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From May to October, the weather in Texas borders on hellish. You actually can fry an egg on our sidewalks during the hot months. The egg gets a little bit of dirt on it, but it’s still edible. 😉

Needless to say, our cooling bills for half of the year are nearly as unbearable as the heat. While we’re taking extra steps to better insulate our house, one tool has been essential in our summer time energy savings: our Nest thermostat.

My love affair with nest

We bought our Nest thermostat in the winter of 2015. We’d just moved into a smaller apartment to save $400 a month on rent. Although the apartment was in a questionable area, it was worth the savings.

Until I got the energy bill.

Somehow our energy bill was the same price as our previous apartment, which was nearly twice the size and had two levels. It was mind-boggling how a modest two-bedroom apartment could use so much damn energy. I hated our new apartment enough already; but throw in the high energy bills, and I was ready to move out.

It was tough to lower our energy usage in an apartment. We didn’t have control over fixtures, insulation, and other aspects of the building. We did improve the things we had control over, like installing LED light bulbs and hanging blackout curtains.

But this still wasn’t enough. We wanted a smarter way to heat and cool our apartment. After doing our Picky research, we settled on a Nest thermostat.

Nest to the rescue!

We ordered a Nest thermostat on Amazon and installed it easily in our apartment. We chose the Nest over other smart thermostats primarily because our energy supplier had a contract with Nest. The supplier reimbursed $80 of the Nest’s purchase price and offers rebates for every summer that we use the Nest.

Because of this program, the Nest essentially pays for itself in a few years. After that, the thermostat actually makes us money in energy savings. Not too shabby, eh?

Here are some of my favorite Nest features.

The Nest app

I’m lazy.

I’ll only get off my butt and do something if the kitchen is on fire. Everything needs to be convenient and require me to do minimal moving. At first I wanted nothing to do with Nest’s app. I figured it was one more app to clog up my precious phone memory, so I went without.

It wasn’t until I saw Mr. Picky Pincher change the apartment’s temperature from his phone that I changed my tune. I downloaded the app and I love it. I can see what temperature our house is at throughout the day.

The app also makes for thrilling thermostat wars between myself and Mr. Picky Pincher.

Programmable schedule

Most thermostats are programmable, so this wasn’t particularly ground-breaking. But it was more high-tech than our apartment thermostat from the 1980s, so I was ecstatic.

We set up a schedule for when we’re away from home and at work. We also created a schedule for the weekend when we tend to be home more. This preserves our energy usage just for the weekend.

It’s, well, smart

They call Nest a “smart thermostat” for a reason.

Nest senses when I’m home based on the location settings on my phone app. Although the heating and cooling is on a schedule, Nest adjusts itself if it sees the schedule needs to be changed. For example, if I come home early from work, Nest automatically begins cooling the home to my ideal temperature.

Nest cools our house slowly instead of rapidly, which means more energy savings. It learns your ideal temperature and tries not to deviate from that too much. Now that I have a Nest thermostat, I really don’t have much reason to touch my thermostat at all. That means I can focus on important stuff, like blubbering on the couch. Huzzah.

The bottom line

If you’re trying to save money on energy, take a look at smart thermostats. It doesn’t have to be Nest; just whatever product works best for you. Ask your energy supplier if they offer rebates or have a program for smart thermostat use. It’s a more efficient and painless way to save money while staying cool in the summer.

We want to know: How do you save money on energy?

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