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Free Smart Thermostat

I had been frustrated with my existing old school Honeywell thermostat. In Denver during the spring and fall seasons, you get caught between needing to cool your house during the day but heat it up at night. And I needed to manually switch my thermostat between AC and furnace which was quite annoying. 

I've been aware of smart thermostats like Google Nest and Ecobee. They are so modern looking and come with wireless connectivity and apps to control the settings. But before choosing one, I decided to see if my utility provider, Xcel in my case, had any rebates or programs. Turns out, they've partnered with a few smart thermostat makers to offer upfront rebates plus ongoing annual rebates to customers who enroll in an Xcel program that allows them to setback the thermostat during peak demand periods.

I chose the Ecobee3 Smart Lite on Amazon for $149.  It was the best rated thermostat at the lowest price that I could find that was also part of Xcel's program. Xcel is then giving me a $50 rebate upfront for purchasing a thermostat that works with their program. Then after enrolling in it, I am supposed to get an additional $100 rebate plus $25 annually going forward. So after all the statement credits come through, I should be getting the thermostat for free! All I need to pay is the sales tax on the item, but I also cashed in some Bing Rewards to get $20 of Amazon gift cards so really I'll get paid for doing this upgrade. 

The installation was a bit more complex than anticipated but not too bad. I thought I could just unplug the old thermostat, change the wires, and plug in the new one. But my wiring did not have a way to power the thermostat. The old one was ran off battery. The new thermostat came with a power device that required me to do some basic rewiring at the furnace. The directions were very clear and fortunately my setup was exactly as they described. 

After finishing the wiring and installing all the other parts, the thermostat turned on and it was as simply as following their setup both on the unit itself and also on their online app. Now I am in full control of my thermostat right from my phone and can change the temps at any time. It also will change from heating to cooling automatically and keep my home in my preferred temp ranges. 

I did notice the Xcel program kicking in. I tried to set my cooling temp to 73 degrees but it wouldn't let me go below 75 degrees. I did find a spot in the app to change how much Xcel can control. I have it currently set to moderate control which gives a savings range of 5-12%. I'll take it since I don't think I'll notice a 2 degree difference. If I do, then I'll change the setting to less control.

All in all, I feel like I've stepped into the modern era of smart thermostats without costing me a dime. Now that is a true Don't Need Much Money success story!