that include designated spaces for appliances that always need to stay on, saving more money on your energy usage.

Smart fridges

Have you ever filled your trolley at the supermarket and balked at the cost, only to get home and realised half the things you’ve bought you didn’t need? Balk no more with a smart fridge, complete with built-in camera so you can carry out a stock-check from the fridge aisle and stop wasting money on superfluous groceries.

Some smart fridges have built-in family calendars with real-time information about what’s in the fridge, discussion boards and doodle pads that can be shared as a virtual family pin-board. And others have smart technology designed specifically to keep food fresher for longer and save you even more money with fewer shops.

Smart locks and video doorbells

Smart locks and video doorbells might sound like convenience gadgets only – but they might just save you valuable money on your home insurance. While many of these items are designed to help you keep your home safe, one surprise benefit of having a 'connected' home is a potential drop in home insurance premiums as a result of your house being more protected.

Smart locks can lock and unlock doors and windows remotely – and will notify you if you go a certain distance away from your home without locking it. Video doorbells enable you to see who is at your front door from wherever you are on your smart device – and respond with your voice if you don’t recognise the caller.

Water leak detection

Another smart gadget that could reduce the cost of your home insurance is water leak detection. This handy device alerts you to any small leaks in your pipes, so you can fix the problem before suffering a flood in your home. According to This is Money, escaping water is the most common claim made by home insurance customers, representing a huge opportunity to get your premium down and save money by being smart.

*Please note that Paragon does not receive any income or commission, nor does it endorse any of the websites mentioned. Paragon does not guarantee the amount of money any of these options could earn. Any fees quoted were correct at time of going to press.

Paragon Bank PLC is authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority. Registered in England number 05390593. Registered office 51 Homer Road, Solihull, West Midlands B91 3QJ. Paragon Bank PLC is registered on the Financial Services Register under the firm reference number 604551