Smart Device Use in the United States

What smart devices do we use the most in America? How prevalent are smart phones in our daily lives? Let’s find out more about smart devices in the U.S!

United States of Smart Devices: 

The Pew Research Center has been carefully tracking device use in the U.S. for years. We’ve always loved our electronics and innovative technology, so it isn’t surprising to find that Americans are often early adopters that go all-in with device use.

In the Internet of Things (IoT) era, smart devices have quickly gained traction to become an important part of everyday life. And we’re not just talking smart phones. That device has been the catalyst for a wide range of other smart devices that are able to connect and operate using your phone. 

All of these devices use a fair amount of energy. They use so much electricity for charging that the Energy Information Administration (EIA) added small electronic devices as a specific item in the Other Uses category on the 2015 Residential Energy Consumption Survey.

All of these devices add to your electricity bill, which made us wonder how many people in the U.S. have smart devices. And what is the state of smart device use in the United States today? Let’s find out!

What Types of Smart Devices Are We Using?

Which smart device is an American most likely to own? It’s safe to say we have somewhat of an obsession with our smart phones, but there are a lot of other smart devices that peak our interest. 

Smart Phones 

This is clearly the largest segment of smart devices. Although nearly all Americans have had a cell phone for some time, in 2011 only 35% of people had a smart phone. In the Pew Research Center’s latest survey they found 85% of Americans had a smart phone at the start of 2021. Just two years ago, 81% of people had a smart phone. 

Given that 97% of people own cell phones, clearly there is still room for growth that will likely happen. 

Smart Home Devices

There’s a broad range of smart home devices, because people are buying them. A recent survey by ValuePenguin discovered that 65% of Americans now have at least one smart home device. 

But that number will likely grow substantially in the next few years. Between 2018 and 2026 the smart home device market is expected to grow by an astounding 25.3%. By 2025 smart home devices will be a $135.3 billion dollar industry. 

Fastest Growing Sectors of Smart Devices in the U.S.

The devices above have become common, but in a market that’s growing rapidly there are sure to be more game changing smart devices around the corner. Here’s a look at a few smart devices that you’ll see in more homes moving forward. 

Smart Locks

Home security has always been a top priority for homeowners in America. It was only a matter of time before smart locks became common, and it seems that time has arrived. Industry experts estimate that the smart lock market will grow by 12% in the U.S. between now and 2026.

The experts cite several reasons for the growing adoption of smart locks. First and foremost is growing concern over home safety. However, the rise of home automation, IoT and general awareness about the products is also increasing the number of smart locks that are installed. 

Smart Devices for Energy Management

There is increasing consumer demand for smart devices that allow for energy management. Already we are seeing an uptick in smart HVACR (heating, ventilation, air conditioning, and refrigeration) devices and automated heater controls. Many new builds include these types of features to attract buyers. But based on consumer interest, we may soon see smart devices for whole home energy management beyond the HVAC system and refrigeration. 

Smart Plugs

One of the smartest new devices is actually used to power up your smart devices. The use of smart plugs is expected to grow right alongside the smart devices that plug into them. It only makes sense given that control is a top concern for consumers, and a smart plug lets you turn the power supply on or off from anywhere. 

As Internet access is expanded and more people begin using smart phones, we can expect to see smart device use increase in the U.S. It’s something that the energy sector is watching closely since it will surely have an impact on energy consumption in the U.S. moving forward. 

Want a reliable energy plan to power all of your smart devices? Provider Power offers fixed rate energy plans that make rates more reliable no matter how many smart devices you own. Check to see if Provider Power plans are available in your area!

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How to Charge Electronic Devices Efficiently

How many devices do you have plugged in right now? Chances are there is at least one phone, tablet or laptop hooked up to an electric outlet. 

Today nearly 6% of a household’s annual electricity use is from electronics. The total number of connected devices in the U.S. home has grown to 25 devices on average. And all of those devices need the power to keep working.

The more efficiently you charge your devices the longer they’ll last and the less energy you’ll use. So let’s jump right into the dos and don’ts of charging devices efficiently.

Don’t Charge Devices Overnight

Charging devices overnight isn’t good for the battery or your energy bill. Your battery won’t overload, but overnight charging does waste the battery’s lifespan. Here’s why. Devices are designed to quit charging once they reach 100%. However, in the background things are being used on the device so small amounts of power are being used. The charger will kick back on even if the battery drops to 99%.

