How much does it cost to run a smart home?

A smart home can be a convenient and energy efficient way to control and automate various aspects of your home. However, it’s important to understand the potential costs involved in setting up and running a smart home.

First, the initial cost of purchasing and installing smart home technology can vary depending on the specific products and services you choose. Some popular smart home devices, such as smart thermostats and smart lighting systems, can cost anywhere from £100 to £300+. If you want to integrate multiple smart devices and create a fully automated and smart home system, the costs can quickly add up.

In addition to the initial cost of purchasing and installing smart home technology, there are also ongoing costs to consider. For example, some smart home devices require a subscription or monthly service fee in order to access advanced features or receive software updates. These can add up over time, especially if you have multiple devices that require a subscription.

I tend to avoid these subscriptions, but I did signup for Lightwave Plus, as it came with a free light switch and some good additional features. That said, if it didn’t come with the switch, I probably wouldn’t have. For this article though, I’m concentrating on the energy costs.

How much does it cost to run smart devices?

To demonstrate the cost of running each part of my smart home, I used an energy monitor to measure the consumption and then I calculated a cost (to 2 decimal places) using the current UK electricity rates, which at the time of writing, was £0.34 per kWh. All consumption figures are based on the standby consumption too, so if you listen to music, turn a light on etc, that will use more, as it would if you manually turned a radio, light etc on, so I’ve focused on what I believe would be an extra cost outside of normal non-smart use.

QtyDescriptionWhCost each (day)Cost each (month)Cost each (year)Total cost (year)
3Raspberry Pi 4 with OEM charger3.5£0.03£0.86£10.42£31.27
1Lightwave RF Link Plus Hub1.2£0.01£0.29£3.57£3.57
6Lightwave RF Smart Series Switch (single)*1£0.01£0.24£2.98£17.87
1Lightwave RF Smart Series Switch (dual)*2£0.02£0.49£5.96£5.96
2Philips Hue Bridge V21.7£0.01£0.42£5.06£10.13
4Philips Hue Bulb E270.6£0.01£0.15£1.79£7.15
2Philips Hue Bulb B220.6£0.01£0.15£1.79£3.57
11Philips Hue Bulb GU10*0.5£0.01£0.12£1.49£16.38
1Ring Door Bell Chime0.5£0.01£0.12£1.49£1.49
2Amazon Echo Mk13.1£0.03£0.76£9.23£18.47
2Amazon Echo Dot Mk31.4£0.01£0.34£4.17£8.34
1Amazon Echo Dot Mk41.2£0.01£0.29£3.57£3.57
1Amazon Echo Spot Mk11.4£0.01£0.34£4.17£4.17
1Apple Home Hub Mini0.7£0.01£0.17£2.08£2.08
1Apple TV 4k1.3£0.01£0.32£3.87£3.87
1Apple TV HD1.5£0.01£0.37£4.47£4.47
3Meross smart plug0.3£0.01£0.07£0.89£2.68
3Smart life smart plug0.4£0.01£0.10£1.19£3.57
1Meross smart extension cable0.33£0.01£0.08£0.98£0.98

* I was unable to test these, so have used the figures quoted by the manufacturer.

If there’s enough interest, I might expand on this article to include broadband routers, switches, wireless access points and security cameras.

What savings will I make with a smart home?

Furthermore, it’s important to consider the potential energy savings of a smart home. While smart thermostats and smart lighting systems can help you save on your energy bills, they will only be effective if you use them properly. If you don’t adjust the settings and use the devices as intended, you may not see any significant savings on your energy bills, and as I type this, I realise that I didn’t include my Nest thermostat, but I’ll save that for another day.

So will a smart home actually save you money, well it’s like I’ve already said, it depends how you use it and if that’s why you have it. The main reasons for having a smart home was because I’m lazy, but also because the wife and kits walks around the house leaving all the lights on, so I have Philips Hue motion sensors and automations to turn them off.

Other benefits of a smart home

Aside from making your life easier around the house, buy using automations and your voice to control your home, one of the other major benefits is security. You can automate your house to give the impression that someone is at home, even when you aren’t.

For example you can times lights to turn on in your living room, then the bedrooms etc, to make it looks like you’re changing locations in the house.

Another useful thing I have setup, is an automation through IFTTT to flash the Philips Hue bulbs when someone rings my Ring doorbell, or an Echo timer goes off. This is particularly useful if you set a timer in another part of the house that you might not hear and forget about.

Final thoughts on the cost of running a smart home

Overall, the cost of running a smart home can vary depending on the specific products and services you choose, as well as your usage habits. While a smart home can offer convenience and potential energy savings, it’s important to carefully consider the potential costs and make sure it’s the right decision for you, your budget and lifestyle.

From going through this exercide, I’ve realised that the older kit, namely the mk1 Echo’s, are really expensive to run, so I’ll probably look to just get rid of these, along with one or two of my Raspberry Pi’s, as these all add up.

I must admit, I am shocked at how much it costs, but I don’t regret having a smart home, I’ll just be looking to make it a little more efficient.

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