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FROM SMART to GENIUS-tips to raise your home's IQ.

Lori Hicks

A majority of my lifetime has been spent in the central Ohio area. I've watched it grow and change, and am proud to call it my home...

A majority of my lifetime has been spent in the central Ohio area. I've watched it grow and change, and am proud to call it my home...

Oct 24 4 minutes read


Well designed homes which are energy efficient provide both environmental and financial benefits. 

1. Lower Your Water Heater Temperature

Most manufacturers set the water heater temperature to 140 degrees, but 120 degrees is hot enough. Lowering the temperature by 20 degrees can save energy costs from 5-10%.

2. Replace Your Shower Heads

When the idea of water saving shower heads first came out, the flow was "low" and many homeowners shied away from the idea. Today, water efficient models, like American Standard, provide the same stream as a traditional shower head and can save a family up to 8,000 gallons of water per year!

3. Turn Off the Second Rinse on Your Washing Machine

Check your machine's settings to see if the cycle you choose automatically does a second rinse during your laundry cycle. That second rinse is often not necessary and is typically used to rinse away detergent residue that was left behind during the first rinse. That second rinse doubles the amount of water and energy you use during a laundry cycle. If you cannot upgrade to an energy efficient washer, switch to a clean-rinse detergent like those made by Grab Green. You can rinse once, not twice – saving up to 10,000 gallons of water each year, depending on your particular washer.

The average family that rinses twice uses an additional 10,000 gallons of water each year!

4. Turn Off the "Dry" Feature on Your Dishwasher

This setting was designed to speed up the drying process, so you could move on to the next load. If you do not need to wash a second load right away-there is no need for the dry cycle. Turn it off and save an average of 30% on your dishwasher energy costs. 

5. Use Smart Power Strips

Save nearly 10% on your overall electric bill by using smart power strips to plug in desktop computers, tvs, printers, phone chargers, game consoles and any electronics which pull a constant current when plugged in. These devices use energy even if they are not on and a smart power strip blocks that current when the devices are not in use. 

6. Be Smart About "Smart" Gadgets & Choose Those You Will Get Value From

There are a multitude of gadgets and apps that can make your life more "convenient", but adding too many may actually complicate your life. Remember that the smart home devices are often like mini computers connected to the internet, and many still don't communicate with each other. You can now control your home literally from the palm of your hand. Some examples are:

Ecobee 3 Lite- A thermostat that keeps track of when you are home by tracking your phone and adjusts your thermostat accordingly.

Nest Cam- Allows you to stream live video from your security camera to your smart phone.

Schlage Sense Smart Deadbolt- Uses an access code on your phone to unlock your home.

Nest Protect- A smoke alarm which tells you where the smoke is and sends a notice to your phone.

Lutron Caseta- Wireless switches and dimmers which track when you are home and adjust the lights.

Insignia Wi-Fi Smart Plug- This app on your phone allows you to control everything you have plugged in to the same outlet- like your air conditioner, appliances, etc. 

Evaluate whether or not you truly need one of these devices or apps. Zapping your own personal energy worrying about all the apps you need to manage may just not be worth it. Take a look at the product-testing site The Wirecutter  to see reviews on tech gadgets and learn more about smart devices. 

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