As you can see even after the device is fully charged it will keep drawing small amounts of electricity that are completely wasted. It’s something called trickle charging. Never use the fast chargers overnight because this will be an even bigger issue. 

Do Short Periodic Charges

Instead of long charges that go from 0 to 100, aim to do smaller charges more periodically. With a compatible charger, you can get a good charge after just 30 minutes to an hour. Doing short charges puts less strain on the battery so that it will last longer.

Don’t Keep Devices in Hot Areas

Heat is known to zap the battery life of electronic devices at a faster pace. Think of electronic devices like human beings. About 78 degrees Fahrenheit is a comfortable temperature that will still conserve energy.

Another thing you’ll want to avoid is covering up your device and/or the charger. The device could still heat up in a mild temperature if it’s under a pillow or buried in a blanket. 

Do Use a Solar Charger

You’ll want to keep all of your devices in the shade except your solar chargers. Solar charges give you a way to keep devices powered without adding to the strained electric grid or your energy bill. But the pros do come with a few cons.


Doesn’t use electricity.

Available power supply when there’s no outlet.


May take longer to charge devices.

Need sun exposure to provide a charge.

You may also want to avoid wireless chargers of any kind right now. The issue is heating again. Sitting devices on wireless chargers can generate heat that isn’t good for the battery. 

Don’t Use High Speed Chargers Often

High-speed chargers are very convenient. Charging devices in less time seems like a huge upside – until you consider the downside. High-speed chargers use more voltage and that generates more heat. And as you now know, heat is never good for batteries in the long run.

Do Quick Charges With High Speed Chargers

If you need to charge up quickly or the only option is a high-speed charger there are ways to avoid overcharging and overheating the device. Only use high-speed chargers for 15-20 minutes max. The goal is to get enough of a charge to make it to another charger with less voltage. 

Don’t Wait Until the Battery is Completely Dead

Waiting until you reach 0% battery life isn’t the best time to break out your charger. Today’s lithium-ion battery will actually wear out sooner if you bring them all the way down to zero. The recommendation is to plug the device in before you get a 20% low battery warning. And if the warning pops up it’s definitely time to charge. 

Do Charge Devices to 80-90%

Experts recommend not charging a battery up to full power as it strains the battery just like running it down to empty. To extend the life of the battery as long as possible, just charge it up to 80-90%. 

Don’t Use Your Device While Charging

The whole reason you’re charging a device is probably that you need to use it. However, you should resist the urge to do so while the device is charging. Doing so could cause mini-cycling that makes the charging process take significantly longer.

Do Use a Smart Plug

Smart plugs are the latest craze in home automation and energy efficiency. You can use them to avoid overheating the battery with overcharging. Just plug the device in and then set the smart plug to supply power for a little amount of time. 

Charging devices more efficiently is something you’ll have to do on your own but at least you can count on Provider Power to deliver reliable energy when you need it. You can compare available energy plans and find the one that works for you while you wait for your devices to charge!

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The Ideal Home Temperature for Summer

Worried the increasing heat is going to cause your electric bill to skyrocket? Not sure what the thermostat should be set at to stay comfortable and minimize energy use?

It seems like the answer would be very straightforward and simple. It’s easy to say set your thermostat at 78 degrees and you’re done. But in reality, the best home temperature during the summer really depends on the situation. In this post we’ll provide a breakdown of the ideal temperature range based on activity in the home. 

Ideal Summer Temperature Setting When You’re Home

The summer thermostat temperature for when you’re home will feel a little more comfortable than when you’re away. The general recommendation is to keep the temperature at 78 degrees Fahrenheit while you’re home. If you can increase the temperature a few degrees and remain comfortable go ahead and set the thermostat a little higher. 

Good to Know

When you set your thermostat over 72 degrees you’ll save energy. For every degree over 72 degrees you should save about 3% on your AC costs. 

Ideal Summer Temperature Setting When You’re Away for the Day

If you plan to be gone from your house for at least a few hours you can turn the heat up a little. The U.S. Department of Energy suggests increasing the temperature by 7-10 degrees when you’re away from home for the day. Using this temperature range for eight hours a day should reduce your electric bill by about 10%. 

Good to Know

Unlike the wintertime, there’s no risk of immediate home damage if it isn’t a certain temperature inside. The goal is to get the air inside as close to the temperature outside as possible. The closer you get it the less energy you’ll use.

