As energy prices continue to rise, homeowners and renters alike are looking for ways they can cut back on their utility bills. From adjusting heating and cooling to limiting time of day that appliances are in use, even small changes can have a big impact on the monthly power usage.
Furthermore, energy conservation is one of the most effective ways to reduce our impact on the environment. When we conserve energy, we reduce the need for power plants, which in turn reduces the amount of greenhouse gases they release into the atmosphere. Conserving energy also saves water, since many power plants use water as a coolant.
Home automation with smart devices is one of the most effective ways to reduce your energy consumption at home. By pairing devices like a SwitchBot Motion Sensor and a SwitchBot Plug Mini, you can automatically control whether appliances, lighting, or heating and cooling systems are activated based on whether someone is in the area.
We were given the opportunity to take the Motion Sensor and Plug Mini from SwitchBot for a spin and see how they could help cut energy consumption at home. Keep reading to see how these devices might help you in your journey to become more energy efficient.
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About the SwitchBot Motion Sensor
The SwitchBot Motion Sensor is exactly what it sounds like – a small device that tracks movement and communicates back to an app on your mobile device, as well as to other devices it can be connected to.
It’s powered by batteries and is very lightweight, making it easy to install in any location with some double-sided stickers that come in the package. It’s energy-efficient enough to run on 2 AAA batteries for 3 years, even if it’s being activated dozens of times per day.
You can change the sensitivity of the Motion Sensor to only recognize movement within a certain range of the device, which helps prevent unnecessary activations, which is especially important when you set up automations with your device (more on that later).
The Motion Sensor itself can be used as a standalone device for home security, allowing you to see if there is any movement in your home when you’re not around, but it becomes even more powerful when it’s paired with other SwitchBot devices, like the SwitchBot Plug Mini.
About the SwitchBot Plug Mini
The SwitchBot Plug Mini is a small outlet plug that acts essentially as a pass-through for any device that you would normally plug into your wall – for example, lamps, fans, space heaters, or air conditioners.
The SwitchBot Plug Mini can either be used by itself, allowing you to simply remote control the appliance that it is connected to via a smartphone app, or it can be configured to turn on and off based on an automation.
Additionally, the Plug Mini that we were given to test is compatible with Apple’s HomeKit, allowing the device to automatically be configured with Siri and voice commands (e.g., “Hey Siri, turn the bedroom light off”). HomeKit compatibility also makes the device compatible with Apple’s Home app, available on iPhones and iPads, which acts as a central device manager for various smart home devices.
Setting up both the SwitchBot Motion Sensor and Plug Mini was incredibly easy with an iPhone. Once the SwitchBot app was downloaded, the devices were easily recognized and added to the app dashboard for customization.
Setting up an automation to trigger the Plug Mini based on Motion Sensor activity was equally as straightforward. The controls in the app walk you through the steps needed to configure the devices in such a way that anyone could do it without needing any technical skills.
Adding the Plug Mini to the iPhone Home app was equally as simple, and provided additional levels of control to rename the device and customize how it appears in the Home app.
Once the automation was set up to trigger the Plug Mini (connected to a lamp) based on motion in the room, it worked seamlessly every time without any problems. I have been truly impressed by how reliably both of the devices work together, as well as with ‘Hey Siri’ commands and the iPhone Home app.
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How SwitchBot devices can help save energy and money
Setting up automations to reduce your energy consumption is a great hack to cut down on your utility bills.
The automation could be something simple, such as turning a fan on from only 6pm until 10pm, or it could be triggered by an action from another device, like the Motion Sensor.
- If motion is detected in the Garage, turn the light on; if no motion is detected for 1 minute, turn the light off
Or, by pairing it with a temperature sensor:
- If the temperature is below 68°, turn the space heater on; if the temperature is above 71°, turn the space heater off
One of the really powerful features of the SwitchBot Plug Mini is its energy consumption report. Just tapping the device in the app shows how much energy has been consumed today, how long the device has been powered on, and if it’s currently toggled on, to see how much power and voltage it’s using.
You can also view the history of the device’s power consumption to see if there are trends or unusual spikes that would explain unusual energy bills.
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The SwitchBot Motion Sensor and HomeKit-enabled Plug Mini are a powerful combo to get anyone up and running with basic home automations that will help save energy and reduce your energy consumption. Setting up both of these devices was straightforward simple enough to be done by anyone.
Home automation is the way of the future, and SwitchBot’s smart devices are certainly one of the easiest and most effective ways to get started with it.
For a limited time, SwitchBot is offering a special discount to our readers. Use the code GREENER25OFF to take 25% off your purchase at the SwitchBot site.
Have any questions about the devices or home automation? Let us know in the comments!