Before we jump into how long it takes, we have lots of useful information to share with you in this article around how smart meters in general. Smart meters are relatively new to the market, and not many people are aware of them nor how much they cost, therefore they’re often keen to avoid them and continue as they are.
In this article, we’ll talk through all the necessary requirements and things to be aware of when it comes to a smart meter. We’re keen to make sure you have all the necessary information about smart meters before you get involved with installing one, which is why we’ve put this useful article together to give you all the necessary information that you need.
To see exactly what we’re going to be covering, we’ve included a list of headings below for you to help you see exactly what we’ll be covering within this article. See below!
- What is a Smart Meter?
- Why Do People Use Them?
- How do People Get Hold of One?
- How Long Does it Take to Get Installed?
- What Type of Smart Meters Are There?
- Other Ways to Use Less Electricity
- Smart Home Gadgets
What is a Smart Meter?
If you’re unsure what a smart meter is, let us explain. A smart meter is essentially a small device that provides useful intel as to the amount of energy and gas that you’re consuming within your house. These devices are often fitted with a small screen that displays useful metrics, such as the pence per hour, total spend for the day and a comparison amongst other days.
The idea of a smart meter is to provide you with useful metrics and help you to understand your energy consumption, allowing you to take action where needed. You may have the heating on because it’s cool, but when seeing that it’s costing you an extra £2 a day you may rethink this and put a jumper on. This allows you to save money, and across the world, we’ll all be doing our bit to lower our energy usage.
A smart meter usually lives in your kitchen in a place that’s commonly seen by members of your household. The idea is that the screen is somewhere accessible so that you and others in your home will notice it and periodically take a look, allowing you to take action and use less money on your energy.
Why Do People Use Them?
A smart meter offers a variety of different benefits for you and your home. It’s these benefits that make people want to use them, and why they’re becoming so popular!
Clear Breakdown of Energy Usage – When you think about how much you’re spending on electricity and gas, you don’t usually think about the cost per day or hour. A smart meter is a fantastic way of giving you this information and allows you to see in real-time what you’re spending. It’s because of this that people are drawn to the idea of using a smart meter and enjoy using them. The clear breakdown is a selling point in itself for many and provides a new level of visibility.
Helps People to Save Money – This links to the above point about a clear breakdown in energy usage. When it’s clear to see what you’re spending and what you could be saving, you’ll soon start to take note of this and many people do. They’ll put a jumper on when they see how much their energy is costing them when the heating is on, or they’ll take a shorter shower instead of a long one. These small changes help save money in the long run, and a smart meter helps to make this happen.
Better Deals on Energy Providers – Many energy providers use these smart meters as an incentive scheme now. The idea behind this is that because people are using less energy and less electricity, they’re doing good for the environment and helping to save our planet. By getting more customers to use smart meters, energy companies can save their customers more money and ultimately attract more customers. It’s a win-win-win!
They Look Good! – Not only do smart meters offer a range of benefits, but they also look great for those who like a tech-savvy home. A small screen with real-time readings of their energy usage sounds like something out of Star Trek only a 10 years ago, but it’s quite real today.
As you can see, there are many reasons and subsequently many benefits to having a smart meter installed in your home. You’ll not only be seeing a clear breakdown of the energy that you’re using, but you’ll also be able to take immediate action rather than seeing the bill come in the post and realising you’ve got to do something to make a difference. A smart meter can make all the difference.
How do People Get Hold of One?
There are two primary methods of getting a smart meter for your home. If you’re interested in getting one, these are the steps you’ll need to follow.
Buy a Smart Meter Online – There are many different smart meters you can purchase online. Often, these require your home to be a ‘smart home’, allowing your new device to hook up to your already configured smart heating. However, if this isn’t the case, you may need to borrow the hands of a professional to help you get up and running with your new gadget. The perks of doing this are although it costs more than getting it through your energy provider directly, it’s something that often comes with a lot more functionality such as a mobile app, timers and schedules to allow you to get your home prepared for when you need to be using energy.
Through Your Energy Provider – A lot of energy providers offer a smart meter, available through your energy provider. As many, if not all, energy providers offer this and often free of charge, they’re a great asset to your home and can give you plenty of intel to help you save money.
There are other methods available out there, however, these are the two most common ones available to get one for your home.
