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Electric Companies Are Offering Free Smart Thermostats and Rebates

Updated May 2019

Now is a great time to pick up a new smart thermostat for your home. The savings on your monthly electricity bill will be immediately noticeable and appreciated.

Check below to see if there is an electricity provider in your area offering an incentive for you to take the plunge.

Smart Thermostat Offers

State Power Company Promotion
Arizona APS $30 bill credit
California LADWP $75 rebate
California SoCalGas $75 rebate
California Southern California Edison $150 rebate
Colorado Xcel Energy $50 rebate
Georgia Georgia Power $75 rebate
Idaho Avista Utilities $75 rebate
Idaho Rocky Mountain Power $100 rebate
Ilinois Ameren Illinois $100 rebate
Illinois ComEd $100 rebate
Illinois MidAmerican Energy $25 rebate
Illinois Peoples Gas $20 rebate
Indiana AEP Indiana Michigan Power $225 rebate
Indiana Vectren $75 rebate
Iowa Alliant Energy $100 rebate
Iowa MidAmerican Energy $75 rebate
Louisiana SWEPCO $100 rebate
Maryland Baltimore Gas & Electric $100 rebate
Maryland PEPCO $100 rebate
Massachusetts Berkshire Gas $100 rebate
Massachusetts National Grid Massachusetts $100 rebate
Michigan AEP Indiana Michigan Power $225 rebate
Michigan SEMCO Energy $70 rebate
Michigan DTE Energy $50 rebate
Minnesota ALP Utilities $25 rebate
Missouri Ameren Missouri $50 rebate
Nevada NV Energy $25 rebate
Nevada NV Energy free smart thermostat
New Hampshire Liberty Utilities $100 rebate
New York Consolidated Edison $135 rebate
New York National Grid Long Island $75 rebate
New York National Grid NYC $75 rebate
New York National Grid Upstate $75 rebate
North Carolina Duke Energy $50 rebate
Ohio AEP Ohio $75 rebate
Ohio Columbia Gas of Ohio $75 rebate
Oklahoma AEP Public Service Co of OK $150 rebate
Oregon Avista Utilities $75 rebate
Oregon Portland General Electric $75 rebate
Oregon Cascade Natural Gas $50 rebate
Oregon NW Natural Gas $50 rebate
Oregon Pacific Power $50 rebate
Oregon Energy Trust $50 rebate
Pennsylvania Champion Energy $50 rebate
Pennsylvania PPL $100 rebate
Pennsylvania UGI Electric $100 rebate
Pennsylvania UGI Gas $100 rebate
Rhode Island National Grid Rhode Island $75 rebate
South Carolina Duke Energy $50 rebate
South Dakota MidAmerican Energy $25 rebate
Texas Champion Energy $50 rebate
Texas CoServ $50 bill credit
Texas CPS Energy free Honeywell WiFi Thermostat
Texas Direct Energy free Echo Dot
Texas Gexa Energy free Ecobee3 lite
Texas Infinite Energy free Nest
Texas Reliant Energy free Nest
Texas SWEPCO $100 rebate
Texas TriEagle Energy free Honeywell WiFi Thermostat
Utah Dominion Energy $50 rebate
Utah Rocky Mountain Power $50 rebate
Vermont Burlington Electric $50 rebate
Vermont Vermont Gas $50 rebate
Virginia Colmbia Gas of Virginia $50 rebate
Washington Avista Utilities $75 rebate
Washington Pacific Power $50 rebate
Washington Puget Sound Energy $75 rebate
Wisconsin Alliant Energy $75 rebate
Wisconsin Wisconsin Utilities $75 rebate
Wyoming Rocky Mountain Power $100 rebate

Remodeling Your Home for Better Energy Efficiency

Remodeling your home seems like an expense at first, yet this investment in your property can easily lower many costs over time. Remodeling your home can replace older and inefficient items, reducing your needs for repair and replacement, and lowering your overall energy bills. So how exactly does this work?

