Fitting out your home with electrical appliances is both an exciting and daunting task for new and experienced home owners. If you’re the lucky one who gets to make all the purchasing decisions, you must find the right balance between cost and energy efficiency. ‘Smart’ appliances can help find that balance.


What is a smart appliance?


You’re probably very familiar with smart devices in the form of phones and tablets. Through apps and intelligent technology, much of our daily tasks are made easier or more autonomous. For example, managing your busy schedule or setting your morning alarm.


Smart devices are now growing to include your everyday electrical appliances around the home. What makes the appliance ‘smart’ is not the electrical energy source but its ability to connect to a wireless internet (wifi) source.


It is usually very easy to connect your appliances and once done, your appliance can ‘talk’ to other smart devices such as your phone or tablet. The most common smart appliances now used in homes range from kitchen appliances to the living room lights.


What appliances use the most power?


The general rule is that heat = cost. This is because anything that needs to get warm (heating systems, ovens, kettles, curling irons etc) require more power to get started and maintain their necessary heat level. Therefore, they cost more to run.


However, cooling appliances that run over a longer period of time (e.g. refrigerator) also pack a punch to the utilities budget. Refrigerators, high-wattage lights, kitchen appliances and heating & cooling systems are commonly known as the most energy-hungry appliances.


But as Australians living in 2014, we are pretty lucky to have access to some of the world’s best technologies. Home owners that purchased in the 60’s and onwards can tell you how terribly inefficient and costly basic home appliances like the fridge and washing machine were. As an electrician with 25 years experience, I’ve also noticed the drastic change.


So there is no doubt that newer technology brings higher efficiency and lower costs to the home owner. Smart appliances just take it one step further.


How does a smart appliance lower my energy bills?


Smart appliances are great for energy efficiency because they have the ability to tell you when there is a problem with the appliance. How many times have you changed your refrigerator’s water filter? Once a year? Less? Perhaps you changed it once it was beyond repair, losing money before you even knew it. Smart appliances solve this problem. If your fridge needs a water filter change, you will be notified before it’s too late. This saves you money and time.


Another great use of smart appliances is being able to manage your home from large distances. Forgot to turn the lights off? Returning home is often not an option. Before smart appliances, you would have to accept the bill for 8 hours of use in an empty home. But with a smart lighting system, simply switch them off with an app on your mobile device. You just saved yourself 8 hours of power.


Make your home tailor-made


Obviously the smart appliances you pick for your home is a choice entirely up to you. There is no need to fit out the place so that it feel like a spaceship. Unless that’s something you’re going for – don’t let me stop you! The whole point of smart appliances is to make it fit your home and your lifestyle, ensuring you find the balance between efficiency and cost.


Do you use smart appliances in your home? Are you thinking about upgrading? Let us know!