Smart home tech is convenient, and it can make many common household tasks much less tedious. But there’s another benefit that sometimes gets overlooked by people new to smart technology: It can save you money.  

Utility costs can be a large expense for homeowners and renters, and, with summer approaching, that won’t be changing any time soon. Keeping your home cool and your landscaping beautiful can put a big drain on the budget. Smart tech can help minimize that drain in several ways, though. Let’s take a look. 

1. Save on cooling costs with a smart thermostat 

For many, the start of summer means significant hikes in energy bills. Keeping even a small home cool in the blistering heat is no small task—it can cost as much as $0.33 per hour to run your AC. And with early 2018 already record-breakingly hot,  the cost to cool your home isn’t likely to change any time soon.  

To help offset these costs, install a smart thermostat. The savings can be significant—up to 15% on cooling bills, or about $140 a year. While you might hesitate to make the initial, up-front cost for a smart thermostat, your long-term savings make it worth it. Besides helping you save money, a smart thermostat also makes your life easier and your home more comfortable. For instance, you can remotely control the thermostat with your smartphone, so you always return home to the perfect temperature.  

2. Keep the air flowing with smart fan control 

Ceiling fans are another kind of appliance that run nonstop in summer. These fans help circulate the air in your house. Keeping them running means that you can set your thermostat a few degrees higher and save some extra energy and money—but leaving the  fans running all day is another big energy drain.  

Smart fan control devices like the GE Z-Wave Plus Wireless Smart Fan Speed Control let you control your fans from your smartphone, anywhere you have service or Wi-Fi. With these installed, you can easily turn off your fans while you’re at work to conserve energy and then turn on them on again before you get home to give the air a chance to circulate.  

If you don’t have a ceiling fan in your home, you can also control standing fans or box fans with a connected smart plug. These plugs offer the same level of control without the complicated wiring, and they can even track the fans’ energy usage. 

3. Water smarter with a smart sprinkler system 

Summer means spending time outdoors, so you’ll want your landscaping looking great. A smart sprinkler system can help keep your lawn watered and healthy. It can also help minimize wasted water, which can add up quickly—watering an average-sized lawn can cost between $50 and $150 per month, depending on where you live. Devices like the FortrezZ Z-Wave Plus Flow Meter allow you to control and automate water use, detect leaks, and track water usage, providing a total water management solution.  

4. Use a smart lighting controller to illuminate your outdoor space  

Nothing spruces up a deck or patio like landscape lighting. But powering a bunch of spotlight bulbs can eat up your energy budget in a hurry.. A smart controller like the GE Z-Wave Plus On/Off Smart Lighting Control Outdoor Module gives you wireless control of your lighting, so you can keep the curb appeal high and the energy bill low. If possible, look for bulbs with Energy Star certification; using these efficient bulbs in just five of your most-used light fixtures can save you up to $75 per year.  

Smart technology isn’t just about convenience. It can also have practical, money-saving applications in the home. And these ideas are just the tip of the iceberg—keep an eye out for more as the smart device field continues to grow!