ENERGY STAR® Products

A quick reference guide to use when selecting your energy-efficient products for your home remodel is to choose certified ENERGY STAR® items (EC). These EC items are based on government efficiency standards created in 1992 when industrial, commercial, utilities, and governments all banded together to create savings for the American Consumer through a non-biased certification agency. Thousands of brands including Truwin have adopted these standards for many building products and the results are clear — 2017 alone, ENERGY STAR products helped Americans avoid $30 billion in energy costs. Additionally, you can often find local rebates for installing EC certified products in your home.

As an added benefit, less energy consumption has affected not only people’s pocketbooks but also the environment. Since the program’s launch, 4 trillion kilowatt-hours less has been used in electricity consumption and a reduction of over 3 billion metric tons of greenhouse gas adds to these achievements.

Some of the best energy-saving solutions include the following.

Electronics and Appliances

A home remodel is the perfect time to update your old energy-guzzling appliances. Chances are no matter what the brand and the type of appliance — if it’s older it isn’t very efficient. While a new refrigerator may not require a remodel, it can be far more difficult to replace installed dishwashers, over-the-range microwaves, and other built-in appliances during regular home maintenance.  Take this opportunity to save up to 25% on your utility costs by selecting savings-based options. You can calculate your specific cost differences here through Energy.gov’s Estimator Tool.

And remember that even simple upgrades will make a difference during your remodel, including items like light bulbs. A household will spend up to 5% of its annual budget on lighting, and upgrading as few as five of your most frequently used light fixtures can offer an annual savings of around $45. And speaking of light, there are other ways to reduce your electric light bill.

Windows, Skylights, and Doors

Natural lighting is an obvious solution for high electricity costs from artificial light — and this is most easily achieved through great windows, doors, and skylights. In addition, your most efficient windows will have added features such as Low-E glass to help let in light but not unwanted heat, extra weather sealants to help stop drafts and leaks, and easy openings to allow a cooling breeze when it’s wanted. Windows, in addition to doors, can also help provide added insulation to your home. Using certified EC products, this savings averages out to about a 12% reduction in energy bills annually. 

Truwin works to help you discover which green energy changes can help make that remodel pay for itself and why.

Heating, Cooling, and Water

The first step in water reduction is to reduce your consumption as well as stop and repair any leaks. Any new pipes or plumbing items your produce should be leak-free when installed by a professional. In addition, EC certified products should reduce the amount of water and energy needed when in use. You can also get pressure-reducing or water-saving faucets and showerheads if that is needed in your area. Water heaters are yet another source of large energy and utility consumption in a home, the second-largest energy consumer actually. A tankless water heater is a welcome addition to most busy households, reducing the need to schedule shower and cleaning times. By choosing an EC certified option, you could save up to $1500 over the appliance lifetime in gas heating costs.

And heating water isn’t the only large energy consumer, but heating and cooling a house are significant costs too. The first steps in efficient heating and cooling are insulation and weatherization. Consider strongly your home’s installed doors and windows, as well as your siding, roofing, and installation. This is the beginning of keeping your heat or air conditioning on the inside of your home. The next step is an energy-efficient heating and cooling system. Some homes may only need lightweight heaters, a ceiling fan, or a window air conditioner. Larger homes will need a house-wide system to stay comfortable like central air. In fact, experts estimate that if your central air conditioning unit is more than 12 years old, you could save up to 30% on costs by replacing it with an EC certified model.

So take a moment to talk to the experts and add up the figures. Licensed sellers and installers can help you prioritize the remodel options that will earn you back money in utility savings. Identify the most cost-effective upgrades in lighting, appliances, doors, windows, heating, cooling, and water. Take charge of your budget with an energy efficient remodel.

 

Home Renovations for Better Energy Efficiency

Last year, Texas experienced several extreme meteorological and environmental events. There was flooding, widespread drought, algae blooms in Texas waterways and the notable Tropical Storm Imelda that, according to a report, left parts of Texas and Louisiana in a state of calamity with four casualties. All these phenomena are linked to the climate change crisis, which is now an issue we can no longer turn away from. And while it seems like this whole issue is ginormous compared to us, there is definitely something we can do.

As stated in a recent study, households are responsible for 72% of global greenhouse emissions. As homeowners, we can greatly contribute to fighting climate change by making our homes more sustainable and energy-efficient. By renovating your home to become more energy-efficient, you are not only doing the planet a favor, but also giving your wallet a much-needed break. For instance, an article about using energy-efficient appliances, discussed how an average household can save over $500 per year.

