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How to save money with your smart home this winter

Keeping your home warm and cozy during the winter is a challenge. Homes equipped with a fireplace benefit from a frugal heating option — though there’s no doubt they can be messy and time-consuming to clean. You can also ramp up your furnace, but that’s a quick way to spend a fortune on your heating bill.

Instead, consider using smart home gadgets to save money and keep your house at a nice temperature until spring rolls around. If you need some help getting started, here are a few smart home gadgets that can help you make it through the cold, dark winter.

Invest in smart blinds

Fyrtur blackout blinds in a bedroom.
Ikea

Thick blinds are a great way to insulate your home from the elements, ensuring none of that cold outdoor air sneaks through any seams in your windows (or sliding doors). Smart blinds (or smart shades, as they’re often called) make it easy to keep your home warm in the winter, as you can automate their performance. Many of them can even be automated to open or close with the sun — enabling them to warm your home during the day and then close without manual input when the sun goes down.

Check out our list of the best smart blinds to start your search. Alternatively, consider picking up a cheap DIY solution like the SwitchBot Smart Curtain to bring smarts to your existing setup.

Pick up a space heater

The Dyson HP09 near a countertop.
Dyson

Space heaters are an obvious way to stay toasty during the winter. Smart space heaters are an even better option, as they can typically be controlled remotely through a smartphone app or via voice commands. This makes it easier than ever to regulate the temperature of your home or heat up a drafty basement without touching your central thermostat. Consider looking at one of the many products offered by Dyson, some of which also serve as an air purifier and tower fan.

Upgrade to a smart thermostat

The Google Nest Learning Thermostat in stainless steel.
Nest

You could also consider upgrading to a smart thermostat for the winter. These products aren’t much more expensive than standard thermostats, yet give you enhanced control over their performance. Along with setting schedules and having the ability to be accessed remotely, some can learn your routines and suggest ways to reduce your energy usage.

The Nest Learning Thermostat is always a great option, but check out our list of the best smart thermostats for other top picks. Most of these work with platforms like Amazon Alexa and Google Home, allowing you to sync their performance with the rest of your smart home.

Monitor your energy usage with smart plugs

Four Emporia Smart Plugs displayed on a wooden table.
Jon Bitner / Digital Trends

Smart plugs are a pretty boring class of smart home gadgets — but they’re incredibly versatile when used properly. One of the best ways to employ them is to track energy usage, as the majority of products will give you a report detailing how much electricity has been used throughout the day, week, or even month. Consider syncing your computer or other electronics to the smart plug to get a full picture of how much these devices are costing you, then consider using the smart plug to turn them off when not in use instead of letting them idle.

The best smart plugs include picks from popular brands like Amazon, but also lesser-known companies like Emporia and TP-Link.

Swap to smart bulbs

GE Smart Bulbs installed in a game room.
GE

There’s a good chance you’re already using LED bulbs in your home (which are incredibly energy efficient), but you can go a step further and upgrade to smart bulbs to improve your energy usage. Today’s most popular smart bulbs can be programmed to turn on or off at a set time, giving you enhanced control over how often you’re leaving the lights on. During the winter, you can program the smart lights in your bedroom to simulate the sunrise, which should make it a bit easier to get out of bed on those cold mornings.

The best smart lights include brands such as Philips, Wyze, and Nanoleaf.

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Jon Bitner
Jon Bitner is a writer covering consumer electronics, technology, and gaming. His work has been published on various websites…
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