Gadgets to Help You Keep Your AC Use Under Control

ABC News' Linzie Janis reports:

With this summer expected to be a hot and sticky one across the United States, many like Becky Torres are planning to survive it by blasting the air conditioner and just suffering the hefty bills that will inevitably follow.

Torres, a stay-at-home mom, said she and her San Antonio, Texas, family used the air conditioner almost 24/7.

"Yes, I do," she said. "Yes, I do."

(ABC News)

The Torreses spend a hefty $130 a month to keep cool but ABC News' "Real Money" team uncovered a new and free gadget from the local energy company that could help them start saving up to 25 percent on their bill this season.

Related: More tips to save you on your electric bill.

The average U.S. family spends nearly $400 between June and August cooling the house. And for every degree that a person lowers the AC, they raise the AC's cost by about $24, according to Con Edison.

A Thinkeco smart AC kit connects to the air conditioning unit and allows homeowners to turn off the AC with their phone, even when they're away from home and have forgotten to turn it up or off.

San Antonio resident Patrick Vick said he'd been using the Thinkeco gadget on an AC unit in his bedroom as well as another system called Nest, which lets him control his central air so he can see how much he is using and spending daily.

Vick said the gadgets had saved him about $75 a month for the last year and a half.

"We'll do over $1,000 this year in savings," he said.

Utility providers in New York and Baltimore are now offering free smart AC kits and Direct Energy, one of the largest suppliers of gas and electricity in North America, is now offering rebates on the Nest thermostat in Ohio and Illinois, with New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania to come.

The kit is also available online for $140 and pays for itself in a little more than a summer season.

Torres, whose family could save $250 this year, said she found the Thinkeco smart AC "super easy."

"I'm excited. I can't wait to start saving money," Torres said. "Every dollar saved is a dollar in our pockets."