About "Ask the Energy Expert"
Patrick Agnew is FPL’s In-Home Technology Program Manager. After working in energy management for 30 years, he believes the best is yet to come.
Your questions on energy-related topics can be submitted anytime to our Ask the Energy Expert blog. Just click here to submit your question, and if chosen, it will be answered here
Asked on: January 14, 2014 by L. Monroe, Cocoa Beach
Do you have recommendations on which thermostats are best to use in Florida?
Programmable thermostats, which allow you to set different temperatures for your A/C throughout the day, have been on the market for years. Now, many of you are curious about those new “smart” thermostats popping up in local home improvement stores. This type of thermostat helps you monitor and control your home’s largest energy user – air conditioning – by allowing you to:
- Connect your thermostat to the Internet
- Monitor and control it remotely from a website or smartphone app
- Potentially reduce A/C use when no one is home
Benefits to you
Smart thermostats have features designed to help reduce A/C use and save energy, something their predecessor, programmable thermostats, never really accomplished. But, can smart thermostats really help you save? Unfortunately, it’s too soon to say.
According to the government’s ENERGY STAR® program, programmable thermostats never demonstrated an ability to save energy consistently across the country. Since the verdict is still out on the newer smart thermostats, many utilities, including FPL, are evaluating them in field trials that will last a year or more. No single trial is expected to be definitive, as the benefits of smart thermostats may vary by region and weather conditions.
The bottom line
With smart thermostats, you now have the option to monitor and control your home’s largest energy user right from your smartphone.
This means, it will also be easier than ever to wage a thermostat war in your household, something we know happens! In fact, last fall we surveyed folks across Florida and found that 49 percent – or nearly one out of every two people – admitted to changing the thermostat setting without their partner’s knowledge. Bottom line: while we don't know how changing the thermostat from your smartphone could affect your relationship, it could definitely impact your electric bill.
More helpful tools for you
You can always see how adjusting your A/C affects your bill and find new ways to save by taking our Online Home Energy Survey. It now works together with your personal Energy Dashboard to show you how much energy you use down to the hour. This tool is made possible by some of our very own “smart” technology, our Smart Grid.
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