Summer is coming, and you’re not looking forward to your electrical bills – especially after all the cash you shelled out this past winter.
There are some new home tech toys that will save you money – but you’ve got to do your homework. You have to choose the right home technology, learn how to do some of the work yourself, and make sure you always shop around for the best deal.
In my world, it’s all about whether the cash you’ll shell out for new home technology, such as the latest energy efficiency washing machine, will actually help save you money over time.
Do the math, and evaluate how much time and cash you have to invest. Then, be sure to map out your strategy to new home technology savings.
Here are a few of my favorite money-saving home tech toys:
Money-Saving New Home Tech Toy: Programmable thermostat.
By adjusting your summer house temperature up 2 degrees and down 2 degrees for the winter, you could shave 10 percent (or more) off your energy bill. Expect to spend anywhere from around $50 to $200 on a good programmable thermostat, plus installation. Shop around at Google.com or at SmartHome.com.
The good news is you can install these yourself. View a video on how to install a programmable thermostat at AskTheBuilder.com.
Money-Saving New Home Tech Toy: Programmable Sprinkler Timer
If you’re the kind of person that loves gizmos and love your garden, you might be interested in programming a watering schedule for your lawn.
Even if you don’t have an underground sprinkler system, if you have a several garden hoses, you can attach them to watering system that will allow you to select how and when to water your lawn.
While there may be other programmable sprinkler systems (some of which might even allow you to use your personal computer to program your system), a low-tech timer will limit the amount of time your yard and flowers get water. And for around $50, you’ll save time, water and money during your lawn watering season.
Money-Saving New Home Tech Toy: Dimmable Compact Fluorescent Light Bulbs
Switching from incandescent bulbs to compact fluorescent bulbs (CFLs) can save hundreds of dollars on your energy bill over the course of a year – and, you’ll stop feeling like you’re constantly changing burnt-out lightbulbs.
Now that a wider variety of CFL bulbs are more prevalent in stores, you might consider a CFL light bulb for some of those hard to reach areas.
Newer CFL bulbs turn on rapidly and now come with a dimmable feature. If you have recessed lighting, CFLs are made to fit in those recessed light cans. You can buy these bulbs at most home center stores and at Costco. These light bulbs generally consume about one quarter the electricity of the incandescent bulbs they replace.
Money-Saving New Home Tech Toy: Motion Detector Light Switches
While motion detector light switches have been around for years, you can now buy these switches at Costco and most home center stores. Your electrician can install a motion detector light switch in areas of your home where lights get turned on but are frequently left on.
Think about certain hall, garage and bathroom lights that are left on by the kids and others. These switches cost less than $15 but will save you money by turning off those lights that are left on constantly.
Ilyce Glink is a best-selling author, real estate columnist, and web series host. She is the managing editor of the Equifax Finance Blog and CEO of Think Glink Media. Follow her on Twitter: @Glink