More and more homeowners are growing more aware of the environmental issues that our planet faces, and they all want to be of help by reducing their household’s carbon footprint and energy consumption. The problem is that they usually don’t have any idea where to start. This is especially problematic since home renovations can be notoriously expensive, and many homeowners may not be in a financial situation to be able to afford them. An article on home renovation costs showed that the average cost for a bathroom remodel was $18,546; window replacements cost upwards of $18,000 depending on the material; and a major kitchen renovation could cost over $62,000. Considering that many changes made in an effort to be energy efficient will require overhauls of existing structures and appliances, the project can seem costly upfront. However, these changes will save you money in the long run. Here are some tips on how to renovate your home for better energy-efficiency:

Paint your roof

When it comes to renovating your home to become more energy-efficient, one of the major considerations should be improving your home’s heating system. As highlighted in one of our previous articles, homeowners spend more than $2,000 just heating and cooling their homes every single year. Fortunately, you can easily cut down on your heating costs through simple and affordable renovations. For instance, painting your roof white can help cool your home by reducing air conditioning bills by 40%.

Replace your water heater

Water is fast becoming a resource that we are running out of, and when you waste water, you are also wasting both energy and money. Homeowners should pay close attention to how quickly their water heats. If it takes a few moments for the water from your faucet to become hot, then it’s time to consider installing a more efficient water heater. You can also take a look at your pipes and see whether they need some insulation.

Enlarge your windows

In renovating your home, altering your windows to be bigger can have a big impact on making your home more energy-efficient. Homes and commercial buildings use around 216 billion KiloWatt hours (kWh) of electricity for lighting. Enlarged windows let in daylight and reduce the need to switch on lights. Furthermore, windows also play a big part in making homes more comfortable without traditional heating or air conditioning.

The effects of climate change are already here, but there are still a lot of things we can do to reduce our carbon footprint. Turning your house into an energy-efficient home through renovations is one. Home renovations can truly be expensive upfront, but the long term saving and benefits that they will bring can easily outweigh the costs.

By AvaRyan

 

 How Plausible is an All-Renewable Electric Grid in the US?

Is the key to tackling climate change really as simple as ‘electrifying everything’. According to Vox, and many others, it is. 

Electrifying everything in this sense means that all means of energy production should be replaced with an electrical alternative (if at all feasible). Sounds great, but we aren’t quite there yet and will still have to burn natural gas to generate the majority of our electricity need (about 35% according to 2018 numbers).

Vox goes a step beyond this in another article and says that it’s economically plausible to run the U.S. entirely on renewable energy by 2050, citing this projection, among others. The authors of that Energy & Environmental Science report believe that Wind, Water, and Solar (WWS) energy will prevail and be robust enough to generate zero-carbon energy. And although there are criticisms about just how reliable most of that renewable energy would be, those same experts actually agree that the grid will be more secure with renewable grid modeling.

But there’s so many complexities at play that span all political, logistical, and technological corners of the country. Additionally, over-generation and duck curves are a commonly-posed problem with renewable energy. 

Let’s explore some solutions for facilitating this all-renewable vision for the U.S. energy system as a whole.

Some Solutions: Larger Scales, Increased Storage Facilities, and Microgrids

 

Let’s ignore the incredibly dense and mind-boggling policy considerations and Congressional cooperation that would need to take place to enact this global green initiative for energy. Instead, let’s explore some smaller scale solutions.

This article by David Timmons, which was featured on TechXplore, offers some insights on the importance of how cost has an inverse relationship to how large the scale of the project is. As an example, this is what he says about scalability, “in the United States, large-scale solar farms can be more than 1,000 times larger than residential rooftop systems and about half the cost.”

Switching gears, microgrids can also inch the U.S. much closer to a renewable grid. Through smaller, more flexible grids, power outages are less a threat because there are always back-up systems in place. In addition, more energy is saved because about 5% of all electricity is lost through longer transmission lengths, according to the EIA. So microgrids can be a game-changer if they are utilized strategically with key points of high renewable energy generation. 

