Tara Lynn Wagner explains how you can save money on your energy bill by making your air conditioner smarter with the help of the coolNYC program. She filed the following Money Matters report.
Look up anywhere in New York and you are likely to see an air conditioner.
"There are about 6.8 million window air conditioners in our service territory," says Meera Tandon, Program Manager at coolNYC.
Sure, they cool your apartment, but it is your energy bill that will likely give you chills - which is why Con Edison has partnered with a company called ThinkEco to run the coolNYC Program. If you have a window unit and a Wi-Fi connection, you can sign up to receive a smartAC kit that essentially teaches your old unit new tricks - like how to talk to your phone.
"From the smartphone app, you can see the temperature in your room as well as turn your air conditioner on or off remotely," says Tim Edden, Director of Customer Experience at ThinkEco.
The smartAC Kit is comprised of two components: the Modlet, which stands for Modern Outlet, and the thermostat remote. When the room reaches your target temperature, the power to the unit is cut off.
"When that fan is running, it's still using about 100 watts - which is a lot of energy for an air conditioner that's not really doing anything," Edden says.
While the kit retails for about $140 dollars, ConEd will waive that charge if you give them a little power over your thermostat. Let's say it's a sizzling day and energy is in hot demand, ConEd will announce a coolNYC event.
"Because the smartAC kit is a Wi-Fi connected device, it allows them to raise the temperature on thousands of air conditioners across that area and take stress off the grid," Edden explains.
"We don't want to effect comfort. We just want to reduce load and by everyone pitching in a degree or two that definitely helps," Tandon says.
You can opt out at any time, essentially overriding their adjustment. However, opting in allows customers to earns reward points and keep the smartAC kit for free.
If you are looking to replace your window unit this summer, there are ways to save there as well. ConEd is offering a $20 rebate if you purchase an Energy Star appliance.
Although the program was maxed out last year, there are still some kits available this season. To sign up, visit coolnycprogram.com.