Smart thermostat incentives offer relief during oppressive heat

FILE - Austin Energy decal. (KXAN Photo/Paul Shelton)
FILE - Austin Energy decal. (KXAN File Photo/Paul Shelton)

AUSTIN (KXAN) — The higher the temperatures, the harder our air conditioners work to keep us cool. That’s why more and more people are looking for savings and taking advantage of rebate programs by installing a smart thermostat in their home.

“It’s becoming more common for A/C contractors to install these when they’re making improvements to your home,” says Carlos Cordova, a spokesman for Austin Energy..

He tells us smart thermostats are a great buy since they help lower the peak use during hot times. In turn, keeping costs down.

“ERCOT has set all time records already this summer,” says Cordova. “And one of the ways we manage that here locally is to reduce our load by programs like this.”

Austin Energy offers a rebate program for those looking to invest in a smart thermostat. Not only can they be controlled on the go from your phone or online, but an $85 rebate allows Austin Energy to take control of your thermostat during peak times. The utility can raise your temperature as much as four degrees. Cordova says that’s the equivalent of 8,000 homes not using electricity.

“Understanding how your A/C works and how your thermostat works is really important because we’ve had high temps and high humidity and A/C are running all the time it seems like, and that is affecting customers bills,” says Cordova.

If you’re looking for ways to help conserve energy, there are many small things you can do around your home to keep usage and costs down. Cordova tells us that during these hot summer months, it is recommended that we set our thermostats to at least 78 degrees, or higher.

Closing blinds in the afternoon, not washing clothes or dishes during the day, as well as replacing light bulbs with LED bulbs are all ways that can help bring a bit of relief to your air conditioner.

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