Are high-tech gadgets in the home an expensive luxury or can they actually save you money?
Many high-tec or ‘smart’ gadgets are designed to make life easier around the home or save you some time but there are a host which can now also save you money.
Energy is where you are probably going to make the biggest savings. Most big appliances from TVs to fridges come with a European grading system. A or B may sound good but they are 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 so make sure you check your potential savings before you buy.
As for some of the latest gadgets, here is how they compare:
- 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 are unlikely to see those savings until prices come down. If you are thinking of 4K, or ‘ultra HD’, the picture quality might be amazing but they are less efficient and cost more. Remember that the bigger the screen the more energy it uses
- 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 twenty five 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.
- Smart meters
Smart meters track and give you real time information on your energy use. But you will only save money if you change how you use your electricity and gas. You can sometimes get these for free from your supplier
- 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 is claimed savings of up to £150 a year can be made using these, although this will depend on the specific device. Some can even adapt to your behaviour and monitor the outside temperature so they know if you will want the heating on or not.
The upfront cost is something to consider though, as it starts at around £250 with installation.
With the savings you earn you could perhaps invest in the world’s most expensive vacuum cleaner.
This limited edition GoVacuum GV62711 24 carat gold plated vacuum will set you back around half a million pounds. However, for that price, you’d expect it to clean the house for you!