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■ energy wise


BY JOHNDRAKE COOPERATIVE ENERGY ADVISOR


hey’re noisy, sneaky and they mooch off unsuspecting homeowners, who may never realize the burden they place on their monthly energy bill. I’m talking about energy hogs.


T


No one likes an energy hog, but in the years I’ve worked for Choctaw Electric, I haven’t visited a home yet that doesn’t have one or more of these sneaky pigs lurking around. With the cold winter weather our area experienced in December and January, I’ve noticed a significant outbreak of energy gobbling problems. These issues are so prevalent that I must share them with you. Don’t let these greedy oinkers go hog wild in your home, or believe me, they’ll leave bite marks on your electric bill.


Heat Tapes. Home and business owners rely on heat tapes to prevent their pipes from freezing. In most cases, they are designed to switch on automatically when the temperatures plunge, and go off when temps return to normal. They’re terrific at preventing expensive plumbing disasters, but they do increase your electric bill. Even worse, heat tapes are notorious workaholic energy hogs that often refuse to switch off after the cold snap passes. Unsuspecting homeowners are surprised with a high bill, and have no idea what happened. Check to make sure your heat tapes switch off after cold weather passes, or risk paying the price.


ENERGY HOGS


Common usage problems plague co-op members


Heat Pumps. When heat pumps malfunction, they become the Mr. Hyde of energy hogs. Again, you won’t know it until your bill arrives so heed this warning. When your heat pump is set to heat mode, make sure the outside compressor is operating when the indoor air handler is running. If the outside unit is not operating, the auxiliary resistance heat will automatically come on to heat your house; you won’t know the compressor is not operating because the house will be warm.


Auxiliary heat is designed to switch on when the outside temperature dips


Pay Less For LEDs!


For discount prices on LED bulbs, shop hundreds of varieties and styles online at www.LEDusa.com. From LED floodlights to appliance bulbs and more, LEDusa.com offers electric co-op members an affordable way to begin shifting their home to total LED lighting.


LEDusa.com offers discount prices to Co-op Connection cardholders only—and the savings can be significant. Be sure to provide your Co-op Connections card number when checking out. Tip: If you’ve misplaced your card, go to www.connections.coop and download a new one.


ONTHE HUNT FOR


CONTACTUS: For questions about your home’s energy usage, or to schedule a free home energy audit, please contact


John Drake at 800-780-6486, ext. 233, email: jdrake@choctawelectric.coop.


below 32°F. It also requires two to three times more energy to operate than a heat pump that is functioning on its own.


Space Heaters. Whatever claims a manufacturer may make, space heaters do not consume electricity efficiently; they swallow it without chewing. Running 1,500 watt space heater for extra warmth, will cost you at least 30 cents per hour. I’ve visited several members who rely on space heaters to warm their well house during cold weather. If this energy hog is working in your well house, it will cost you roughly $7.20 or more per day. Add that to your normal, day-to-day kilowatt-hour usage and your electric bill is going to go up, way up. You’d be way ahead to insulate your well house, and leave a 100-watt light bulb on 24/7 during cold weather. In a structure that is enclosed and insulated, a 100 watt light bulb should keep a well pump from freezing up, and it uses one fifteenth of the electricity consumed by your space heater.


There are plenty more energy hogs out there — leaky hot water faucets, big screen TVs left on all day, and holes around windows and doors big enough to stick a finger through. These beasts will chew through your pocket book in no time. If you truly want to lower your energy costs, the only answer is to get out there and hunt them down. ■


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