Ideal Summer Temperature Setting When You’re Away for the Weekend

Many people take vacations during the summer, especially weekend trips. You can offset the cost of a weekend vacation by bumping the temperature up by 10+ degrees the entire time you’re gone. Even if the house is 90 degrees inside no one will be there to feel it, and you’ll have plenty of time to get the home cooled down before you get back. 

Good to Know

If you live in a hot climate, keep the temperature no higher than 85-90 degrees when you’re gone. Sustained sweltering heat inside and outside of the home could damage temperature-sensitive devices and appliances.

Ideal Summer Temperature Setting When You’re Asleep

In the 7-9 hours that we sleep every night (ideally) our core body temperature lowers. Researchers have discovered that the ideal temperature for sleeping is 86 degrees when a person is uncovered and undressed. It’s possible to remain comfortable at night with the temperature set to 80-82 degrees when you’re wearing light clothing to sleep and ditching the covers. 

This should definitely be a comfortable temperature range if your bedroom has a ceiling fan that can be used. You may even be able to raise the temperature over 82 degrees with the ceiling fan on. 

Good to Know

Many regions of the country get a reprieve from the heat at night. It might actually cool off enough at night to shut down the AC entirely and open the windows for airflow. 

Things to Keep in Mind When You’re Setting Your Thermostat

Below are a few more things to keep in mind no matter what the situation is or where you live. 

  • Make sure the thermostat is programmed correctly. Check out this guide on setting a thermostat in the summer.
  • Always consider potential health risks. You may need to keep the home cooler if you have elderly family members, a baby or someone with a health condition is living in the house.
  • Don’t forget about indoor plants. Some plants won’t do well in warmer temperatures. 
  • Program your thermostat to lower the temperature to 78 degrees 20-30 minutes before arriving home so it feels good inside without adjusting anything manually. 
  • Keep the indoor humidity in mind. You may need to use a dehumidifier during the summer. 

Get reliable electricity all summer long with a fixed-rate energy plan from Provider Power. We’re proud to be among the top-rate electricity suppliers in New England. Find out if Provider Power energy plans are available in your area. 

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Gift Ideas for Dad that will help Improve Energy Efficiency

Father’s Day is a time to show your caring, loving dad how much he means to you. Nothing says “I love you” like helping dad live a healthier lifestyle that also saves valuable energy. It’s the type of practical efficiency that every father can appreciate.

If your dad is the type that told you a million times to turn the light out and stop wasting energy we’ve got six great gift ideas that can make your dad’s home more energy efficient this Father’s Day.

Best Energy Efficient Gift for Dads With Busy Schedules: A Smarter Thermostat

If your dad is the busy type that’s always on the go and has a chaotic schedule the best energy-saving improvement could be a smart thermostat. Unlike a traditional programmable thermostat, a smart thermostat can program itself based on your behaviors and movement around the house.

This is perfect for dads that are all over the place and aren’t sure what they’re schedule is going to be like from week-to-week.

Best Energy Efficient Gift for Empty Nest Dads: Weatherize His Home

A dad who’s little ones have flown the nest has more time, but there’s less help around the house for home maintenance. Do your dad a favor and weatherize his house for the summer so he’s less likely to swelter.

If you’ve already handled the basics like putting weather stripping around the doors and caulking around windows here are some advanced weatherization techniques you can try on Father’s Day:

Insulate the outlets with foam backing and caulking around the plates.
Fill in any gaps and patch all holes in the garage where conditioned air can leak in.
Replace the HVAC air filter.
Add insulation in the attic.

You can go the extra mile and pay to have an AC technician come out to do an HVAC tune-up so there are no breakdowns in the heat of summer. During the tuneup, the technician should look to see if there are leaks in the ductwork that need to be sealed.

Best Energy Efficient Gift for Dads with Young Kids: Smart Washer and Dryer

Dads with young kids do lots of laundry loads every week. It’s a chore few fathers look forward to in the moment and when they get the utility bill.

If you read our blog regularly, then you already know that a clothes dryer is one of the worst appliances for your electric bill. And the washing machine can be an energy hog too if it’s an older top-loading model. Do your dad a favor and get the siblings together to purchase a new smart washer and dryer set.

