ecobee Citizen

Top Five Reasons to Start Using Time of Use

We spoke with the ecobee Energy team to get the inside scoop on a feature that reduces your energy bill.

by ecobee on 05/09/2023 in Smart Home & Tech

5 min read

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The team at ecobee is hard at work developing new products and solutions to help make your home more comfortable and more efficient. Today we’re taking a closer look at Time of Use, a feature on ecobee thermostats that automatically heats and cools your home when energy is less expensive.

Why it’s important

Electricity demand rises and falls throughout the day. It starts low in the morning and gradually increases as people wake up and go about their days. Demand reaches a peak during the late afternoon and early evening when households and businesses are most active, usually between 4pm and 8pm, before it steadily decreases as people go to bed and activity slows down. In some areas, when the demand for electricity changes through the day, so does the cost.

In areas where the cost of electricity changes throughout the day (i.e., areas with time-of-use rates), the Time of Use feature pre-heats* and pre-cools your house when the cost and demand for electricity are low and stores that heat or cool for use later when demand peaks. In this way, our Time of Use feature turns your home into a thermal battery that pre-heats or pre-cools your home at times of day when energy is cheapest and made from cleaner sources, allowing you to reduce your carbon footprint and save more automatically.

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How it works

If you live in an area where we offer Time of Use and your rate varies based on time of day, you can easily enable this feature to take advantage of the savings.

Want to check if there is a time-of-use rate available in your area? The first thing to do is make sure your utility company info is saved in the ecobee app. You can find, and if necessary, edit this information by opening the ecobee app, tapping on the Person icon, and scrolling down to Manage Homes. Tap on the home you would like to edit, then select Utility and edit your utility details.

After you have checked that your address is up to date, you are ready to enable the Time of Use feature. For this, tap on your thermostat on the ecobee app home screen, then select the Gear icon, and tap eco+. Select Time of Use. Toggle the feature on and select your rate (you can find this on your utility account/bill or contact your utility provider).

Once you’ve saved your time-of-use rate, ecobee’s Time of Use feature will be activated in the next 24 hours. ecobee will now automatically preheat or precool your home when electricity is more affordable.

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Here are five reasons to start using Time of Use:

1) Save money on your bill

Expect to see your monthly bills reduced once you have enabled Time of Use. “In 2020, we saw a high of 33% on-peak percent energy savings, and up to 23% cooling cost savings,” said Zac Hymes, a customer success manager on ecobee’s energy team. “Time of Use saves you money through optimizing HVAC cycles when energy costs are cheaper, and we see the most savings in the summer.” Stay up to date on your energy-saving progress by reviewing the energy report we email to ecobee Smart Owners each month. Keep in mind that seasonal weather changes can make it difficult to compare between months, especially at times of the year when weather changes are drastic.

2) Help protect the environment

By spreading electricity consumption across the day, Time of Use helps reduce strain on the grid when energy demand peaks and helps users take advantage of cleaner power sources, like wind and solar. “In 2023, customers with Time of Use enabled will reduce energy demand on the grid by approximately 7.2 GWh during peak periods. That’s like 254 garbage trucks of waste recycled instead of landfilled,” said Hymes.

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3) Let us do the work

The Time of Use feature automates your savings, and intelligently preheats and precools your home so that you’re comfortable at the right time, giving you the peace of mind to set it and forget it. “This is a quick and simple way to automate your home’s HVAC performance, a system that accounts for 35% of your home’s energy consumption on a monthly basis,” said Hymes.

Time of Use sign up steps

4) Free and easy to sign up

Signing up for Time of Use can be done within seconds so you can start saving energy and money within 24 hours.

5) Works with Community Energy Savings

Community Energy Savings provides you with a rebate and annual savings while Time of Use gives you monthly savings. Fortunately, if there is a Community Energy Savings program available in your area, you don’t have to decide between which one to sign up for because you can reap the benefits of both without interference.

At ecobee, we design intelligent, trustworthy, and quality solutions for your home. It’s all part of our larger commitment to improving everyday life while creating a more sustainable world. If you’d like to learn more about ecobee products and services like our smart thermostats, cameras, sensors, and robust home security system, you can visit our website. To find out how you can make the most of ecobee thermostat smart features, visit the eco+ page.

* Time of Use for heating can be a great way to save money on electricity bills for homeowners whose heating systems are powered by electricity. A home's thermal envelope will affect how well the home is able to retain the thermal energy and thus the benefits of preheat/precool.

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