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  • Have a smart home? A company may change your thermostat.

    Home Forums AskWoody blog Have a smart home? A company may change your thermostat.

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      • #2374023
        Brian Livingston
        AskWoody MVP

        PUBLIC DEFENDER By Brian Livingston You may be surprised to learn that installing “smart home” devices could mean that a private company can turn your
        [See the full post at: Have a smart home? A company may change your thermostat.]

        2 users thanked author for this post.
      • #2374035
        MHCLV941
        AskWoody Plus

        These folks have no one to blame but themselves for not paying attention to the terms under which they were given the “smart” thermostat for “free”.   Can anyone be so clueless as to think the power company was simply giving these things away out of the goodness of its heart?  (Hint: business entities don’t have hearts).

        That said, 78°F is hardly sweltering.  Indeed, it is the exact temperature that is routinely mentioned in articles about how to save energy/lower one’s power bill.   From where I sit, where it was 114°F on June 19th, 95°F is positively balmy.

        An aside: the power company here has a similar program with similar fine print.   When I attempted to get hard information on the security of these cute little IoT things, it refused outright to provide any information whatsoever.   I initially called on the matter and had to work my way to someone who could understand the question, only to be told I had to submit my request via their secure message system.   I did so but never got any response.  Killed whatever small interest I had in the program.

      • #2374060
        WSDKS01
        AskWoody Plus

        This kind of system was used by my PUC in Peterborough, Ontario, Canada decades ago. They offered a discount on your bill if you allowed them to turn off your hot water heater between 5 PM and 7 PM. It used a mechanical timer. Nothing changes but the technology.

      • #2374058
        anonymous
        Guest

        I know…

        Let’s all put a few electric cars in every driveway!  That will solve all our problems.

        We can’t even keep our ACs on and people think electric cars are a viable answer.  Thank goodness it’s still a fad and not yet reality.

         

         

        1 user thanked author for this post.
      • #2374185
        Amy Babinchak
        Manager

        I’m in Michigan and we’ve saved a good amount of money. In addition to the monthly savings they also send out a $25 amazon gift card just for continuing in the program. I’ve been in the program for three years now. Here, very rarely, does it go into rush hour mode. When it does, they cool your home by 3 degrees in preparation and never raise the temp more than 3 degrees above where you have it set. Anyone complaining about sweating seems to be complaining a bit too much to me. They signed up for it after all. If they don’t understand the program, then that’s on them.

      • #2374182
        anonymous
        Guest

        True “smart homes” will continue to rely on the gray matter that resides between one’s two ears.  Why supposedly intelligent/smart people continue to rely on totally insecure high-tech mechanisms continues to be baffling.

        1 user thanked author for this post.
      • #2374459
        AmbularD
        AskWoody Plus

        This is precisely why I refuse to have any ‘smart’ device in my home.  I do approve of reducing energy use during peak hours, but not of letting someone else remotely adjust critical environmental and food preservation devices to potentially dangerous levels on sweltering days.  I’ll choose how, when and what to dial down myself, thank you.

        i7-10700k - ASROCK Z590 Pro4 - 1TB 970 EVO Plus M.2 - DDR4 3200 x 32GB - GTX 1070 FTW - Windows 10 Pro

        2 users thanked author for this post.
      • #2374534
        F A Kramer
        AskWoody Plus

        A small quibble: You frequently referred to the utility as lowering the AC thermostat setting. That should be “raising” the thermostat setting, as the temperature is being reset to, say, 76 degrees rather than consumer’s 74, etc.

        Also: I fail to see how “lowering” my thermostat to 76 is going to save me any energy. My AC is at 83 overnight and 81 during the day. Honestly, once the air is dry, these temperatures are comfortable, even when the outdoors reaches 100 as it has done frequently.

        1 user thanked author for this post.
      • #2374619
        HamsterDR
        AskWoody Plus

        Others have already made good comments about these kinds of programs but I can add some color about my experience here in Las Vegas with the NV Energy “Power Shift” program. When you sign up, they come to your house and install ecobee smart thermostats (nice, you can program heat and cooling by time and day of the week). NVE accesses these thermostats to increase the settings during power events. My default settings are 81 and 82 (upstairs, I have a split system) and that changes to 82 and 83 between 1PM and 7PM when my rates are higher (I have selected a time-of-use fee schedule). (“Winter” rates – between October and May are so low my bills then are about $30/month.). The only issue I have had is increasing by 4 degrees can be unpleasant but I have complained and that has been reduced to a 2 degree increase during events. In addition, I have solar and a whole-house battery (courtesy of NVE – worth about $35K – my community is part of an experimental neighborhood created by the developer (Pulte), NVE, UNLV and the DOE.). The battery is programmed to charge during the morning and then provide power during these energy events. When that works, I don’t notice any discomfort at all. It is possible to override the thermostat settings at any time – NVE just wants at least 50% participation. And, I laughed when I read the complaints about the 78 degree setting – as I have mentioned we run at 81 or higher and it is not unpleasant. Anyone with residents with health issues should not participate in these programs!

