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How Nest thermostats work with Rush Hour Rewards

If you’ve signed up for the Rush Hour Rewards program, your Google Nest thermostat automatically adjusts your heating or cooling schedule and temperatures during an energy Rush Hour.

An energy Rush Hour occurs when everyone in a specific area turns on air conditioning (AC) or heating at once. This, in addition to all the usual energy use in households (running the refrigerator,  TV, lights, computers, etc.) creates a peak in energy demand and increases costs.

With Rush Hour Rewards, your Nest thermostat turns the heating or cooling up or down a few degrees to save energy when energy is in high demand. At the same time, it also works to keep you comfortable in your home.

Note: If you haven’t signed up for Rush Hour Rewards with your energy company, you won’t see Rush Hour messages or receive rewards from your energy company.

Before the Rush Hour

1. Your energy company predicts a Rush Hour

Your energy company predicts a large rise in electricity or natural gas demand caused by a cold snap or heat wave. To help relieve demand and prevent possible brownouts and blackouts, an energy Rush Hour is scheduled and sent to all Nest thermostats in the Rush Hour Rewards program.

2. You get a Rush Hour notification

You’ll get a message on your Nest thermostat and the app that tells you when the upcoming Rush Hour will start and end.

  • If the Rush Hour is scheduled in the morning, you’ll get a message the night before.

  • If the Rush Hour is scheduled in the afternoon, you’ll get a message at least an hour before.

  • If you have 2 or more thermostats that are in the Rush Hour Rewards program, you’ll get a notification for each one.

Note: You can use the thermostat display to turn Rush Hour messages on or off in SETTINGSENERGY PROGRAMS. You can also go to Settings  Subscriptions Rebates and Rewards in the Google Home app, or go to Settings  in the Nest app.

3. Your thermostat pre-adjusts your home’s temperature

Once your thermostat knows the Rush Hour is coming, it might pre-adjust the temperature in your home before it starts. This is so less heating or cooling is needed during the Rush Hour event.

When this happens, you should see a gold gear on your thermostat and in the app with the words “PRE-COOLING” or “PRE-HEATING.”

The timing for your thermostat to pre-adjust your home’s temperature might be different from other homes. 

Note: You’ll only see pre-cooling or preheating for a morning Rush Hour if you have Early-On turned on and use one of the following thermostats:

  • Nest Learning Thermostat 1st gen
  • Nest Learning Thermostat 2nd gen
  • Nest Learning Thermostat 3rd gen
  • Nest Thermostat E

This is to help prevent you from being woken up by a noisy system or change in your home’s usual temperature.

During the Rush Hour

When a Rush Hour starts, a gold gear with a Nest Leaf inside and the words “ENERGY RUSH HOUR” appears on your Nest Thermostat’s display and in the app.

Your thermostat might continue to run the system as needed.

Example of cooling with and without Rush Hour Rewards

In the example below, the Nest thermostat is set to cool to 76ºF (25ºC).

The first graph shows that without Rush Hour Rewards, your thermostat continuously cools your home during the Rush Hour as the day heats up. This puts a strain on the electrical grid because everyone else is also cooling their homes to counter the rising temperatures.

Rush hour rewards diagram

The second graph shows that with Rush Hour Rewards, cooling is turned off at specific times to decrease the use of your system during peak energy demand. The combination of pre-cooling and short periods of cooling during the Rush Hour means you’d use your air conditioner less than you would’ve if you didn’t participate in Rush Hour Rewards.

Rush hour rewards diagram

After the Rush Hour

When the Rush Hour is over, your thermostat returns to its regular temperature schedule.

The next day, you can go to your Energy History to see how temperatures changed during the Rush Hour. They are highlighted by a gold ring:

Energy History

You can also go to your monthly Home Report for more information about your energy savings from Rush Hour Rewards.

 Rush Hour rewards interesting fact

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