Most are ENERGY STAR certified, which means they are designed to use less energy. On top of that, smart clothes washers and dryers can be controlled remotely and even set up on a schedule. This is perfect for fathers that have a time-of-use electricity plan because you can time laundry to run when the price per kilowatt-hour is the cheapest. You can also dial in the settings so that each load is run as efficiently as possible.

Best Energy Efficient Gift for Nature-Loving Dads: A Strategically Planted Tree

Trees provide much-needed shade in the summertime, and that shade could lead to energy savings. Here’s a fun fact from – 76% of the sunlight that comes through a regular double-pane window transfers into heat inside. It’s enough to make you want to turn the AC down a few degrees, which increases energy use.

By strategically planting a tree where it blocks direct sunlight hitting windows you can help your dad feel a little more comfortable this summer. But keep three things in mind:

Which trees are native to the area and most likely to grow.
How wide and tall the tree will likely be when it’s fully grown.
Trees need to be far enough away from the house that the roots won’t affect the foundation and the limbs won’t rub against the house.

One more thing to think about is whether you want to plant an evergreen tree that blocks the sunlight year round. This can be a good idea in warmer climates with mild winters.

BONUS: Mature trees add value to the property, so it’s a great investment.

Best Energy Efficient Gift for Brainy dads: Take an MIT Open Energy Course Together

Did you know MIT offers free courses online? And did you know they have a whole program for energy-related courses, like Intro to Sustainable Energy?

Give your dad the gift of knowledge by signing the two of you up for a course. Brainy dads will appreciate learning how to use energy more efficiently and what energy-saving technology is around the corner. They’ll also enjoy getting to take the course with you as a fellow student.

Best Energy Efficient Gift for Techie Dads: An Energy Monitor

Home energy efficient doesn’t get more high-tech than an energy monitor. A home energy monitor gives you real-time readings of how much electricity your home is using and where usage can be reduced. These monitors can also tell you when electronics or appliances shut down or if they begin using more electricity, which signals there could be a problem.

Sense is the gold standard for home energy monitors. It’s pricey at around $300, but your dad could easily end up saving that much in energy by using the monitor to detect inefficiencies. It will also track trends to help you form better energy use habits. For a whole lot less you can get the VUE Smart Home Energy Monitor and still find plenty of ways to save energy.

Give your Father the gift of reliable energy from a supplier that cares! Provider Power has helped families across New England save millions while also supporting more than 100 local non-profits. Check to see if Provider Power energy plans are available in your dad’s neighborhood.

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Which House Air Filters are Best?

Did you know your air filter can impact how much energy your household uses each month? That inexpensive air filter is directly tied to the HVAC system and could help you save hundreds of dollars a year – if you choose the right one.

Air filters impact the HVAC system in two key ways:

They keep contaminants out of the HVAC equipment.

They can potentially restrict airflow.

When the airflow is restricted the HVAC system has to work harder to regulate the temperature inside a home. When the HVAC system works harder it increases the amount of energy that’s used to heat and cool the home. 

The goal with an air filter is to find a good balance between removing contaminants from the air without impeding the HVAC system.

Pay Attention to the MERV Rating

If you’ve looked at the air filter aisle of a big box home improvement store you may have noticed something called the MERV rating. MERV stands for minimum efficiency reporting values. It’s a measure of the air filter’s capabilities. 

A household air filter is given a MERV rating to indicate how well it clears the air of particles between the size of 0.3 and 10 microns and what kind of particles are removed. The higher the MERV rating is the better it is at removing particles.

The one downside is air filters with a higher efficiency rating are thicker, more pleated and more particles are captured, all of which can restrict airflow. 

The MERV rating scale ranges from 1 to 16. A MERV rating between 11-13 is usually a good mix of air purification and airflow

Why You Don’t Want a HEPA HVAC Air Filter

You may have heard of HEPA air filters. HEPA stands for high efficiency particulate air. They are the air filters that are well above a MERV 13 rating. A HEPA air filter can clear 99.97% of particles that are 0.3 micron. Particles at this size are the worst because they penetrate the easiest.

HEPA air filters are amazingly good at clearing the air, which is perfect for an air purifier or vacuum bag. But they would put a horrendous strain on an HVAC system due to airflow restriction.

Household Considerations for Air Filter Selection

Now that you understand the impact of MERV rating, it’s time to consider your household members, activities and routines. There are specialty air filters that may be better suited for your home than a standard option.

If someone has allergies: Look for an air filter that has a higher MERV 13 rating and specifies that it removes allergens. Also, consider using a HEPA air purifier in the person’s bedroom.

