Winterizing your smart home?

Hey community!

I live in a two bedroom apartment that is housed in a duplex style building. My roommate moved out as did the lady who lived downstairs. My goal this winter is to reduce electric and gas costs considering i’m now paying for everything myself and the bottom unit may not be running the furnace so I can’t get that free heat coming up through the floor.

I’m hoping to save green while going green. Any suggestions? I just ordered a nest on eBay as well as plastic window coverings to winterize the windows. The air gets dry in the winter so any suggestions to add humidity considering my unit doesn’t have a built in humidifier?

you can turn off water to the downstairs or empty apartments if you have valves but you will have to make sure you can drain those pipes and run antifreeze through the appliances and put in the toilets etc. also leave all water valves open… then you could turn off the heat in those areas … if you have control

Often the biggest savings come from lights unless you are already using all LEDs.

Switching to LED lights (they don’t have to be smart bulbs they could be dumb LEDs controlled by smart switches or plugs) and then setting up your house so that only the areas that are actually in use are lit can save a lot of money. Many people overlight homes in the winter, because they turn on the lights as soon as the sun sets, and the whole house stays lit until their same regular bedtime. Instead, if you have the lights follow you around the house, you might end up using 15% of the energy.

However, this is a long-term savings, over 5 to 10 years. The initial set up cost for the devices that control the lights can be expensive.

@bravenel @jody.albritton @smart @dfairbro1 and others have done extensive lighting related set ups, maybe they can speak more as to whether they’ve seen any cost savings.

Big cost savings from replacing lights, at least in my case. Check with your utility company’s for rebates. I have saved 1000’s of $$$. Ours even have specials on LED bulbs (dumb) often, for just a few dollars. Just got a 6 pack of Cree LED’s (dumb) for $13.00. The water company paid for my Rain Machine. Take advantage of any rebates you have.

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Best way to save is put on a sweater and lower the thermostat. Drink hot water.

Humidfication will not save money. It can increase comfort at greater expense. The heat of vaporization is significant and not free, and if you are not insulated/sealed well, then it will be lost to the outside just like the sensible heat.

Good job on the windows. Close the dampers on the unoccupied spaces and monitor them with sensors for low limits.

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@JDRoberts Sorry couldn’t respond as my doctor has formally restricted me to bed for the next few days. :frowning: Since I had bought my house only last year so cannot compare the savings. But I have spent two summers in the house and there is a 40-50$ drop in my bill since last year. I wouldn’t say for sure it was the LED’s but definitely replacing the thermostat and a total roof replacement may have contributed towards it. Peak summer my old HVAC running continuously and dehumidifier in the basement(energy efficient), my bill has been nearly 200$. Last summer, it used to be around 250$. I had zero LED’s, old vintage inaccurate stats, old dehumidifier etc.

Winters typical electric bill last year was around 60$. By then I had replaced all my old bulbs and had newer stats.

And of course no rebates for me in NJ unless I replace my HVAC with energy efficient ones which I cannot afford.

Hang in there, buddy. Hope the rest does you good! :blush:

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This combined with a good thermostat was my biggest cost saver last year. I had temp sensors before and after both projects. You could also add good drapes and heavier window blinds as well. Since it’s an apartment, you won’t be able to do much about the insulation. As for the humidity situation, I had similar issues. Two decently sized humidifiers should keep you comfortable. One of these in each bedroom on a smart outlet. Combine that with a humidity sensor for each room and you can keep the humidity within your comfort zone. During the winter I kept mine around 39%

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Rebates, rebates, rebates. My electric company has a 50% rebate on LEDs, which made it easier to make the switch. There are many Nest rebates along the country, wether it is for the Protect or Thermostat, and Nest also has some electric companies in their Rush Hour Rewards program, and they recently unveiled the Winter Rush Hour program. https://nest.com/rebates-and-rewards/
Look into it and see if you are in one of those lucky places. Also, I recently read that Nest and some company in Illinois made a deal to ensure that about 1 million Nest Thermostats hit the IL homes.
Also, the best way to save may not even be by automating, more in keeping the place properly insulated.