Can hi-tech gadgets in the home save you money?
From hi-tech heating to futuristic flatscreens, here are four innovative home technologies worth investigating.
Most hi-tech, or ‘smart’ gadgets around your home are designed to make life a bit easier, or maybe save you some time.
But there are a host which claim they can also save you money, so it might be worth doing the sums to see if the savings can outweigh the initial costs.
It’s energy where you’re probably going to make any savings. Most big appliances from TVs to fridges come with a European grading system. A or B sounds pretty good doesn’t it? But like A-Levels, they’re not necessarily the best you can get.
In fact the top rating you can have is currently A+++. Buy one of these and your running costs will be lower, although the difference between an A+ and A+++ can be as little as a few quid each year – make sure you check your potential savings before you buy.
As for some of the latest gadgets, here’s how they stack up.
1. Smart meters
Smart meters track and give you real time information on your energy use. But you’ll only save money if you change how you use your electricity and gas. You can sometimes get these for free from your supplier.
2. Smart thermostat
Smart thermostats can do clever things like controlling the temperature of your home with your smartphone – so no more heating an empty house. It’s claimed savings of up to £150 a year can be made using these, although this will depend on the specific device. Some can even learn your behaviour and monitor the outside temperature so they know if you’ll want the heating on or not.
The upfront cost is something to consider though, as it starts at around £250 with installation.
3. OLED and 4K TVs
The latest TVs are mainly LED and are all pretty efficient, costing around two thirds less to run each year than plasma or older CRT TVs.
The new curved OLED televisions are meant to have even better efficiency, but you’re unlikely to see those savings until prices come down. If you’re thinking of 4K – or ‘ultra HD’ – the picture quality might be amazing but they’re less efficient and cost more. Remember that the bigger the screen the more energy it uses.
4. Smart lighting
Smart phone controlled light bulbs let you change the colour and brightness at the touch of a button. You can set patterns that mirror the sun rising or even have a home disco. These bulbs use less power and could last you 25 years. But they cost around £80 a bulb, so it could take a while for savings to come through.
However, if you do have any old style incandescent bulbs around, or even CFL (what most of us think about as energy-saving bulbs), switching to a non-smart LED bulb will cost you a lot less to run.
All information accurate at time of publication.
This article is provided by the Money Advice Service.