Lastly, better battery capacity means less wasted energy. And because there is an over-generation problem with renewable energy, storing excess electricity is key for efficiency and can mean a more robust electrical grid. Using the ‘duck curve’ as an example, solar energy hits points of peak production and then obviously falls off during the night time. Better batteries can minimize the wasted electricity. 

A Guide To Monitoring Electricity in Your Home

Considering the amount of technology and mobile devices that are located in our homes, home energy management is crucial in learning about how much electricity we’re currently using. In doing so, you can understand how much energy you’re using and then find ways of how to reduce it if it’s too high. The trouble is, it can sometimes prove difficult to monitor your electricity usage. You probably won’t know where to start in monitoring one appliance for its electricity usage let alone your whole home. Luckily, there are continuous efforts in the green sector to help combat such issues through the development of eco-friendly solutions. Here’s an example of some options currently available to help you monitor your energy usage.

 

Smart Meters

In many areas, it is now required by regulation that a smart meter is offered to all customers by energy suppliers as they look to help their customers control their energy usage. These are essentially wireless utility meters that shows data on how much electricity is being used in the house and how this is reflecting the cost. This helps both energy companies and homeowners get a better understanding of how much energy is being used in your home.

 

Home Energy Monitoring Systems

An alternative to a smart meter is setting up a home monitoring system in your home. Just take note that these will take significantly longer to set up and can be rather complex. The main benefit of these is that it offers a more customized look to energy consumption in your home and will be far more detailed with information. If you feel as though you’re a bit of a DIY person, with some experience in wiring, you’ll be able to set one up in your home. There are a range of home energy monitoring systems that you can choose from.

 

Smart Outlets

An innovative solution to energy monitoring and control are smart outlets/plugs that you can use in your home. Not all of these necessarily offer energy tracking, however, with the majority designed to offer scheduling and device control. It’s a really clever and efficient device as all you simply need to do is plug it into the wall with your appliance and it provides the data you need on the devices electricity output. It’s scheduling feature also means you can have the device turn on and off when needed without extra energy use. It’s an ideal solution for people who rent or have particular devices they wish to monitor.

 

Energy Apps

Smart apps are another way that you can monitor electricity usage in your home. There are many pros and cons of using an energy monitoring app. On the pro side, they’re extremely cost effective compared to the other options available but on the other hand, they’re quite unreliable and tend to struggle to record accurate data. Mobile apps work differently to other methods in gathering data. Some apps will need you to record data to provide a reading, whilst others only record data from particular appliances you wish to monitor. Nevertheless, this is still an option for you if you wish to go down this route where a range of smart energy apps available.

Here are the 4 main ways you can look to monitor the energy use in your home. Not only will this help to reduce your energy use in the home and contribute towards the earth being a cleaner place, but it’ll also save you much more money in the long run.

 

How Televisions Have Become Increasingly Energy Efficient Over the Years

TV sets became a popular consumer product after World War II, and they’ve been a constant fixture in living rooms and bedrooms ever since. Televisions have come a long way since those early days, in terms of programming, looks and also how much energy they consume. The first TV sets were CRT styles, cathode ray tube, and this was the predominant type for decades. The arrival of LCDs, plasma and LED display technologies was the death knell for CRTs. The thing is, most CRTs use less energy than plasma televisions, but they lack the larger screen, sleek designs, user-friendly features, and higher resolutions of newer LCDs and plasmas. Today, you won’t find too many of those big and bulky CRT TV sets sold in the U.S. anymore. However, if you’re feeling nostalgic, you can still buy new models in China, Latin America, Asia, and the Middle East.

Most Americans will try to hold onto their TV set as long as they can. Unless you’re the kind of person that always has to have the latest technology, you’ll probably only replace your TV every seven or eight years. If it’s time to upgrade your television, here are some choices to consider.

TV types in use today

Yes, CRTs have gone the way of the Edsel, and it looks like plasma TVs may be headed to the TV graveyard soon, too. That said, you can still buy plasma TVs, and now they’re much cheaper than LEDs and LCDs. While many people agree that plasma TVs have a superior picture quality and offer a better viewing experience over LCDs, most plasma models consume more power than those old, bulky CRTs and much more than LEDs and LCDs of comparable size. Also, plasma TVs aren’t light weight, so that’s another thing you’ll want to consider. Other things to consider with plasmas are their lifespan — most have a shorter lifespan than LCDs and LEDs.