If someone has asthma or a respiratory illness: Look for an air filter with a higher MERV 13 rating and can remove virus particles from the air.

If you have an indoor pet: Look for an air filter that removes animal dander. Reusable filters that need to be cleaned aren’t recommended.

If you have pet or smoke odor: Look for an air filter with an activated carbon treatment to remove odor particles from the air. 

If you have an existing HVAC system: It’s best to always stick to the air filter type that’s recommended by the manufacturer. Either look at the current air filter or read the HVAC system manual.

No Matter What, Change or Clean Air Filters Regularly

No matter what type of air filter you ultimately end up going with, it will need to be cleaned or replaced regularly. How often this needs to be done isn’t the same for all households. 

  • Generally speaking, a disposable air filter needs to be changed at least every three months. 
  • If you have pets in the home it’s best to change the air filter every 1-2 months. 
  • If anyone in the home has allergies, asthma or another respiratory problem change the air filter every 1-2 months. 
  • In the summer months when the HVAC system is used more often consider changing your air filter at least once every two months. 
  • Reusable air filters should be washed at least once a month.

Keep in mind an air filter that needs to be changed or cleaned is possibly restricting airflow and causing the HVAC system to work overtime. The extra energy use could even cost more than replacing the filter. The Department of Energy estimates that replacing or cleaning dirty air filters can reduce HVAC energy use by as much as 15%.

Air filters are simple yet essential parts of an HVAC system that can help reduce or cause an increase in your utility bill. Get a better idea of what your HVAC expenses will be in New England by comparing current electricity rates

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Find Out What Size Furnace Your Home Needs With This Q&A

Many homeowners will get lucky and go years without needing to replace a furnace. That should be the case if you buy a relatively new home since most furnaces are built to last 15-20 years if you maintain the equipment. 

But if your furnace is reaching the end of its life (or already ran out of steam) you’re about to learn more about furnaces than you ever thought you would. One of the first things you need to figure out is what size of furnace you need. 

What works for one house may not work for another even if it’s similarly sized and right next door. There are a lot of factors to consider when you’re balancing performance and energy efficiency. The silver lining is that the best furnace size can be determined by answering a few questions. 

How big is your home?

The single biggest factor for determining the right furnace size is the size of the home. The furnace has to generate enough heat to efficiently warm the home to a comfortable level. 

You can use the square footage of your home to calculate heating needs. By simply multiplying the square footage by the British thermal units per hour (BTUH) factor you determine what size is appropriate. So for a 2,000 square foot home that requires 30 BTUH per square foot you’d need a furnace with 60,000 BTUH capacity or higher.


Furnaces are sized in increments of 20,000 BTUH. The higher the BTUH the larger the furnace is going to be. The majority of furnaces are between 60,000-120,000 BTUH.

Where do you live? 

The recommended heating factor (BTU per square foot) is based on where you live in the U.S. Below are the five U.S. regions and their BTU recommendations:

Zone 1 – 30-35 BTU per square foot (Miami, New Orleans, Houston)

Zone 2 – 35-40 BTU per square foot (Los Angeles, Atlanta, Little Rock)

Zone 3 – 40-45 BTU per square foot (Kansas, Missouri, Virginia)

Zone 4 – 45-50 BTU per square foot (Boston, Chicago, New York)

Zone 5 – 50-60 BTU per square foot (Minneapolis, Buffalo)

Some newer, energy efficient homes can actually stay warm with just 15 BTU per square foot. This is often the case in Zone 1 and Zone 2.

How many people are in your household?

The number of people has an impact on heating needs, but having more people in the home could be beneficial. People generate heat, so having a big family together under one roof could mean your furnace doesn’t have to work as hard.

How many rooms are in the home?

The layout and design of a home matters as well. One large, open room has different heating needs compared to several closed off rooms. Walls create heat loss, so homes with lots of rooms and long hallways will require more BTUH to heat. 

How good is the insulation in your home?

Insulation will affect both the size of the furnace and efficiency. If your home is well insulated you could probably get by with a 15 BTUH per square foot. But if the insulation is lacking you may need to bump it up to 35 BTUH. If you aren’t sure, check it out. It may be more cost effective overall to add insulation. 

Some people are surprised to find the age of the home is really only a factor in terms of its insulation. Newer homes tend to have a good amount of insulation using more efficient materials compared to older homes. 

