Can Appliance Companies Control Home Thermostats? | Rare Techy
Temperatures fluctuate, and it’s easy to turn on your home’s heating and cooling system without much thought. But as severe weather becomes more common in the U.S., and more people turn their air conditioners down during cold weather and down during warm weather, the nation’s power grid will suffer. . If too many people load the grid, it will cause power outages and brownouts.
One solution to the problem may come as a surprise: Electric companies can fix your smart thermostat. It seems to be a common practice, and we may start to see more of it in the coming years.
Why is the power grid in trouble?
Although the engine is said to be amazing, our country’s electrical grid is in need of a major overhaul. The grid, a network of substations, switches, and transmission lines that carry electricity from the power plant to your home was created in the late 1890s. As technology improved , was updated with patches to extend its power. But as our country moves forward and more people use electricity, new smart grids are being built to meet the increasing energy needs.
The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 provided the US Department of Energy with $4.5 billion to modernize the electric grid. The main objective of the project is to create a smart grid, which includes technology, equipment, methods, and energy storage to improve the performance of electric power throughout the country.
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What is a smart grid?
In simple terms, a smart grid enables two-way communication so that consumers and utility companies can communicate with each other. A smart grid uses a combination of controls, computers, automation, new technologies, and devices that work with the power grid to determine demand and respond appropriately.
Think about it this way: During a heat wave, when the temperature rises and the wind kicks in, the smart grid senses the increase in demand for electricity and adjusts accordingly. to prevent disease.
The benefits of a smart grid, according to smartgrid.gov, include:
- Better power supply.
- Power recovery is faster after power outages.
- Reduce operating and operating costs for equipment, and ultimately lower energy costs for consumers.
- The peak demand is reduced and the electricity rates can be reduced.
- Increasing the installation of new renewable energy systems.
- Better integration of consumer-owned power generation systems, including renewable energy systems.
- Security has been improved.
So what does the smart grid mean for you and your security?
In the summer of 2021, many homeowners in Texas complained that their air conditioners had been turned on, leaving their homes warmer than they liked. A family told Houston affiliate KHOU that they received an alert on their phone after the thermostat was turned on, and that the move was part of an “energy recovery package.”
The family said their home had smart insulation installed a few years ago and they participated in a program called “Smart Savers Texas.” Under the agreement, energy customers allow the management company, EnergyHub, to manage their cooling during periods of high demand.
Residents in the Dallas area had similar complaints in July 2022 when a program operated by TXU Energy changed customer definitions as part of their “Demand Response Program.” The project allows the power company to turn on the thermostats “in small steps for a short period of time, less than an hour, when the electricity is suppressed,” according to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.
While a smart grid may allow energy companies to control your heating during peak times, it may also help you see in real time how much energy you’re spending. Smart meters show how much energy is being used and the current cost of electricity, helping home owners decide how to adjust the cooling during peak periods when the cost is high. cost of electricity.
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What else can you do?
It will be many years before all of the technologies in the smart grid are in place, so it may take a while before you see any changes in your home heating system.
To check if you are enrolled in an energy saving program, there are two things you can do. First, contact your provider. Appliance companies offer savings programs with different names. Some utility companies offer incentives to sign up for their programs.
Also, if you have a smart thermostat, check the app you use to control it. The thermostat brand has its own energy saving program.