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energy wise Q.


Clearing the Air Replace filters often for better results


BY JOHN DRAKE COOPERATIVE ENERGY AUDITOR


C


logged air filters could add $82 to your electric bill every year. How? A dirty filter strains a home’s heart and forces the HVAC system to work harder. This results in higher energy bills and—potentially—system failure. While air filters prevent pesky dust and annoying allergens from clogging your HVAC system, dirt, like aging arteries, builds up over time.


Filter Facts


Air filters protect HVAC systems and perform double-duty by collecting loose dirt from the air. These handy sieves live in duct system slots or in return grilles of central air conditioners, furnaces, and heat pumps.


Successful filters have a short lifespan—the better a filter catches dirt, the faster it gets clogged. Leaving a dirty air filter in place cuts a home’s air quality and reduces HVAC system airflow.


While removing a clogged filter altogether relieves pressure on the system, the system can’t perform well without one. Dirt and grime accumulate on critical parts like the evaporator coil, causing unnecessary wear and tear.


Monthly Check-up


Check your air filter once a month and replace it at least every three months.


If you have pets or smokers in the home, filters clog quickly. Remodeling projects or furniture sanding can add more dirt than normal so your filter may need to be changed before the average three-month lifespan expires.


Turn your heating and cooling system off before checking your filter. Slide the filter out of your duct work, and look for layers of hair and dirt. Run a finger across the filter. If the finger comes away dirty it’s time for a change.


When replacing the filter, make sure the arrow on the filter indicating the direction of the airflow points toward the blower motor. To help schedule monthly check- ups, write the date on the side of the filter so you know when it needs to be checked again. Once you’ve made the change, turn your system back on.


Filtering Choices


There are several different types of filters and levels of efficiency. Filters are either flat or pleated; pleated filters offer extra surface area to hold dirt, making them more efficient. 


Lucky Account #38847449. If this number matches the account number on your bill, please call 800-780-6486 for a $25 bill credit.


With cold weather approaching, will it lower my electric bill if I use those “ High efficiency space heaters”


from the local store to add extra heat? A.


The answer is NO, NO, NO! Those innocent little space heaters that


are advertised to be “cheap” and “efficient” are cheap and they use all the electricity that flow though them. The problem with space heaters is they use a lot of energy to produce a relatively small amount heat.


At today’s electric rates, the cost to run a 1,500 kilowatt space heater to heat 150 square feet would cost you approximately $129.60 a month, based on Choctaw Electric rates. That’s no savings.


Remember, if you need a small heater to keep your comfortable, then your HVAC system is probably not operating correctly. It’s way cheaper to have your unit cleaned and serviced yearly. Routine maintenance will pay off by lowering your monthly heating costs, and helping to prevent more serious maintenance problems in the future.


—John Drake


Key Accounts Representative and Energy Auditor


To learn more about CEC’s energy saving services and programs, or for questions about your home or business energy use, please call John Drake at 580-326-6486, ext 233 (office), or 580-317-7551 (cell).


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