The early 2000s saw the rise of LCD (liquid crystal display) TVs. Today, they’re the most commonly produced and sold television. When they first arrived on the scene, their thin and lightweight design (compared to CRTs and plasmas) was hard to miss. The slim profile was an instant hit with consumers, as was the sharper resolution and larger screen sizes. It’s true that the larger the screen size, the more power they consume. However, with an LCD, the difference between 32-inch screen size and one that’s twice as big is just a few dollars more a year. So, if you value a bigger screen size, the cost of paying a bit more annually is not such a big deal. And, if you want to compare lifespans, LCDs have a much longer life than plasmas. LCDs use cold cathode fluorescent lamps (CCFLs) for backlighting—this is important to remember when we get to LED TVs.

TVs keep getting better in energy use. Take LEDs, for example. While LEDs still use LCD technology, they differ in that they use energy-efficient LEDs to illuminate the screen. They also use much less power than their LCD and plasma counterparts. In fact, LEDs use almost 70% less energy than plasma TVs. If you’re looking to impress your friends at the next Super Bowl party, you can find an LED TV screen size that’s up to 90-inches! Plus, LEDs have a thinner frame to boot.

One of the most energy efficient TVs for 2019 is also an economical choice. The VIZIO E75-F1 features direct-lit LED technology and 74.6-inch screen size with 2160p resolution. This ENERGY STAR certified television will cost about $19.06 a year to operate. Smaller sized LEDs, like the 19-inch direct-lit LED, RCA RT1971-AC will cost an average of $3.31 a year to operate.

Certified energy efficient TVs

With bigger screen sizes and higher resolutions, you can expect more energy consumption. So, if you want a TV that consumes less power, go smaller and keep the screen dimmer. Of course, if bigger is better in your book and you’re in the market to upgrade your television, you can find out how much power your new, bigger screen TV consumes. All you have to do is look for the Energy Guide label. You can’t miss it. Since 2011, the FTC has required every TV to display a bright yellow and black label. These labels estimate how much it costs to run a TV for a year. Of course, this estimate assumes that you’re paying an average of 11 cents/kWh electricity and you’re watching 5 hours of TV a day. So, the actual cost depends on your local utility rates and viewing habits.

When you’re shopping for certified energy efficient televisions, look for ENERGY STAR® models. ENERGY STAR® TVs can provide energy savings and environmental protection. The good news is that most of the top TV models sold in the U.S. are ENERGY STAR® certified, so it won’t be hard to find a model that can save you money.

Ways to make your TVs more energy efficient

The average American watches a little over 5 hours of TV a day. Yes, getting a newer model is an excellent start to minimizing your TV-related energy costs. However, you may not even need to get a new TV if you apply some tips to save energy and readjust your TV habits. Even the smallest changes can make your existing TV more energy efficient. If you don’t need it, consider disabling the “always on” and voice command features. Be sure to turn off the TV when nobody is watching. Some models have built-in timers to help you curb your viewing habits, like falling asleep with the TV on.

Switching to a new electricity provider can help you save money. Does your family watch TV at night? Discover energy plans and providers with special nighttime and weekend rates. At Vault Electricity, you can compare the top retail electricity providers and find a plan that works for your household.

Best Practices for Replacing Fuses Within Your Home

Does your home have a fuse box? If so, there might come a time when you’ll need to replace a fuse. If you own a home built before 1960, the chances are good that the type of electrical panel on your home is a fuse box, with fuses screwed in, providing over-current protection to each circuit in the home. Besides electrical panels in older homes, you’ll also find fuses throughout your house. Fuses are in many household appliances and electronics, and keep electrical surges from damaging these appliances and circuits.

