Do you ever feel like you’re paying too much on your utility bills? You’re not the only one. According to Statistics Canada, the average Canadian household spends just over $400 each month on things like electricity and heating. That’s close to $5,000 each year!
The worst part is it’s easy to be highly wasteful with utilities. From leaving lights and other appliances on when they’re not in use, to setting the thermostat higher than it needs to be, small actions add up to serious dollars and cents over time.
So if you’re trying to save money, minimizing your utility bills is a good place to start. The devices on this list will cost you upfront but—if properly installed and used—they can save you money in the long run by making your home more energy-efficient.
1. Smart Thermostats
Heating can account for up to half of an average household’s utility costs, so smart thermostats can have a big impact on lowering your monthly bills. At their most basic level, you can schedule a smart thermostat to match your home’s personal needs for every day of the week—when you’ll be waking home, getting home from work, and so on.
Some models, like the Nest Learning Thermostat, go a step further, teaching themselves what temperatures your household likes when and programming itself to optimize energy usage.
2. Smart Light Bulbs
Image: Philips Hue
Another big drain on the average home’s utility usage is lighting. Smart light bulbs help in several ways. For starters, they’re all typically LED bulbs, which use about 75% less energy than traditional incandescent light bulbs. But the budget-saving fun doesn’t end there.
Smart light bulbs can be programmed to follow intricate schedules, where they not only turn on and off at set times but dim or brighten according to the time of day. If you have a voice assistant like Google Home, you can also control some brands of smart light bulbs, like Philips Hue, simply by walking into a room and giving a voice command.
3. Smart Plugs
Image: Philips Hue
The beauty of smart plugs is their simplicity. Installation is as straightforward as plugging them into an electrical socket and then plugging another device into them. This means you can turn any device in your home that uses an electrical plug—such as a lamp, coffee maker, or desk fan—into a smart device.
How does this save you money? Using your smartphone or tablet, you can control anything plugged into the smart plug, as well as create custom schedules and timers. This is an easy way to ensure certain devices are never left on longer than they need to be.
4. Smart Blinds
Window coverings don’t just add style to your home, they also play a critical role in regulating your home’s temperature. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, simply opening or closing your blinds at key times of the day can reduce heat loss by up to 40% or prevent unwanted heat during the summer by up to 80%.
Smart blinds let you do this with automated ease. Create a custom schedule based on the season and your blinds will open and close throughout the day to optimize energy conservation.
5. Energy-Efficient Dishwasher
While it makes sense to replace all of your major appliances with energy-efficient models, if you had to pick just one kitchen appliance to upgrade make it your dishwasher.
On average, energy-efficient dishwashers use 30% less water and 12% less energy. This adds up to potentially big savings quite quickly. It can take a while for these savings to offset the cost of your upgrade but you’ll instantly see a drop in your monthly utility bill.
6. High-Efficiency Washing Machine
Like dishwashers, washing machines can also have a big impact on your monthly bills. High-efficiency washing machines use around 33% less water and 25% less energy than standard models.
Again, these savings will take a while to offset the cost of your upgrade but you’ll instantly begin to see a drop in your monthly utility bills. You’ll also be able to take some comfort in knowing you’re doing your part for water and energy conservation.
7. Smart Leak Detectors
Smart leak detectors are the only items on this list that don’t directly save you money on your utility bills. They can, however, save you an enormous repair bill if disaster strikes. When a water tank or a supply line bursts, the damage racks up fast. If you’re at work and nobody is home to notice, water might be flooding your home (and even down into your neighbours below you) for hours.
Just as smoke detectors alert you to the first signs of a fire, leak detectors let you know right away when a leak is starting, sending notifications to your smartphone so you can respond quickly.
If you're ready to make your home more energy-efficient, Fresh Start Finance makes it easy to get the tech you need today. Simply apply online in 3 minutes, get approved almost immediately, and money can be e-transferred on the same day!