Smart home devices were one of the most purchased holiday items this past year. From wifi outlets to smart thermostats that keep your home feeling comfortable, tech has become the go-to way to save money and energy in your house. But do they actually save you money?

The short answer is yes, but they have to be used correctly. And don’t expect to cut your energy bills in half. Most research tends to indicate that you have the possibility to save between 1% and 15% on your energy bills. In some cases though, energy costs actually went up.

Remember, smart home devices are always running. They’re using small amounts of electricity at all times to ensure they’re doing their job. Plus, most, if not all, use your wifi connection which also requires energy.

All this aside, if set up properly, most people will see a small decrease in energy consumption and therefore a savings on their utility bills. Again, the key is that the devices need to be set up properly.

Almost all smart home devices that relate to energy and utility usage can be set up on a timer. Smart outlets allow you to set up timers, or better yet, only turn them on as needed. Say you want to head out to dinner and want a light on when you arrive home. Now you can simply use your smartphone to turn your lights on as you approach home rather than leave it on the entire time you’re away.

Wifi outlets also allow you to shut down electronics that don’t need to be running at all times. This can become particularly useful when traveling or when you’re not at home for extended periods of time. Turning off electricity that is running to small appliances, televisions, computer screens and routers when you’re not at home can all lead to energy savings.

Smart thermostats are perhaps the most popular smart home device. Most “learn” your optimal temperature and settings as you use them. But it’s important to open up their settings and ensure they’re actually performing intelligently. Use your app or the device itself to set up windows of time when you know you will not need to run your heating or cooling system. And use any eco settings they may have to maximize your savings.

If you’re looking to save some money and energy, a smart home gadget might be the way to go. But remember to set it up properly and manage it to ensure efficient savings.