Homeowners may have a great deal more responsibilities than renters, but it’s offset by the fact that they have a lot more freedoms as well. If you don’t like how much you’re paying for electricity and other utilities in an apartment complex, for example, there’s little you can do about it. As a homeowner, however, you have a couple of good options. You could switch electricity providers, or you could upgrade your appliances and other devices to more energy-efficient models.
These days, energy efficiency is a great selling point for homes, as is smart home technology. Connected homes are becoming more popular with homebuyers, thanks largely to their convenience. With one central hub that you can access on a smartphone or tablet, it’s easy to manage all the devices and functions in your home. Smart home systems are generally quite flexible in allowing you to accommodate new devices as technology advances. If you’re in the market for a new home, you may want to consider prioritizing one with smart home features before you take out a home loan from a lender.
In order to get the best rates on a mortgage, it’s a good idea to check with multiple lenders. Buying discount points to get lower monthly payments from lenders rarely pays off unless you have the mortgage for an extended period. You may be able to qualify for a loan from the Federal Housing Administration as well, or if you’re a veteran, you can apply for a VA loan.
While you’re trying to save money on mortgage rates or your down payment, you might be thinking about whether those smart home features really save you that much money on electricity in the long run. The answer is that it depends on what smart home features you’re using.
Smart thermostats save electricity.
If you’re looking for something to make your new home greener and more efficient, then programmable thermostats are a great option. HVAC upgrades in general are considered good home improvements to boost your energy efficiency. Consider ductless air conditioning, for example. These systems are inherently more efficient than traditional HVAC systems, and unless you live in a particularly cold climate, you’re unlikely to need any extras for heating.
A smart thermostat can take energy savings even further by learning your temperature preferences and your work schedule. You can set the thermostat to leave temperatures higher when you’re at work during the summer, and set it to have your house cooled again by the time you get home. This means that the system doesn’t have to work so hard all day, and you save money on electricity.
Smart lighting can save electricity.
Depending on how you use smart lighting in your home, you may be able to save on your electric bills. Motorized shades can be programmed to stay open during the day, so you can light your house naturally, and then close as the evening approaches. Smart lights can be dimmed and become brighter as the natural light in your home decreases.
On the other hand, turning LED lights “smart” can actually cause them to use more electricity. These lights use remarkably little electricity while they’re on, but if you make them always connected to a smart device, they’ll draw electricity while they’re turned off, ultimately making them more expensive to operate.
The home needs to be built for smart features.
Another big factor to consider is whether the home you’re buying was actually built with smart technology in mind. If you’re buying an old house without insulation, for example, then it makes little sense to try and use a smart thermostat to improve your cooling and heating. If your wiring isn’t made for always-on devices, then you’ll probably lose more electricity to “vampire” devices as well.
You’ll need to be careful about which smart home features you incorporate in your home. While some can undeniably save electricity, others may have hidden costs that are more trouble than they’re worth.