        David

        1 user thanked author for this post.
      • #2374627
        MHCLV941
        AskWoody Plus

        Also: I fail to see how “lowering” my thermostat to 76 is going to save me any energy. My AC is at 83 overnight and 81 during the day. Honestly, once the air is dry, these temperatures are comfortable, even when the outdoors reaches 100 as it has done frequently.

        Perhaps the utility company has more imagination than you have and is smart enough not to change your thermostat (if you had one they could touch) when it is already set above their target temperature.

        • #2374732
          F A Kramer
          AskWoody Plus

          Actually I do have more imagination than our electric utility which advertises on the radio and on their monthly bills that I can lower my utility cost by setting my thermostat at 76 degrees! And more imagination than the pundits and politicians that proclaim the same. Apparently THEY cannot imagine anyone having an AC setting above 72 degrees.

          If the electric utility uses the same logic and methodology that Microsoft uses in feature updates and revisions to “my” setup for Windows, then I can imagine the utility’s automated system setting my 81 degrees to 78. Then there is the telephone company that tells me that when my DSL internet/telephone line is down, I should report the problem using my internet connection. Nuf Sed.

      • #2374835
        MHCLV941
        AskWoody Plus

        Actually I do have more imagination than our electric utility which advertises on the radio and on their monthly bills that I can lower my utility cost by setting my thermostat at 76 degrees! And more imagination than the pundits and politicians that proclaim the same. Apparently THEY cannot imagine anyone having an AC setting above 72 degrees.

        If the electric utility uses the same logic and methodology that Microsoft uses in feature updates and revisions to “my” setup for Windows, then I can imagine the utility’s automated system setting my 81 degrees to 78. Then there is the telephone company that tells me that when my DSL internet/telephone line is down, I should report the problem using my internet connection. Nuf Sed.

        It’s not a matter of their imagination but rather their grasp of what the majority of people do.  You are almost certainly a statistical outlier in your HVAC choices.

        1 user thanked author for this post.
      • #2375107
        rc primak
        AskWoody_MVP

        Of course they would have a far better grasp of what the vast majority of people are doing, as well as the extent of outliers, if everyone would join the program and allow telemetry inside our homes and businesses.

        Just saying, not recommending.

        -- rc primak

      • #2375109
        MHCLV941
        AskWoody Plus

        Of course they would have a far better grasp of what the vast majority of people are doing, as well as the extent of outliers, if everyone would join the program and allow telemetry inside our homes and businesses. Just saying, not recommending.

        The power company sends me a bill each month.  I send them the requisite amount of money each month.  That’s all the power company – or anyone – needs to know.

        • #2376267
          rc primak
          AskWoody_MVP

          My power company also sends me an energy usage report every month, in the paper bill or viewable online. This helps me understand when I need to monitor where I’m wasting energy, such as air conditioning when I’m not home, timing my laundry, etc.  It’s useful info. and it comes at a very small price for my privacy.

          My Internet Provider does something similar. Since the introduction of monthly data caps, this feature would be useful if I were near the limit month after month. Again, this comes with little intrusion into my privacy. I don’t use their DNS (I use Cloudfare) so that helps preserve my privacy as well.

          -- rc primak

      • #2376270
        MHCLV941
        AskWoody Plus

        it comes at a very small price for my privacy.

        Is it really??  How do you suppose they get this information?    Even with a smart thermostat, there does not seem to be a non-invasive way to collect such data.

        • #2376354
          rc primak
          AskWoody_MVP

          The Grid itself can monitor individual meters on an hourly or shorter interval. This does not reach inside the home or business. It is entirely impersonal, except that each meter is associated with its household or business account. No one can see or infer what activities are going on inside the home or business. This particular feature does not control or change anything. It is there solely to inform users.

          -- rc primak

      • #2376521
        wavy
        AskWoody Plus

        Our water company can do the same, good to know if you have a leak. Not per user in the condo but per building so problems can be narrowed down that way.

        🍻

        Just because you don't know where you are going doesn't mean any road will get you there.
        1 user thanked author for this post.
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