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energy wise ■


BY JOHN DRAKE COOPERATIVE ENERGY ADVISOR


rilling out is classic summer pastime with big benefits: What better way to satisfy the olfactory senses than the scent of charbroiled beef? The wife enjoys a break from cooking, and you don’t have to use electricity to operate the oven – or cool a hot kitchen.


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It’s a great way to save energy, but don’t stop there. Think about how you can conserve and save money while cooling those barbecued leftovers. A few simple tricks will help you keep your food cool and control your summer energy costs.


Fill the fridge. Full refrigerators and freezers don’t have to work as hard to cool the warm air that enters when you open the door. If you are busy freezing fresh vegetables from the garden for winter use, this should be easy. If not, use jugs of water or ice bags in the freezer to keep your fridge full and cool.


• •


Do some maintenance. When was the last time you moved your refrigerator away from the wall? Last month? Last year? When the deliveryman put it there? Pull the unit away from the wall and spend a few minutes cleaning the coils. When the coils are clean, the refrigerator cycles on and off less, saving you money.


• How to clean your refrigerator coils


Wait to put the leftovers away. If the burgers are still hot from the grill, let them cool off a bit before you put them in the fridge. Of course, avoiding gastronomical distress takes priority over energy savings, so don’t leave that food on the counter too long. Wait a few minutes to put hot food away and your fridge won’t have to work as hard to cool it down.





Check your settings. You probably don’t need to keep your refrigerator and freezer on the coldest settings. Your refrigerator can be set between 36 and 38 degrees, while your freezer can be set anywhere from 0 to five degrees.


Shut the door. The more you open the door of your refrigerator and freezer, the more cold air escapes and warm air gets in. Yes, you have to open the door to get food in and out, but an





Cool Tips for


Hot Kitchens


Fire up the grill, fill the fridge, and save money


organized fridge means less time spent staring at containers of mystery and moving pizza boxes around to dig for that much-coveted piece of lemon icebox pie.


If you’re relying on an old fridge to cool down favorite beverages in the garage, remember that it’s costing you a few dollars every month. Is it worth it?


If you do decide to get rid of the old unit, or if it’s time to replace the one in your home, don’t just leave it at the dump. Check with your local recycling center to see if they accept old appliances. Some retailers will take your old appliance when they deliver a new one. It’s worth asking about, and it will save you the trouble.


Before buying new fridge or freezer, be sure to visit energystar.gov. Their refrigerator retirement savings calculator (http://www.energystar. gov/index.cfm?fuseaction=refrig. calculator&) is a big help, and their advice can help you determine the best and most efficient appliance for you.


Finally, remember that Choctaw Electric can help you finance the purchase of new, energy efficient refrigerator— and other appliances, too. For details on our appliance loans, contact Brad Kendrick at 800-780-6486, ext. 248, or find information and loan applications online at www.choctawelectric.coop.


I hope you all enjoy what remains of summer. Now, what time is dinner? ■


For questions about your home’s energy usage or to schedule a free home energy audit, please contact Drake at 800-780-6486, ext. 233.


ENERGY EFFICIENCY Tip of the Month


During summer months, our homes can be extremely hot, making living conditions uncomfortable. Before you turn up your air conditioner, try cooling off with a ceiling fan first. Using ceiling fans can actually allow you to raise your thermostat setting by 4 degrees and still feel just as comfortable.


Source: Department of Energy


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