How Long Does it Take to Get Installed?
When it comes to getting a smart meter installed, you may find that the process can be nice and quick or sometimes it can take a short while. There are a few reasons why this may differ for you, which ultimately comes down to which approach you choose to go for to get yours installed.
Installing a Smart Meter Yourself – Often, smart meters are easy to install, especially if you’ve purchased one online for your home. These come with plenty of instructions and guides to help you get up to speed, therefore you’ll only have to wait for the delivery time if it’s ordered online and the amount of time it takes you to get it up and running.
Getting a Professional Installation – When receiving a smart meter through your energy supplier, you may find that they’re keen to send an engineer to install your smart meter. There are several reasons for this, such as your home requires some new technology installed to accurately measure the energy usage, but this allows you to get the best results possible and know that your smart meter is up and running.
Despite there being two different ways of getting one installed, there are a few different things that can vary the length of time before you’ll be up and running. Some of these things are:
Your Abilities to Install a Smart Meter – If you’re not sure what you’re doing, and you’ve bought one online, you may find yourself waiting a short while before you’ve got the skills and the ability to get it done. There are many walkthrough guides out there, but taking the time to properly digest them and understand what you need to do can add a complication onto this.
The Delivery Time – No matter whether you’re ordering your own or you’re ordering one through your energy provider, you’ll need to wait for the delivery of the smart meter. Deliveries can vary from next day to a couple of weeks, which all adds on to the total time to get your smart meter installed.
When a Professional is Available to Install – If you’re getting a professional to install your smart meter, it all depends when you can get booked in to get your new smart meter installed. Sometimes it can be very quick, and sometimes you may find yourself booked in a few weeks in advance. It all depends on the diary at the time, and subsequently has a knock-on effect on the amount of time before you’ll get your new smart meter.
The Stock of Smart Meters – When it comes to getting one delivered, it all depends on the stock of the distributor. You may find that the distributor has run out and will be a short while, or your energy provider has none in stock… No matter what it is, these are things that all add up and can add to the total time before you get your new smart meter installed.
Any Complications With the Installation – No matter whether you’re installing the smart meter yourself or you’re getting a professional, any complications with the installation can add extra time on before your smart meter is installed. This delay could only be a couple of minutes or hours, ranging up to days or weeks if the engineer needs to come back on a different day to complete the job.
Typically, we expect the process to take from a day or two up to a couple of weeks. If you’re planning to get it installed yourself, and you’re confident you and your home are ready for a smart meter to be installed, you can expect to be on the quicker end of the scale. However, if you’re getting one through your energy supplier, it’s best to expect to take a little longer than a day or two.
What Types of Smart Meters Are There?
Although the term ‘smart meter’ is quite generalised, there are two types of smart meters you can typically get. These two smart meters are both different but offer benefits nonetheless and both serve the same job.
The first type of smart meter is your standard type of smart meter, the one that you’ll get through your energy provider. These types of smart meters aren’t the most compelling or the most exciting, but they serve a job and they do a very good job at doing so. Because these are often cheap or even free, they don’t offer a large range of different features or functionality. However, what they do offer is the job that they’re there to do. They offer a detailed real-time dashboard of your energy usage, and they do a great job of it.
When you purchase your own smart meter, you’re typically buying into the higher quality and well known electronic brands to give you the latest technology and functionality. When buying your own smart meter, you’ll still get the same information and the same dashboards as one from your energy provider, but this one will have all sorts of additional functionality and configurations available. For example:
You may be able to link it with your mobile phone and control your heating on the go.
You may be able to configure the dashboards to show you the information of your choosing.
You may be able to set alerts about things that you want to know. For example, if you go over ‘X’p per day, you may want a notification so you know when to turn the heating off and put a jumper on.
And many more! It depends on the different smart meter you choose for your home, but with plenty available, you’ll be spoilt for choice. Just be careful and make sure you get one that suits your home and is compatible with your current set up!
Other Ways of Using Less Electricity
Smart meters are good for tracking how much electricity you are using and spending per day and from this, you may find that you could take steps to help reduce the amount of electricity used. Here are some tips of ways you can use less electricity at home:
Change to LED Bulbs – LED bulbs are more efficient, last longer and can give a cleaner and more natural light in your home. The main benefit with these is that they are energy efficient, so can help to reduce the amount of electricity you’re using.
