5 smartphone apps to help you cut your energy bills
In recent years, US energy companies have been pushing the limits of exploration and technology in order to ensure we have viable future energy supplies. From the really contentious such as drilling for oil in nature reserves to potential earth quake inducing fracking - there's no lengths energy companies won't go to. But are there simpler ways to cut the cost of gas and electricity whilst safeguarding what precious little we already have?
Yes, but you're going to take a good, hard look at how you live your life and start asking where YOU can help. You see, the energy suppliers are only responding to demand - the more fuel we use the more they need to find.
With that thought in mind, it's time to take a look at 5 smartphone apps that really can help cut the cost of heating, or cooling, your home (even if by only making you aware of how much you're unnecessarily paying for).
EcoFactor Home Energy Savings Mobile App
Adjust your home's temperature settings anytime, anywhere. This app gives you the convenience to remotely control your heating, cooling, and to turn your fan on or off. There's also a 'Set Away' feature for when you're leaving your home for an extended period of time to save you additional money on your energy bill.
Otherwise, just sit back, relax, and let SunPower is the perfect answer to any questions you have about the efficiency of the photovoltaic mounted in your home. The app not only tracks your daily power usage but also gives you a pretty accurate picture of how much energy the solar panels produce during the course of the day. What makes this app even more useful is its ability to show you a historical view of your panel's efficiency which will help identify problems and faulty components.
Kill-ur-watts has been created by KeyLogic Systems. The software originally came into being after Keylogic identified a gap in consumers knowledge during the companies participation in the DoE's "Apps for Energy" programme. The application is fairly simple: it allows you to view, track, and manage the electricity used in your home. By giving users simple, easy-to-read graphs highlighting information such as peak usage times and costs, daily and historical electricity usage and energy score, cutting home energy costs becomes very simple. One feature we really like is the ability to input all the details of electrical devices in your home and view their energy consumption as a pie chart.
Light Bulb Finder
There's a dizzying array of apps designed to find the best energy suppliers for smartphones. But sometimes the sheer volume of data and the avalanche of discounted gas and electricity deals is almost impossible to keep track of. Wouldn't life be so much simpler if, rather than battering your brain with facts and figures about how many cubic metres of gas or Kw you're burning every day, an app told you the best devices for your lifestyle?
Well, the Light Bulb Finder does just that. Available for both the iPhone and Android-based cell phones, this app lets you browse the most suitable light bulbs for your fixtures and fittings and order them without stepping outside the comfort of your home. The database of light bulbs will even calculate the savings you make and work out the time it takes to recoup the cost of your investment.
Monitoring your energy consumption in real time might not be everyone's cup of tea but getting a visual display of how much you're on a minute by minute basis can be quite sobering. Designed to work with Visible Energy's range of WiFi enabled devices, UFO+ has a number of enhancements over the previous version, the most useful of which is the psychometric calculations graphs. A big word that simply means you can see how efficient your heating and air conditioning systems are as well as helping to identify ways to cut your costs.
iGo Vampire Calculator
Vampires are the blood suckers of the world. They latch onto their victim and suck the blood out of them until they're nearly dead. A short time later the victim rises and joins the rank of the vampires. Now most of us assume that vampires are fictitious but I can assure you're they're not - they lurk in your home but these vampires are sucking electricity, not blood. Devices such as games consoles, flat screen TVs, DVD players, etc will happily eat power as they sit in standby for days on end. iGo Vampire will work out exactly how much power each of these devices is drawing and let you know how much money you're wasting.
That's 5 apps that can help you cut your home energy bills. Sure, some of them require you think about how you live your life but, hey, if you weren't an intelligent, caring and responsible person who cares about the world you live, you wouldn't be reading this article, right?
Have fun playing with these apps and if you have any thoughts or improvements then let us know and we'll feature them in a future post.
Written by James Redden
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Last update: 01 November 2013
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