Does your home have high ceilings?

The higher the ceilings are the more vertical space there is to heat. If your home has vaulted ceilings it’s a good idea to bump up the BTU per square foot measurement. For example, a homeowner in Los Angeles with 12 foot ceilings throughout their home may actually need 45 BTU per square foot rather than 35 BTU.

How many windows does your home have?

The more windows there are in the home the higher the heating factor is going to need to be to compensate for the heat loss. If your home has more windows than average you may need to increase the heating factor by 5-10 BTU per square foot.

Provider Power can supply reliable energy no matter what size your furnace is. Find and compare reliable fixed-rate energy plans in your area!

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Monthly Hot Tub Electrical Cost

At the end of a long day relaxing into a bubbling hot tub seems like you suddenly transported yourself to a vacation spot far away from the workweek, stress, and responsibilities of everyday life. How much would you pay to have this luxury right outside your door?

That’s a question a lot of people ask themselves when they consider getting a hot tub. There’s no denying that it’s going to be an investment up front and an ongoing expense. All that heat and water circulation requires a fair amount of energy. 

How much energy? Let’s find out! 

Hot Tub Considerations That Affect Electricity Consumption

The question of how much energy a hot tub uses doesn’t have a straightforward answer. There are many different factors at play that need to be considered if you want to get a more accurate estimate of the monthly cost to run a hot tub.


The heater inside the hot tub is the biggest energy hog. It can draw anywhere from 1,500 to 6,000 watts based on whether it’s a 120-volt or a 240-volt heater.

New hot tubs have a serious energy advantage. The heaters inside are much more efficient today than in years past. If you plan to keep a hot tub for a while it may end up being relatively the same cost or even cheaper to get a new model when energy use is factored in.


The larger the hot tub is the more energy it will use because more water has to be heated. 

Frequency of Use

The more you use the hot tub the higher your monthly electric bill will be. When a hot tub isn’t being used it’s kind of in standby mode. The heater will kick on every so often to maintain the temperature. But when you’re using the hot tub the heater is running continuously. There’s also the pump that will be constantly running too.

Water Temperature

The higher the temperature is set the more energy the hot tub will use and the more expensive it will be to run.

Temperature Outside

The outdoor environment also makes a difference. The cooler it is outside the more energy is required to warm up the hot tub. The monthly expenses will end up being significantly higher in the northern part of the country compared to the southern regions simply due to colder weather.

Fit of the Cover

The better the hot tub cover fits the less energy you’ll need to keep it at the ideal temperature because the heat won’t escape and be wasted. Some people actually get custom covers made so that the fit is precise.

Insulation Around the Hot Tub

Like insulation in your home, insulation around a hot tub makes a huge difference in terms of energy efficiency. The better insulated a hot tub is the better it will hold in the heat when it’s not in use and keep the water temperature warm.

Cost Per Kilowatt-Hour

Another big factor that influences the monthly cost is how much you pay per kilowatt-hour. Two families can use hot tubs for the same amount of time each month but have dramatically different monthly costs due to the kilowatt-hour rate.

The Monthly Cost of Owning a Hot Tub

All of these variables make it very difficult to say exactly how much it costs a month to run a hot tub. There are calculators online that can help you get a better estimate based on big factors like location, hot tub size and kilowatt-hour rate.

Generally speaking, the monthly electric cost for a new hot tub is typically $10-$30. However, some models estimate the monthly electric use to be closer to $50, and the costs are usually higher in the winter months than the summer months.

In terms of actual electricity use, you can get an idea of this based on the heater and pump. Most hot tub heaters use 1,500 or 6,000 watts and the pump will draw around 1,500 more. That means hot tub machinery uses 3-7.5 kilowatt-hours (kWh) per hour of use. If you pay 15 cents a kWh it will cost $0.45-$1.13 an hour to use a hot tub.

One variable is whether or not you have a time-of-use plan. If so, the hot tub use can be timed so that it’s in use when electricity rates are lower or possibly even free.  

Want to find an electricity plan with a reasonable fixed rate that will make monthly costs more predictable? Check to see which Provider Power electricity plans are currently available in your area!

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Green Home Tips for the New Year

If you prefer that your energy comes from a renewable energy source, it’s safe to say you’re also interested in living as green as possible at home. The concept of going green or living green is always evolving because technology and innovation are giving us new ways to minimize our impact without completely giving up modern-day conveniences.

