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How smart tech can help you to reduce your energy costs

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All pictures: Getty Images

All pictures: Getty Images

All pictures: Getty Images

From smart fridges that tell you when you need milk to Bluetooth-enabled forks that encourage healthy eating, smart technology has come a long way in a very short while.

Smart tech has now moved into the mainstream and Irish homes are getting smarter all the time. Aside from convenience and energy efficiency, one of the major attractions of this technology is the difference it can make to your household bills.

We spoke to Tony Cross of Choosy.ie to find out how smart technology can save you money. Choosy.ie is a new comparison site that makes it even easier to find the cheapest energy provider for you. It can also help you to find a provider that offers great deals on smart home products, helping you to save money on this technology.

How can smart tech save you money?

If you’re not familiar with smart technology, choosing the right options for your home can seem a bit daunting. However, deciding what smart additions to make to your home is easier than you think.

“Inefficient boilers and poor insulation are the first things you should spend money on to cut heating bills,” says Tony.

“But if you are the sort of person regularly in touch with your mobile, then a smart thermostat is a great way to cut energy costs and only keep your home warm when you’re in it, and heat water when you need it. Plus, their added voice connectivity to services like Alexa or Siri means turning off energy you don’t want to use when you’re at home is only a voice command away.”

Although smart tech can reduce your costs, one of the simplest ways to lower your bills is to switch providers.

“In the longer term, it’s important to keep your bills low by switching every year. While thermostats claim to save you around 10pc of your energy usage, you could save another 20pc or more each year with a switch – and it costs nothing at all.

“Also remember these savings only apply to the energy used – things like standing charges from energy companies make up around €200 of your annual electricity bill, and stay fixed no matter how low your energy usage. But by reducing your energy usage you’ll also be reducing carbon emissions - and helping Ireland become a more sustainable country.”

Get the best deals on smart tech

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One of the deterrents to investing in smart technology can be the initial outlay. One option to reduce your expenditure is to choose a provider that offers discounts on these devices.

“At Choosy.ie you can filter smart tech offers from energy companies easily to find the right one for you,” adds Tony.

“Some of the suppliers will offer big discounts on installation and providing the smart tech, but it comes at a price – they tend to wrap the offer in more expensive tariffs, so your bills may be higher in the first year until you switch the following year, when your tech is in place and you find a cheaper tariff. With both of those in place, you can expect to see big savings on annual bills.

“One of our partners, Pinergy, provides a fully integrated smart meter and app and is pay as you go – so the benefits are not just limited to customers who pay bills by direct debit.”

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What type of smart tech should you get?

The advantage of smart tech is that it makes it easy to monitor your usage and to reduce waste. If you’re a tech-savvy person who’s comfortable using apps, you’ll love the control and convenience that it offers.

So what are some of the smart devices that can save you money? Smart thermostats are one of the best cost-cutting options you can make to your home and the following are some of the leading players in the market.

Nest

One of the most popular smart thermostats around, Nest lets you control your entire heating system from a free app once it’s been connected. Alternatively, it can use smart learning to automatically adjust your settings based on your habits and behaviour. You can also connect your Nest to other smart devices like plugs or security cameras and access it using Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant’s voice controls.

Climote

Climote also offers full control over your home heating from your phone but one neat feature is that it comes with its own SIM card, so it accesses its smart features using a mobile network. That’s particularly useful if you live in a part of the country that doesn’t have broadband or a reliable Wi-Fi connection, which other devices will need to work.

Hive Active Heating

Like Nest, Hive will let you manage your heating from your home and it’s been designed to connect to a range of other smart devices like plugs, ovens or fridges. It also works with the likes of Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant so you can simply tell your heating what you want it to do.

Netatmo

Netatmo also lets you remotely control your home heating but with some added features that separate it from the pack. Its Auto-Adapt feature can measure the outdoor temperature to decide when to switch your heating on and its Auto-Care function tells you if there are any problems with your heating. It also produces a monthly report to tell you how much money you’ve saved.

Choosing the right smart technology for you is all about finding the devices that fit your lifestyle and your needs. With Choosy, you can find out what smart tech offers are available from what providers so it’s a great way to get the best deals on this technology.

Choosy.ie. You've nothing to losey. Visit Choosy.ie from the Irish Independent and see how much you could save by switching energy supplier today.

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