Four ways to help your HVAC stay cool

In an ideal world, summer temps would stay moderate, a cool breeze would always be blowing, and you would rarely have to turn on your home’s air conditioner. But we live in Oklahoma, which means at some point that HVAC is going to be working overtime. The good news: even with your AC system running, there are ways to maximize your energy efficiency without sacrificing home comfort. Here are five of them.

  1. Clean or replace your air conditioner filters

A clogged filter can obstruct airflow and reduce the efficiency of your system—and cost you money. According to the Department of Energy, replacing a dirty or clogged filter with a clean one can lower your air conditioner’s energy consumption by 5% to 15%.

  1. Keep your coils clean

Your AC’s evaporator coil and condenser coil collect dirt over time—especially an outdoor condenser coil. Check and clean your evaporator coil yearly, and make sure that your condenser coil is not near an excess of debris or foliage. This will allow for adequate airflow—and reduced energy usage.

  1. Check your window unit for air leaks

If you have a window unit, make sure the seal between your air conditioner and window frame is secure and not leaking cool air. Check for leaks on your other windows as well; poorly sealed windows are often the chief culprit of energy leaks.

  1. Get a professional opinion

A professional technician can inspect your HVAC unit on a deeper level and find and fix problems you might have missed. They’ll check your refrigerant, test for refrigerant and duct leaks, measure airflow, inspect electric terminals, oil motors and check belts, and, most importantly, check the accuracy of your thermostat.

Looking for more ways to save energy and money? Check out more energy-saving tips and tricks.

Four simple ways to save more energy this Earth Day

We all want to give the planet a break, and Earth Day is a great time to start living a more energy-efficient lifestyle. One way to do that? Plan energy-saving days with your family at home! Here are five easy ways to start:

  1. Cool your home with a cross breeze.

On milder days—or warm days with a heavy breeze—you can save a ton of energy by switching off the AC and opening a few windows instead. Those open windows will create a natural airflow that can go a long way towards keeping you comfortable. If the breeze isn’t strong enough, try switching on a few fans before you run for the thermostat.

 

  1. Minimize your use of artificial light.

There’s no way to avoid the simple fact that we need light to live. Where and how you get that light is up to you, though. Open the blinds, let the sunlight in, and consider making a rule that during daylight hours the only light switch that gets flipped is the one in your closet or bathroom. You can take it a step further by using candlelight to illuminate your home after dark—just be mindful of the open flame.

 

  1. Cook as a family—on an outdoor grill.

Outdoor grilling is a great way to save energy, enjoy the outdoors, and bond as a family over a delicious meal. If you’re not sure where to start, just grab your favorite meat or vegetable, toss some seasoning on there and throw it on the grill. But If you’re not the spontaneous type, there are tons of grill recipes available online, including those that accommodate special diets. Plan your meal as a family, then take turns manning the grill while relaxing in the fresh open air. When it’s ready, consider dining outdoors to keep the energy-efficient party going.

 

  1. Keep a log of how much energy you save.

If you’re serious about changing your habits, the best way to do it is to keep track of your energy usage and watch the savings stack up in real time. PSO makes this easy with online energy analysis broken down by year, month, week and day. Visit My Energy Advisor , then login or register to see your energy usage.

 

Looking for more ways to save? Check out more energy-saving tips and tricks from PSO here.

Get Plugged In: Four things to know about electric cars

As the auto industry ramps up its renewable efforts, electric vehicles are quickly becoming more popular—and more affordable. But what does that mean for your personal energy usage? Here are four things to know when deciding whether an electric vehicle is right for you.

1. The most energy-efficient way to recharge your vehicle is also the most convenient.

Most people charge their electric vehicles at home in their garage, overnight. Electric costs are lower, and with the lights and electronics off and everyone asleep, it’s also when you’re using the least amount of electricity.

2. Alternative fueling stations are more prominent than ever.

In the past, the relative lack of alternative fueling stations—that is, public spaces equipped with electric vehicle chargers—made the idea of purchasing an electric car prohibitive and inconvenient for those who often drive long distances. But there are now more than 26,000 public charging stations across the U.S., and you can use the Department of Energy’s handy fueling station locator to plan your trip and assure that you always know where you’ll be charging next.

3. The electric batteries are getting cheaper.

Like the electric vehicle as a whole, the battery is quickly becoming more affordable. According to the Department of Energy, before 2009, a 100-mile range electric battery cost $33,000. Today, prices still vary greatly, but some 40kw replacement batteries for certain EV models run as low as $5,499 before installation costs, and battery prices continue to fall across the industry as manufacturing costs drop.

4. Electric vehicles emit zero tailpipe pollutants.

This might sound obvious, but it’s worth emphasizing: When you switch to an electric vehicle, you put an immediate stop to the carbon emissions and pollutants that come from traditional cars—with almost no effort.

Learn more about electric vehicles by visiting the Department of Energy’s website.

Four home projects to increase your comfort level and reduce your energy usage

It’s a new year—and a great time to tackle some easy energy-saving DIY home projects. While they might not be as fun as that Pinterest project you have your eye on, these upgrades will help you save energy and make your home more comfortable. Get ready to roll up your sleeves and you’ll be on your way to a more energy-efficient home in no time.

Insulate those hot water pipes.

What’s the goal? Reduce heat loss and retain water temperatures up to 4 degrees warmer
How much does it cost? $10–$15
How long does it take? 3 hours or longer, depending on the size of your house
How much will you save? $8–$12 annually

Watch: Easy step-by-step instructions

Grab the caulk and seal your home air leaks.

What’s the goal? Reduce costly drafts, make your home more comfortable
How much does it cost? $3–$30
How long does it take? 1–2 hours
How much will you save? 10–20 percent of your heating bill

Read: How-to Article

Weatherstrip your harder-to-reach air leaks.

What’s the goal? Reduce drafts by sealing leaks that come from movable joints like windows and doors
How much does it cost? $5–$10
How long does it take? 1 hour
How much will you save? Up to 10 percent in energy savings

Read: Easy step-by-step instructions

Insulate your water tank.

What’s the goal? Reduce up to 45 percent of standby heat loss
How much does it cost? $30
How long does it take? 1.5 hours
How much will you save? $20–$45

Watch: Easy step-by-step instructions

WindChoice: Wind Power That’ll Blow You Away

In 2018, a loaf of bread will cost you around $2.25, but so will your average latte.

But the best use of $2.25? Transforming the way your home uses electricity.

PSO WindChoice Program

With PSO’s WindChoice program, you can convert a percentage of your home’s electricity to clean and abundant wind power for little cost. This service allows you to reduce your environmental impact while investing in renewable energy.

WindChoice is completely customizable, letting you choose what percentage you want to invest. Want to go all in? You can convert up to 100% of your home energy to wind power through the program.

WindChoice is available for as little as $0.0038 per kilowatt-hour (kWh). If your home uses 1,200 kWhs of energy per month and you enroll in 50% WindChoice, then you’re adding around $2.25 per month to your electricity bill. Who knew supporting renewable energy could be so affordable?

Learn more about signing up for WindChoice with PSO!