They’re getting brighter by the day. Large household appliances like refrigerators, freezers and more can now communicate with the outside world, talk to you on your smartphone and interact with other appliances. See how they can make your life easier, save you money and save energy.
The EPA is encouraging manufacturers to include “connected” features in their products. These features respond to utility signals that are sent from your community’s smart grids to reduce energy consumption.
Customers will have the option to electronically connect their refrigerator or freezer with a utility provider that will control the appliance’s power consumption by remotely cycling it on and off. This option can save you time and money because it will reduce the appliance’s use during more expensive peak times.
These “connected” features will also allow you to:
• View real-time energy use
• Monitor appliances’ settings remotely
• Receive energy-related messages
Smart appliances are not new to the market, but their features continue to evolve. For example, LG’s appliances with Smart Diagnosis™ work with a smartphone app to let you know when something is wrong. You open the app and hold the smartphone up to the appliance. The app reads a code and lets you know if the appliance needs minor repairs that you can handle or if you should call a repairman. The information can also be sent to the manufacturers’ repair center electronically, so a repairman knows exactly what the problem is before he arrives for service.
Whirlpool’s Side-by-Side fridge with 6th Sense Live™ technology helps you monitor and manage all your appliances, track energy use and activate specific options remotely.
Sub-Zero has already introduced its Smart Appliance Module and app, which work with your wireless home control systems. It sends you alerts that the door is open and helps control the unit’s power consumption.
Samsung’s DV457 Dryer received the EPA’s first-ever ENERGY STAR Emerging Technology Award — an award that recognizes appliances on the forefront of energy conservation and climate protection. This model uses 36% less energy than conventional models and features Smart Control, which lets you stay connected remotely via wireless router and a smart phone app. From a distance, you can monitor cycle selections and start or pause the dryer.
Whether you’re ready to buy a smart appliance or not, the technology that runs them is here to stay and continues to evolve. As the features we could only imagine a few years ago become more common in our appliances, we can only ask, What’s next?