Updated: Aug 21, 2020
Letting your house track your phone can save you money.
Household expenses are growing each year.
Getting those monthly bills in the mailbox or inbox can hit you hard in the wallet and make you wonder where the money is going. Electricity costs in particular are on the rise in Canada, growing significantly faster than the rate of inflation.
Source: Statistics Canada
This is important to households because it is eating away at monthly budgets that used to be spent on other things. It can keep you from paying down credit cards or keep you in at night instead of going out to eat. For someone not on top of their bills they can slowly sink further into debt and even get a bad credit rating.
A few years ago I noticed a huge jump in my electricity rates when they spiked in Ontario. We had just had a baby and I lost track of my bills. After missing only one payment my hydro bill grew into a significant problem that forced me and my wife to re-prioritize spending for a few months. When we began home renovations a few years later both of us knew that we had to make our home seriously more energy efficient. It was time to get smart.
Being Forgetful Costs Us Money
Like so many parents in our situation we are constantly on the go. We have two children that need to be chauffeured around, we own a small business that keeps us meeting with clients at job sites and have dozens of various errands to run every week.
The lights are often left on and the AC pumping even though there is no one at home for hours on end. We have even gone on winter beach vacations for a week or more only to back to a house that was fully heated the entire time we were gone.
Enough was enough! What we needed was for the house to go on "standby" mode if no one was home. When we are late for ballet I just don't have time to run from room to room turning off all of the lights. Even after we installed smart lights and bulbs I would still sometimes forget to tell the voice assistant to turn everything off. Well now the house is smart enough to do it on its own. In walks Geofencing to save the day.
What is Geofencing?
Geofencing is a home automation technology that enables smart home devices to operate based on where you are. It gives your smart home system the ability to know where you are depending on the location of your smart device and then to react in a pre-programmed way. This setup usually relies on the GPS chip embedded in your smart device. A Geofence is essentially an invisible fence or perimeter using a real life location.
Smart home programs that use geofencing offer the administrator the ability to trigger actions in your home, usually when the smart device leaves or returns to the house. This might mean for example that when you pull into your driveway at the end of the day the lights in your house turn on, the heat turns up at the same time as your dog starts to bark. Your smart home's devices and security system can easily work with a geofence to automate your home with minimal active interaction from you or your family.
Something that might work well for a lot of families is to setup a situation as follows: when mom, dad and the kids have left the house for the day the geofence can set the alarm, adjust the thermostat, turn off the lights and lower the blinds. When someone comes back home the reverse will occur.
How Does Geofencing Save Money?
Geofencing can save you and your family money by keeping a number of those electricity sucking devices in check. When the last person in your household leaves the home your smart hub's programming can be setup to turn off all of the lights. In the summer when the last person leaves the home the AC can be turned off. Even better, when the first person is ten minutes away from home the AC can go back on to freshen the house back up again. On the flip side, those of us in cold climates can have the heat turn up as we are on our way home.
Geofencing has become an important part of our family's energy savings strategy.
This feature can do quite a few other things to make your house more welcoming like play music that you like or remind you (or your husband) of something when you get home but I was the most excited about the money saving aspect of this smart tool.
Ask your smart home Smart Space designer or installer about setting up your home with geofencing.