When a fuse blows, you might hear a loud pop, and, if it’s a part of an electrical panel, you’ll lose power in certain parts of your house. Losing power is a bit of an inconvenience, but blowing a fuse can also be a good thing. After all, that fuse just played a critical safety role in preventing an electrical fault, which can lead to fires. When fuses work correctly, they can prevent damaging electrical overload to appliances and electrical equipment. In short, fuses blow because they’ve just blocked an over-loaded current flow in a wire.

Become Familiar with the Electrical Panel

Replacing blown fuses in appliances and electronics is an easier task than having to replace a fuse in a fuse box. If you need to replace a fuse in an appliance or a piece of electronic equipment, you’ll usually find them mounted on the outside of the unit.

Now, let’s jump to talking about the electrical panel. There’s no need to panic because replacing fuses in a fuse box is easier than you think. First, you’ll want to familiarize yourself with the electrical panel — look for them in the garage, storage room or hallway, and in older homes, you might find them located outside, near the electric meter. It pays to plan ahead, so when it does happen, you’ll have the proper replacement fuses and know just where to go to replace the blown out fuse. If you need to replace a fuse at night, chances are it’ll be dark, so it’s also a good idea to know where you keep your flashlight.

Safety First

While you should be mindful anytime you replace a fuse, replacing a blown fuse in an electrical panel requires additional safety precautions.

  • Be sure to turn off lights and unplug devices and appliances so you can prevent overloading the new replacement fuses. We recommend wearing rubber-soled shoes and gloves. Also, make sure you’re not performing any electrical work standing on water — it’s critical that everything be dry, including your hands. As an extra bit of precaution, use safety glasses to protect your eyes. Once you’ve got the proper safety equipment, you can start accessing your electrical panel.
  • Next step is to disconnect the power to the fuse box. Once the power is off, locate the blown fuse. You can find the blown fuse by looking for fuses that might be discolored, cloudy or have melted and broken metal pieces inside. Once located, unscrew the bad fuse and replace it with the same sized fuse. If you can’t find the amperage, you can always take the fuse to your local hardware store and have them help you find the right size. When you’ve got the proper fuse, screw it into the exact electrical panel socket of the original.
  • Once the new fuse is in place, turn on the main power to the electrical panel. If everything looks good, you can plug in a few electrical appliances and some lights that are in the zone controlled by the fuse.
  • If you’ve replaced the fuse and it’s still blowing, it might be time to contact a professional electrician.
  • Is your home over 50 years old? Older homes may have issues with electrical wiring, so it’s a good idea to hire an electrician to inspect the wiring system.

Proper Fuse Replacement

Be sure to replace a blown fuse with the correct one, because replacing it with a larger amperage rated fuse can be a safety hazard. Usually, there’s an amperage and voltage rating marked on the fuse. If you aren’t sure of the size, use the smallest sized fuse. If it’s a smaller size, it’ll blow. Whereas, if the fuse is too big, it won’t protect from excessive currents and can cause safety hazards. Here’s a breakdown on the type of fuses you’ll likely encounter in a fuse box and electrical appliances. Become familiar with the type you need and keep a few extra in a storage place you’ll remember.

  • Type-SL fuses – rating: 120 volts/up to 30 amps. These are one of the most common plug style fuses found in a home. These medium-duty, time-delay fuses feature a rejection base, which can prevent homeowners from using the wrong type of fuse for the circuit. These fuse types feature a heat-absorbing solder attached to the fuse element — this is the part that blows out or burns out during a circuit overload. The time-delay feature allows the fuse element to absorb a temporary circuit overload.
  • Type-TL fuses – same as Type-SL, except TL fuses feature an Edison base (looks like a light bulb)
  • Type-W fuses – rating: 120 volts/up to 30 amps. These general-purpose fuse types are not used today. They have no time delay fuse element.
  • Type-S and Type-T – rating: 120 volts/up to 30 amps. These are heavy-duty time-delay fuses typically used for circuits with high motor loads or certain circuits with motors that cycle on and off often. These fuse types have a longer delay time than SL and TL types. However, their bases are similar to their SL and TL cousins.

If you’re still on the fence about replacing fuses inside a fuse box, call a qualified technician.

Whether you live in an older home or a newer home in Texas, you have a choice of selecting an electricity provider. At Vault Electricity, we can help. We list electricity rates in real-time and work with the most trusted providers in Texas.