Start School on a Creative Note with this “Tye-Dye” Watercolor Backpack!

Your child’s backpack is a very important school supply. Maybe the most important. Hey, we were all kids once, so we know this is true. 

Why spend an arm and a leg on a backpack anybody can buy? What if another kid brings the same backpack to school too? Yeah, that’s the worst. 

The solution: Make your own! This “Tie-DIY” watercolor backpack costs less than $20 and takes less than 30 minutes. Plus, your child will have a backpack that is as unique as they are!

This DIY project comes from Momtastic!

Supplies:

  • Plain white backpack
  • Fabric markers
  • Spray bottle filled with water
  • Paper towel

Instructions:

1.) Spray the backpack with a light mist of water. Don’t soak it! You want it to be barely damp so the marker slightly bleeds as you color.

2.) Using the markers, add your child’s favorite colors over the entire surface of the backpack. Be sure to alternate the colors you’re using. Don’t worry about saturating the bag with ink. Scribbles are just fine and will still get the same effect. 

3.) Once you have covered a portion of the backpack’s surface with the marker, spritz some water over the ink. The more water you add, the more the colors will bleed together, creating a cool watercolor look.

4.) Use a paper towel to soak up any extra water that isn’t being absorbed.

5.) Seal the color with heat by tossing the backpack in the dryer for a few minutes until it is dry again. Or you can wait for the backpack to dry and then run over the colorful surface with an iron.

School may have already started, but a personal watercolor backpack is a fun and easy way to make a colorful statement any time of year!

How to Spot Air Leaks and Save the Watts!

Air leaks are small spots that can make a huge difference in your household’s energy use. In fact, about 10-25% of the energy used to cool homes escapes through air leaks.

You probably know the usual places to spot air leaks, like window seals and door frames. But there are so many other places you may not know about where air can escape your home, costing you energy, money—and Watts!

Here are some “under-the-radar” places where air can leak out of your home:

  • Electrical outlets
  • Switch plates
  • Electrical and gas service entrances
  • Baseboards
  • Weather stripping around doors
  • Fireplace dampers
  • Attic hatches
  • Keyholes
  • Vents and fans
  • All exterior corners
  • Outdoor water faucets
  • Where siding and chimneys meet outside

Yeah, it’s a lot. While only a tiny amount of air may be escaping from your home in any one of these spots, it all adds up. Pretty soon a little bit goes a long way. 

Here are some general tips for preventing those pesky air leaks.

  • Caulk, seal and weatherstrip openings.
  • Repair and weatherstrip air leaks in the home. 
  • See if qualify for our free Home Weatherization Assistance, including a home inspection from our partner, Titan ES.
  • Even if you don’t qualify for the free service, you can receive a PSO rebate on air sealing when you make two or more qualifying home upgrades through a participating service provider. Find a service provider.

Save energy. Save money. Save Watts. Spot and seal those pesky air leaks! 

Fact or Fiction? Six Common Energy-Saving Myths.

There are many smart, simple ways to save energy at your home or office. However, not all ways to “save” energy are created equal. In fact, there are many so-called tips out there that not only don’t work, but can actually cost you energy and money too. Yikes!

We’ve talked a lot about energy-saving tips — now let’s debunk some of the most common energy-saving myths!

Debunked: “Turning your computer on and off wastes energy.”

Do you leave your computer on 24/7 because you’ve heard that turning it on and off wastes energy? That’s a myth. You should turn your computer off if you’re going to be away for two or more hours. 

Debunked: “Ceiling fans cool the room.”

Your fan doesn’t cool the room, it cools you. Leaving your ceiling fan running when there’s nobody there is like running water in an empty sink—it just wastes energy and money. Fans don’t produce cool air, they circulate air, which makes you feel cooler. So when you leave the room, be sure to turn off the fan.

Debunked: “Washing dishes by hand saves energy.”

Do you hate washing dishes by hand? We’ve got good news: You don’t have to! Energy-efficient dishwashers purposefully use less water and energy, so you’re actually using less hot water than when you wash by hand. So skip the dishwashing boredom and use your dishwasher instead. P.S. remember to wait until you have a full load before running your dishwasher.

Debunked: “Closing vents in an unused room saves energy.”

We totally see why people might think this, but that’s how rumors get started. Your HVAC is a balanced system, so when you close one vent, the strain forces the system to work harder and use more energy. A better way to save? Set your thermostat a few degrees higher in summer or lower in winter. The best way to save? Sign up for PSO Power Hours and get a $110 instant rebate on a Wi-Fi thermostat that you can control from anywhere.

