Is Your Thermostat Making Your House Hotter Here In Minnesota?
With several more hot, humid days ahead of us in Minnesota, is your smart thermostat actually making your house... hotter?
Finding just the 'right' temperature in your home thermostat can be tricky
There are few things that will set off arguments faster among families than the temperature at which your home's thermostat is set, right? Which is why this story about how your smart thermostat might actually be making your house HOTTER caught my attention.
It's from Houston TV station KHOU and is about how several Texas energy providers offered a discount on your energy bill if you enrolled in a special program that allowed them to control your energy usage.
These homeowners' thermostats were adjusted automatically-- without them even knowing
So, when power usage was at its peak during various heatwaves over the past several years, those companies turned up the heat-- literally-- on customers' smart thermostats, remotely increasing the temperature (without them knowing) way above where they'd set it when they went to bed. Many woke up sweating, and promptly unenrolled from that program, the story said.
Yikes. I sure would NOT like it if my power company was adjusting the temperature on the thermostat in our house, no matter HOW much money I might be saving on my bill, would you?
So are similar programs available here in Minnesota?
Well, yes-- and no. For example, Xcel Energy offers the AC Rewards Smart Thermostat Program, which can get you a smart thermostat and installation for free, plus earn up to $25 per thermostat if you allow Xcel to 'make slight adjustments to your thermostat during hot summer days when the demand for electricity is highest, without compromising your comfort,' it says. (Of course, it doesn't mention any specifics-- like exactly which temperature they could set your thermostat to-- that *could* affect your comfort.)
Meanwhile, in southeast Minnesota, Rochester Public Utilities (RPU) is also currently offering a similar program, called the Smart Thermostat Program. It allows customers who join the program to receive a one-time $75 credit if they allow them to adjust their thermostat '2 to 4 degrees.'
But your smart thermostat COULD still be making your house hotter
However, even if you're NOT enrolled in one of those programs, it doesn't mean your smart thermostat might not still be making your house hotter, though. If you have programs like Ecobee's Eco+ activated on your thermostat (which are sometimes easy to turn on without knowing it), it could very well 'pause' your air conditioning, to save on energy costs during peak times. (You can read more about Eco+ from Ecobee HERE.)
Call me old-fashioned, but I'm okay with the old-school programmable thermostat we have at our house right now. While we can program it to adjust the temperature (and hopefully save energy) when we're not home and when we're sleeping, it's NOT online-- and can't be adjusted remotely!
That's the thing about Minnesota's climate, though-- we get both extremes: the hot, humid weather in the summer and the frigid, sub-zero cold snaps in the winter. Keep scrolling to see the most extreme temperatures ever recorded here in Minnesota and in each state!
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