You’ve probably already started replacing all your old light bulbs with CFLs or LEDs and have already programmed your thermostat for optimal efficiency. Today, we’re covering new green home tips that are just now becoming more mainstream. Let’s see if there are some changes you can make to save more energy!

Use the Lagom Approach at Home

If you are committed to living a greener lifestyle that’s much simpler, then you may want to take the lagom approach in your home life. It’s a relatively new concept in the U.S., but it’s been around in Sweden for quite a while. 

The lagom approach focuses on finding contentment in simple, non-material things. In doing so you become more conscious of the waste you create and the amount of energy needed to support your lifestyle. The approach also encourages tracking and measuring energy consumption to become more mindful of how much you use.

The consciousness that comes from using the lagom approach at home can help you identify where you can be saving energy and how to make greener decisions in the future. 

Invest in the Smartest Home Products

Homes are getting smarter by the day. The dramatic increase in smart home products is a result of huge demand. One of the top reasons homeowners invest in smart products is because they can help you save energy. Some products even boast that they can pay for themselves in a matter of months. 

Books can be written and still not cover all of the new smart home products that were released just last year. But here are a few that we think are worth considering.

Smarter Smart Speakers

If you haven’t gotten an Amazon Echo or Google Nest smart speaker now is a good time. The speakers are more intuitive and better at recognizing voices than ever before. Plus, more and more smart device manufacturers are making their equipment smart speaker compatible. As a result, smart speakers can now act like a hub that allows you to put systems on a schedule and keep them optimized for the biggest energy savings.

Smart Outlets

One of the latest parts of the home to become smart are outlets. Smart outlets have been around for a little while but the new versions are more versatile and allow you to control more with schedules and remote control features. Now there are even outdoor WiFi smart plugs for your exterior. 

Countertop Smart Ovens

Refrigerators have been getting smarter for years, and now it’s the oven’s turn. But product developers aren’t just outfitting conventional ovens with smart features. One of the newest smart device trends is the countertop smart oven. It’s a great option for a tiny kitchen without an oven, but it’s still something to consider if you have a regular stove because it saves energy. With the Brava Oven, you can even watch your food cook with your smartphone.

Get More Technical When Selecting Green Home Products

These days consumers are smarter than ever, and they are much more aware. Many understand that products can be labeled as “green” or “all-natural” without actually being better for the planet. Luckily, there are now tools that consumers can use to gauge how green a house project, materials, or a product will be before buying. Here are a few to try:

EC3 Carbon Footprint Calculator

If you plan to build or renovate your home take the time to check out EC3’s carbon footprint calculator. It can be used to measure the carbon footprint of constructing a home as well as how much energy would be used by the home once it’s built or renovated. 

Product Data Sheets

Take your green shopping to the next level with product datasheets. Most manufacturers will provide product data sheets on their websites. In addition to information on how to use a product and the intended purposes, the product data sheet will tell you about the chemical makeup of the materials that are used to know if they are toxic.

New Low Emission Spray Foam Insulation

One of the most common green home tips is to increase the amount of insulation in your home, especially if areas like the attic are lacking it. It makes sense to want to use insulation with the highest rating for better energy savings. For that reason, many homeowners choose to use XPS rigid insulation or spray polyurethane foam (SPUF) insulation. 

People who are committed to having a green home have shied away from foam insulation even though it has a high insulating factor. Why? Because the emissions associated with foam insulation are very concerning. 

Manufacturers have taken note of consumer’s concerns and there are now low-emission foam insulation products. Instead of using hydrofluorocarbons that can release very harmful gases into the air, new foam insulation products are using hydro-fluoro olefins. You can reduce energy use year-round and worry less about what’s being released into the atmosphere. 

Intelligent Remote-Controlled Watering 

Water is one of the most precious resources on the planet. It’s so precious many cities across the country have instated lawn watering restrictions. If you want to keep your garden thriving and green up your grass without feeling bad about it consider the Rachio Smart Sprinkler Controller. It’s a high-tech robotic system that allows you to create a custom watering schedule so you stay within the regulations. But that’s not all. You can customize the watering based on geolocation, soil type, and more.  

Another way to decrease your family’s carbon footprint is to choose an energy plan that’s powered by renewable resources. At Provider Power, we offer fixed-rate green energy plans that make renewable power possible for more people. 

Check out Provider Power plans available in your area

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