If you live in the city of Fort Collins you probably have received an offer for a free thermostat! Seems pretty cool, it even gives you access through the internet! You might be thinking why would they do this, and what’s the catch?
Well here is the truth. The power companies have a hard time supplying enough power to everyone during peak demand times. This usually happens during really hot afternoons during the summertime when every business and most every home is running air conditioning. By accepting the thermostat offer you are also agreeing to allow the city to turn off your air conditioner for periods during these times… when you need it most!
If you want a free internet accessible thermostat with strings attached this thermostat may be for you. But if you don’t want someone else adjusting your thermostat or turning it off when you need it, I highly suggest you don’t take this offer.
The thermostat may not work with every type of system either. Call a Heating and Air Conditioning expert or contractor to decide if this is offer is right for you.
Sometimes these offers (like the energy “saver switch” offered in the past by utility companies) give the impression that you will save energy by accepting the offer. Not true. The utility company saves, you do NOT. You see an air conditioner has to run for at least 10 minutes before it reaches its maximum steady state of efficiency. The longer the cycle, the more efficient it will be. So if your AC is properly sized for maximum efficiency it will need to run almost nonstop on days above 91 degrees which is when the utility company will likely want to cycle your AC off on their terms. If your air conditioner is very oversized and can bring down the temperature quickly in your home than this offer may not be a bad idea for volunteering to help the utility company manage their delivery.
At Fort Collins Heating and Air Conditioning we recommend that you do NOT choose this method for attempting to save energy. Instead have your Air Conditioner properly tuned and adjusted by having an ultimate tune up performed. Have an evaluation done on your system to see if it is properly sized and designed. Program your thermostat to maintain a comfortable desired temperature starting in the morning, even if you’re not home. This may seem opposite of what you may think but it is cheaper to maintain the lower temperature all day during milder temperatures than to try and achieve it and catch up during the hottest part of the day.