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PAGE 6 APRIL 2012 LET’S SAVE ENERGY TOGETHER


Be your home’s private investigator A do-it-yourself energy audit can help you save


BY JOHN DRAKE 


M


ost of you Know that Choctaw Electric Cooperative offers free home energy audits for members. That fact doesn’t


mean you can’t reap the same benefits from doing your own private energy investigation. No matter the age of your home, it could benefit from a careful review—also known as an energy audit. Doing your own search can help you find low-cost solutions that could save money every month on your electric bill.


To be an energy “private-eye,” ask yourself a simple question: Does my home feel drafty and cold in the winter, or stuffy and hot in the summer? If your answer is “yes,” then your home probably experiences air leakage.


To track down where those spots are, round up the usual suspects—culprits like damaged seals around doors and windows. If you see daylight or feel air, then apply caulk and weather stripping to keep outdoor air where it’s supposed to be.


Don’t forget spots you might not immediately think of, such as recessed canister lights and electrical outlets. Outlet insulation kits can be purchased for as little as $2, and you can fix up your canister lights with some caulk around the edges.


Also look where walls meet the ceiling. If you notice any cobwebs, that means you’ve got drafts.


Next, poke your head into the attic and inspect the crawl space or basement for sufficient insulation. How much you need depends on your climate.


Here in southeast Oklahoma, I recommend an insulation level of R42 or 12-inches deep. For insulation levels in other parts of the country, check out the insulation calculator from the Oak Ridge National Laboratory at www.ornl.gov/~roofs/Zip/ZipHome.html.


It’s important to remember that insulation won’t do its job very well if there’s not a proper air barrier working in tandem. That means all joints and cracks must be sealed between your living space and insulation.


Finally, look at your light fixtures. Compact fluorescent lightbulbs (CFLs) are up to 75 percent more efficient than traditional incandescent bulbs, and they’ve come a long way in light quality, design, and affordability. You can purchase CFLs in a variety of shapes and hues. They cost more upfront, but you’ll make your money back in less than nine months and after that, they start saving money.


Make sure to purchase a CFL that’s rated by ENERGY STAR, the U.S. Environmental


Young Artists


(L-r) Winners of CEC’s Easter Coloring Contest are Roland Torres, age 9, first place, Forest Grove School; EmmaLeigh Kendrick, age 7, second place, Idabel Primary South; and Shane Stan- ford, age 6, Ft. Towson School.


Weatherstripping around doors is an easy and inexpensive way to boost energy efficiency.


Protection Agency’s program that denotes products meeting specific energy efficiency criteria. ENERGY STAR-rated CFLs will typically last 10 times longer than a traditional incandescent bulb producing the same amount of light.


To learn more about ways to reduce your electric bill, make plans to attend CEC’s free Energy Workshop on April 12. This special program will provide everyone with useful, practical and affordable energy saving solutions.


For more details, please give me or Mark Zachary a call at Choctaw Electric Cooperative, 800-780-6486. We’re happy to provide more information on the workshop, answer your energy use questions or even schedule a free home energy audit.


CEC


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