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the SmartHub smartphone app. For Whitlaw and Armstrong, the changes have helped them to create a dream home that is not only aesthetically pleasing, but also comfortable, efficient and affordable.


Slow and steady changes


Choctaw Electric Cooperative members Jerry and Jane Speck have lived in their 2,400-square- foot home near Broken Bow, Okla., for 22 years. Over time their electric bill—like most things—had increased. Seven years ago, they decided to talk to the co-op about what they could do to save money. “We had been looking at our electric bill, won- dering what we were doing wrong,” Jerry Speck says. “We saw in our monthly magazine that Choctaw Electric does free energy audits.” The Specks scheduled a comprehensive home audit with Choctaw Electric Cooperative Member Services Representative Brad Kendrick. Afterward, Kendrick took time to explain his findings to the couple. “He sat down and talked with us intelligently. It was a good conversation—not just him saying, ‘This isn’t good and that isn’t good,’ even though there were things we could improve,” Jerry Speck says.


Some changes the Specks implemented over the years were major upgrades—new windows, a metal roof, energy efficient appliances, LED bulbs throughout the house and insulation in the attic.


Top Five Energy Users in U.S. Homes


Space Cooling 13%


Lighting 11%


Estimated residential electricity consumption


by end use, 2014* *Source: EIA


Water Heating 9%


Space Heating 9%


Other uses include TV, set-top boxes, home entertainment and gaming systems, monitors and networking equipment, clothes dryer, small electric devices, heating elements and motors.


Refrigeration 7%


>>> leakage. On older windows, install a window film kit (available at home


improvement stores for less than $2 per window) to prevent air from leaking in and out of the house.


Plant deciduous landscaping to the west of the house. In the summer, the leaves will help shield the home from the sun. In the winter, the leaves will fall off and allow the sun to help heat the home.


Plant evergreen trees to the north of the home to create a


windbreak and shelter it from cold winter winds. If available, use a storm door to provide another barrier between


indoors and outdoors.


In the summer, set the thermostat to between 76 and 78 degrees while no one is home. Upon arrival at home, gradually decrease the temperature so the HVAC unit doesn’t have to work too hard to reach the desired temperature. Or, set a programmable thermostat to incrementally cooler temperatures so it is the correct temperature upon arrival at home. In the winter, set the thermostat to 68 while the home is vacant and gradually increase the temperature upon arrival.


Clean the dryer’s lint trap after every load to prevent lint buildup


that can keep air from venting properly. Check the vent on the outside of the house or in the attic to make sure it’s not clogged.


In the summer, run the dryer during the early morning or late


evening hours so the air conditioner doesn’t have to work overtime as a result of the hot air the dryer produces. In the winter, run it during the daytime.


Clean refrigerator coils once or twice a year—especially in homes with pets. Coils are located on the bottom of newer refrigerators. Removing lint and dirt buildup will help the refrigerator run more efficiently.


Wipe the seals of the refrigerator with soapy water so they seal


better. Over time, grease can build up and prevent the doors from sealing tightly.


Replace air filters once a month. This keeps coils in the HVAC


unit from getting clogged. In the summer, hose off the coils on the outdoor unit to make it more efficient.


Place the water heater on a timer. Set it to turn on 40 minutes


before use. Before going on vacation for more than 4 days, turn off the water heater.


Take care of water drips and leaks. Even though the water might


feel cold, it could be a hot water leak. Schedule a home energy audit. Most electric co-ops offer low-


cost or no-cost audits to their members. SEPTEMBER 2016 13


Energy Saving Tips


According to Brad Kendrick, member services representative at Choctaw Electric Cooperative based in Hugo, Okla., there are several no-cost and low-cost ways members can save on their monthly electric bill.


Caulk around doors, windows and trim work to prevent air leaks.


Over time, caulking separates from the surface and needs to be replaced.


Check seals around doors and replace, if needed, to prevent air


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