State program giving away programmable thermostats

HOUSTON (KTRK) -- A new program in Texas is giving free smart thermostats to those who qualify. The devices can help you save on your power bill, but only if they are used correctly and one study found most home owners with programmable thermostats are not using them the right way.

Sharon Foster's old thermostat had a big problem.

"When you touch it, would only let you program it down," said Foster.

The southeast Houston home owner is getting her new programmable thermostat thanks to a state program that supplies the high-tech devices to low-income home owners.

Officials with Direct Energy and First Choice Power helped Foster get her new thermostat up and running. They add the devices can cut costs.

"You can use the Smart Thermostat to save up to 10 percent if you program it correctly," said David Draper of Direct Energy.

Programming it correctly is the key!

Home owners have to tell the device when they are home and when they are gone in order for the thermostat to turn on your heater or A.C. when you are actually home. That way you don't waste power or money heating or cooling an empty house.

Simple right? WRONG!

The American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy found that a whopping 89 percent of home owners with the devices who responded to a survey are not programming the thermostats at all and not saving any money at all.

The Honeywell thermostat Foster is getting comes with apps and a manual and a toll-free number she can call to help her set up the device in the right way.

It's something she plans to explore if her go-to tech expert fails to help.

"Mom cannot do. That one and that one in there, trust me they are going to run it and set it up and it's going to be ready to roll," said Foster pointing to her three children.

If you are not using your programmable thermostat correctly, remember you can always call the manufacturer. They will walk you through it, step by step, so the device will start saving you money.

To see if you qualify for a free programmable thermostat, check here.

Links: Honeywell programmable thermostats : American Council for Energy-Efficient Economy
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