Creating smart home means added convenience, savings

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For most folks, making the switch to a smart home is really just a matter of convenience. You can change your lighting, adjust the thermostat and start the laundry, all with a simple voice command or a few taps on your phone.

It might seem like you're saving only a few steps and the flip of a switch. However, if you look below the surface, you'll see that your smart home isn't just saving you time and hassle. It's saving you money, in a surprisingly big way.

The average American household will spend more than $3,000 per year on utilities, a large chunk of which comes from heating and cooling your house. Simply adding a smart thermostat, shades and lighting could result in a 10% to 30% drop in the amount you spend to keep your space comfortable.

And that's just the beginning. When you truly create a smart, connected home with all of your appliances and utilities acting in concert through reliable, high-speed internet, the savings grow exponentially.

Looking at the numbers, device-by-device, it's easy to see how the savings soar the more you connect. A smart thermostat, for example, will automatically adjust the temperature as it learns about its environment. When it detects that you have left the house, it will adjust accordingly to keep you from heating or cooling an empty house. This device alone could save $219 per year.

Another huge expense, especially around the Lowcountry where the summer's heat can roast a garden, is irrigation. Here we find huge savings in a smart sprinkler system. It will adjust watering times automatically based on sunrise and sunset.

These ingenious devices can also connect to local weather stations to fine-tune watering based on anticipated rain or drought, and even adjust watering patterns based on the needs of individual plants in your yard. In addition to saving your plants, it will also save nearly $150 per year.

Even your non-smart devices still need to be plugged in, and here's where a smart home helps save energy everywhere. Smart power strips and outlets monitor which appliances and devices are using the most energy so you can shut them down when not in use.

Smart devices might even help you save on your insurance rates. A well-known insurance company recently teamed with Amazon to offer a discount for smart homes, and most other carriers offer them in some form or another. They might even give you discounts on the device itself, so it's worth a call to your insurance agent before setting up your smart home.

Of course, the first call you'll want to make is to your local internet provider to ensure you have the fastest, most reliable high-speed internet, and wall-to-wall Wi-Fi to keep devices in every corner of your home connected, working smarter and saving you money.

Andres Tovar is vice president of product and marketing for Hargray Communications.

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