Smart Plugs – what are they? What do they do? How do they a marquee product synonymous with the future of technological advancement? What are the pros & cons? We will examine all these questions in-depth during this blog post.
While smart plugs may seem like a trendy gadget, in many ways they are not. For one, they do save on energy (and thus money in the long-term). But they also make your previously dumb plugs smart. Literally.
The main selling point for this technology is that smart plugs allow you to control your appliances remotely. No more flicking off a switch for your light. No more leaving the lights on for hours on end for a guest to arrive at a hotel or vacation home.
Simply pair the smart plugs to your smartphone and bam. Control them however you’d like. You can even program them to turn off and on at exact times each day. You are now completely in the driver’s seat. In fact, you can even do this through voice recognition technology – namely Siri & Alexa.
Beyond this, smart plugs not only save you energy but also monitor just how much of it you are using. Remember: they are smart. Not dumb. This means that these plugs have the capability to keep track of exactly how much energy your home is going through.
There are items in your home that are big-time energy zappers. Perhaps you were simply unaware. Thanks to this tracking technology, you are now able to see where most of the energy usage is coming from and make the changes you so choose.
Now, yes, these plugs do still use a small amount of energy even while turned off. Why, you ask? To monitor and keep track of overall energy consumption. The energy being used, however, is minimal. It is widely thought to barely make a dent in your monthly bill.
Smart Plugs also allow you to do away with Phantom Loads. What are phantom loads? They are the electricity your devices use even when they’re turned off to have the capability to be turned on when we press a button on a remote. This is now a thing of the past when utilizing smart plugs. It can also save you quite a bit of energy as well. Studies show that doing away with phantom leads can in fact save you up to 20% of your monthly electricity bill. Wawawewa!
The Financial Question: Yes, these gadgets undoubtedly save energy. And yes, they most definitely save you money in the long run. But what about the upfront price of purchasing them initially. The truth is, they may be a tad more expensive than your average lightbulb. But the little extra money is well worth the investment.
In the past, Amazon has ran deals for their smart plugs allotting to a whopping $5. Check out a review below:
One farmer strangely added a review stating, "I'm using these to control the light and heat panels to my chicken house. I let them out in the day even in freezing weather so there's no sense in heating an open coop. So the heat comes on only when needed. Lights as well go off after a while so they can rest in winter without constant light. It also comes on at the same time signaling bedtime and they usually return to the coop voluntarily. I also can control it via the app remotely if I feel it's super cold I can't turn the heat on from the house to allow them a warmer space to wait out the rain or what have you."
So there you have it. These thingy’s come in handy just about everywhere. And you can feel good about using them. You are contributing to the world saving energy. Think of these smart plugs as Tesla’s of the plug community.
Another realm in which smart plugs help in a major fashion are with disabled people and the elderly. Smart Plugs can really be a life-changer for these groups. Todd Stabelfeldt, CEO of C4 Database Management, is a quadriplegic and an avid smart home / plug user. “Convenience for you is independence for me.”
The above quote hits home on many levels. Here on the blog, I find myself primarily writing to an audience of young, techy adults. It is easy to lose sight and realize just how much some of the technological advancements being made really help the elderly and disabled.
Think about how many stories you have heard, or perhaps witnessed yourself, of elderly people living alone and tragically falling while going to turn a light on or off. This scenario significantly lessens if you can teach your grandparents or great grandparents to learn and accept the technology available to them. The same thing applies for individuals who are disabled. As Todd Stabelfedt brilliantly states, smart plugs offer independence.
“Let’s say you’re a double amputee and you go to bed and remember you forgot to turn off the kitchen light,” said Elizabeth Fields, former chief operating officer for the Gary Sinise Foundation. “For most of us, it’s just an inconvenience. But if you’re a double amputee, you’re either going to have to put your prosthetics back on or get in your wheelchair. And that’s not easy to do. But if you have an iPad that has integrated software to just turn off that kitchen light? It’s a little thing, but it’s so impactful.”
So, there you have it. In sum, Smart plugs are a cool little gadget for most people in their homes. They save energy. They track energy usage. They are convenient. They can even save money. But perhaps event more importantly, they have the power to enhance quality of life for both the elderly and disabled.
I began this blog post expecting to write about some disadvantages surrounding smart plugs. But I can’t find any. It will be interesting to see what the future holds and how these gadgets are further enhanced going forward.
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