Technology has made it possible to do just about anything. You can video chat with a loved one across the globe, track your daily steps through your wristwatch and even lock your car with your cell phone. These rapid advancements have also given customers the power to make smarter decisions. Especially when it comes to their home’s energy use.

Through the use of smart home products and gadgets, Gulf Power customers can monitor their home energy use and even save money on their monthly energy bill.

The latest craze is all about ease of control.

Person holding mobile device with Energy Select app displayed

“Customers are gravitating toward being able to do everything with their smart phone or tablet,” explains Gulf Power’s Jeff Hatch. “Through app-controlled devices, you can now manage your home’s lighting, cooling and heating.”

Hatch says one of the most common smart home devices used by customers is the smart thermostat because they’re affordable and allow for control and savings. Well-known brands like Ecobee and Nest can help regulate the temperature in a home by learning a customer’s preferences, particularly their heating and cooling habits.

Many smart thermostats will automatically raise or lower the temperature to conserve energy when no one is home. This can save money, especially in the hot summer months.

And since they are easy to install and remove, they’re good for renters, too!

Gulf Power’s Energy Select program offers customers a way to save on their energy bill through an online portal and programmable thermostat. The Energy Select thermostat, along with timers for your appliances, gives you control over your home’s central cooling and heating system, electric water heater and pool pump. And you can program much of your home’s energy usage right on your smart device to fit your schedule, comfort and budget.

Smart home gadgets that are friendly on the budget and easy to install are automatic light switches and power strips.

We all want to remember to turn lights off when we’re not in a room, if only to save some money on our energy bill. Automatic light switches have sensors that detect any movement in the room, so entering that room would trigger the light to turn on and vice versa. Some can also be turned on via voice command or through a smartphone app.

Today’s appliances and electronics are more sophisticated than ever — they’re also in more need of protection from power surges that can cause permanent damage. As residents of one of the top lightning-producing states in the country, we’re all familiar with the threat of major storms and the surges and outages they produce.

There are now ways to ensure protection from power surges while also saving energy. Many of these smart power strips will automatically turn off power to any items that are not in use. Gulf Power also offers surge protection plans for as little as the cost of giving up one fancy iced coffee a month.

Customers who want to see some long-term energy savings might be more interested in hybrid water heaters. After all, the water heater is the second-highest energy user in the home with the average household using 64 gallons of water each day.

“The latest hybrid water heaters also can be controlled with a smart device,” said Hatch. “But more importantly, hybrid water heaters combine performance with high efficiency.”

Nest smart thermostat set to 72°

EcoNet-enabled water heaters even work with a smart thermostat. For example, when the Nest thermostat is set to Away mode, EcoNet-enabled water heaters will go into an energy efficient operating mode to reduce the amount of energy the water heater uses and help save money. Gulf Power even offers rebates up to $400 for switching from gas to a high efficiency heat pump.

Managing your home’s energy has become easier than ever before. You can turn lights on and off, maintain your heating and cooling and even view your home’s energy use right on your smart phone or tablet.

Gulf Power’s free online Energy Checkup report is another tech smart resource for customers. Customers will be asked 10 simple questions about their current energy use. Once the questionnaire is submitted, they’ll then receive an instant report that breaks down individual energy usage and offers tips on how to save.

For more information on smart ways to save on your energy bill, visit MyGulfPower.com.