Is a smart appliance right for me?

If you’ve been reading the Smart Power Illinois blog, then you’ll know we’re pretty excited about the potential for the Internet of Things (or the IoT, for short) to help make a dent in the human impact on our planet. So how do we start connecting our own homes?

Smart appliances are a great way to jump on the IoT train. When that old fridge or dishwasher gives up the ghost, it might be time to consider replacing it with a smart appliance. But before you go rushing off to your nearest Home Depot or Lowe’s, here’s a quick overview of what smart appliances do and a couple of things to take into account as you figure out which smart appliance is right for you.

What is a smart appliance?
Smart appliances connect to your computer, mobile phone, or tablet through applications that allow them to receive instructions from you and to send you notifications. So, for example, say you’ve got a load of laundry to do, and you’re signed up for a plan with your local utility company that allows you to save money by choosing to use energy when market prices are low. You don’t have to be home to turn the washer on during those off-peak hours. Take full advantage of them by just turning your machine on remotely. Or, imagine getting an alert that the fridge door is open. Maybe the kids are home and didn’t close it firmly. Let them know, and rest easy knowing your energy bill and the food will be intact when you get home.

Smart Appliances and Energy Efficiency
Smart appliances won’t necessarily make your home energy efficient all on their own. But here’s how they help: First, many of them are designed to consume the least amount of energy possible to do their job. Second, by telling you when they are having a problem or when they need maintenance, they help you help them stay in peak performance condition. With a smart appliance, you don’t have to waste time trying to figure out whether something is out of whack, and if so, what the problem is. The appliance will just tell you what’s going on. Last but not least, you can decide when to run your appliances even if you’re not home, so you can take advantage of when and how you use energy in order to save.


What kinds of smart appliances are out there?
Smart appliances can include ovens, washers and dryers, dishwashers, refrigerators, and more. These days, companies are constantly developing new ways to make their products smarter. For example, LG, Bosch, and Whirlpool are just three companies with entire pages devoted to their smart appliance lines. This list of smart appliances from is a helpful resource for comparing models side-by-side — and plans to keep the list updated as new models come on the market. For more details on smart thermostats, specifically, don’t forget to check out our overview of how these little geniuses work.

Do you have a smart appliance already? Tell us what you use in the comments section below.