Debunked: “You lose most of your heat through windows.”

Yes, heat can be lost through windows. But the biggest culprit for heat loss? Your walls. Thanks to their large surface area, walls account for most of your home’s heat loss. So insulate them. We’re such big fans of wall insulation (and attic, floor and ceiling insulation too), we’ll help you pay for it!

Debunked: “Cool your home faster by setting the thermostat lower.”

This tip may seem logical, but unfortunately it’s not true. It’s like honking at a red light—it doesn’t make a difference because the red light is doing its own thing. You set the thermostat so your home or office reaches a certain temperature. Setting it higher or lower doesn’t speed up the process, and can actually cost you energy if you forget to reset it later. Instead, set the thermostat to your preferred temperature and your HVAC will do the rest. Save even more—upgrade to an Energy Star®-certified HVAC and get a rebate from us!

Don’t fall for these (or other) energy-saving myths! Instead, always consult a trusted source (like us) for tips, tricks, rebates and more for saving energy!

This Banana Pudding Recipe has Serious AP-“PEEL”!

Satisfy your sweet tooth without standing over a hot stove in late summer. We’re not monkeying around—this delicious, creamy, no-bake banana pudding recipe is a scrumptious take on a classic dessert. And it’s so easy to make! National Banana Pudding Day is August 29, but if you can’t wait that long to try it well, we won’t tell (as long as you share).

We got this recipe from Shugary Sweets. Be sure to check out the rest of their sweet treats!

Ingredients:

  • 1 (14 oz.) can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 (12 oz.) container Cool Whip or sweetened whipped cream
  • 2 bags Pepperidge Farm Chessmen cookies
  • 6 to 8 sliced bananas
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1 (5 oz.) box instant French vanilla pudding mix
  • 1 (8 oz.) package softened cream cheese

Directions:

  1. Line the bottom of a 13×9-inch baking dish with a single layer of cookies (it’s okay if they overlap slightly). Use the deepest 13×9 you own.
  2. Layer sliced bananas over the top. 
  3. Mix cream cheese with sweetened condensed milk. Beat until creamy, with no clumps. Add in pudding mixture, and milk, and beat again for several minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.
  4. Mix in the Cool Whip or whipped cream.
  5. Pour pudding mixture over the top of the bananas.
  6. Top with a layer of cookies.
  7. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 4 hours.

Sounds incredible! Yeah, there’s no way we can wait until August 29. Guess we’ll just have to make a couple servings (or five).

Hope you and your family enjoy this sweet treat to close out the summer!

Fall Checklist: Four Easy Ways to get your Home Ready for Fall!

The official end of summer is here. We’ll give you a minute to process that. With fall right around the corner, are you ready for sweater weather? 

Well, don’t break out the hot chocolate mugs and cozy house shoes just yet, we’ve still got to get your house ready for fall. Here are some simple things you can do to help your energy usage “Fall” and get ready for cooler weather!

Seal air leaks

We know what you’re thinking: “They’re talking about sealing air leaks again?” Yes, we’ve mentioned it once or twice (or 100 times), but that’s because it’s so important. Sealing air leaks from your duct work, doors, windows, or even in the gaps between your fireplace and mantle keeps conditioned air inside where it belongs. We care so much about air sealing, we’ll even help you pay for it.

Change your ceiling fan direction

Did you switch your fans to go counterclockwise during the summer? Pat yourself on the back. Now, switch them to go clockwise for the fall and winter, and push warm air downward.

Give your heating system a check-up

You won’t be needing your heater in August, which means it’s a great time to make sure it’s ready for winter. You do not want your heater to go down during true Oklahoma winter weather. Space heating accounts for up to 45% of your energy bill, so do your future self a favor and schedule routine maintenance with an HVAC expert. 

Replace your HVAC filters

Make sure your HVAC is ready to go before you switch from A/C to heating, and replace your HVAC filters. A good rule-of-thumb is to replace your filters every three months (or once a season). You’ll keep your HVAC running strong all year long, and save yourself the headache and expense of replacing the entire unit. 

Follow this simple Labor Day weekend checklist and you’ll be well on your way to getting your home ready for cooler weather. Plus, you can spend your Labor Day weekend focusing on what really matters: grilling. 

Save us a hot dog, will ya?