Turning the Switch Off – When you leave electronics on standby, even though they’re not being used, they still use electricity. This is because when in standby mode they are waiting to be turned on so they need the electricity to be able to do this. By turning the switch off, this stops this from happening and therefore you aren’t wasting any electricity. This could be used for things like the kettle, toaster, lamps and others that aren’t used all the time and can just be switched on at the wall as and when needed.
Fridge and Freezers – When it comes to your fridge and freezer, these use up a lot of electricity as they need to be running all the time, so they aren’t the most efficient things to run. However, you can take some steps to help save on energy and the power they run on.
The coils which are found at the back of your fridge can be cleaned every year as they tend to get very dirty. By them being dirty, this means that it reduces the efficiency so by cleaning them, you are making your appliance a little bit more efficient.
Keeping your fridge and freezer full can help to use less energy. By having a full fridge and freezer, it means it needs less energy to keep cold as the items inside the fridge, maintain the temperature. This is a great way to save on the energy you’re using and quite simple as well. If you find that you often do small food shops that don’t fill the fridge up, then you can even just fill a jug with water and put it in there. It doesn’t matter if it’s not food or drink, it just needs to be full fridge and freezer.
Another good tip is to turn your fridge and freezer up by one degree a year. This doesn’t have a massive difference in how it works but it saves you a lot of energy over the year.
Washing Clothes – The washing machine is something that is used very often and uses a lot of electricity and energy to run off. You can help to reduce electricity consumption by washing your clothes at a lower temperature. By doing this, the washing machine doesn’t require heating the water as much so saves electricity.
Tumble Driers – Tumble driers aren’t a necessity when it comes to drying our clothes. These appliances use a lot of electricity and can be used quite often in a week, building up the electricity bill. Instead, you could use a clothes airer which is designed to hang your clothes on and dry them. If it’s a nice day, why not hang them outside?
Don’t Boil a Full Kettle – When boiling the kettle, only boil the amount of water that is needed. By using more water than what’s needed, this not only takes a lot longer to boil, but it uses up a lot more energy to do this. So next time you go to make a cuppa, double-check how much water you’re boiling and if that much is needed.
Spending Less Time in The Shower – We all love a nice hot, long shower, especially in the winter months. However, as nice as this is, it isn’t good for the amount of energy that is used. By having it hot, it requires more energy to heat the water to the temperature needed and therefore, costing you more money.
Extractor Fans – Speaking of showers, you may have an extractor fan in your bathroom as well as your kitchen. To help save a little bit each year, why not open the windows instead? It’s simple but effective!
Smart Home Gadgets
Other smart devices can be used to help save the energy and electricity you’re using each year. Here are a few of the gadgets available for your house, that can help to save you money.
Energy Efficient Kettle – Whether you’re a tea drinker or coffee lover, the kettle gets used very often in the average household. Kettles use a lot of energy to heat the water in the kettle so a good thing to invest in would an energy-efficient kettle. These can use up 66% less energy and therefore reduces the costs of making a cuppa!
Energy Efficient Smart Bulbs – As we have spoken about previously, LED light bulbs are great energy-saving appliances. Surely it’s worth switching to energy-efficient light bulbs to help you save money each year?
Eco Shower – The average family in the UK uses 70% of their total water usage, in the bathroom. A good way to save is to switch to an energy-saving showerhead. These typically use 30% less water, it’s something small that can be changed but can help to save a lot of money in a year.
Smartphones and Plugs – Nowadays, smartphones can do almost everything and that includes switching your appliances on and off. By using a special smart plug, this links to your smartphone and you are then able to control the appliances and lights around your house all via your phone. So, with just the click on a button, you can switch your appliances off which saves a lot of money when they’re not in use.
In this article, we’ve covered everything from what a smart meter is, the benefits of having one and how long they take to be installed to ways to help save on electricity. There are many different benefits you can get by installing a smart meter in your home and they can be a great way to track how much you’re using and spending and have a think about what changes could be put in place to save. We covered some great tips and advice when it comes to how you can save on the electricity you’re using, some very simple things that can easily be changed in your home.
Hopefully, this article has been useful to you and you’ve gained more knowledge on what a smart meter is exactly and how you can help to save on energy and electricity.