Extreme Home (ENERGY) Makeover: PSO Edition!

Meet Mike Kernan. As a PSO energy efficiency coordinator he knows a thing or two (or 200) about how to make a home more energy efficient. But Mike doesn’t just know about this professionally; he’s experienced it firsthand!

A charming abode in need of some fine-tuning.

Mike and his family live in a charming two-story home built in 1926. Alas, his home was a little too old fashioned when it came to energy use. The house had varying temperatures from room to room and between floors, so the HVAC had to work harder (and expend more energy) to keep things comfy.

“We just couldn’t keep our home comfortable,” says Mike. “Our bedroom was a hot box during the summer and the living room would be freezing because we were trying to cool down that one room.”

Mike knew his house could do better, so he contacted a participating service provider, and together they made a plan turn the 94-year-old house into a modern, energy-efficient home.

How Mike did it.

You might be able to relate to Mike’s story, and you’ll definitely be able to learn from it! Here’s how he did it.

Seek professional help.

When it comes to efficiency, having an expert in your corner is always a good idea. Mike’s home qualified for a free home energy checkup, which helped uncover how his home was wasting energy. Spoiler alert – his HVAC, duct work, and attic insulation were in need of some TLC! This helpful report was key for prioritizing the upgrades that would have the most impact on his home’s efficiency.

Get in the zone.

Mike has his home “zoned”, meaning he added separate thermostats on the first and second floors. This improved the energy efficiency by heating/cooling the individual floors (“zones”) versus the entire house. Mike’s also a member of PSO’s Power Hours program, which gives customers a FREE Wi-Fi thermostat (up to $110 value)! Click here to see how Power Hours can help you save all year long. 

Add smart dampering

Mike used smart dampering to ensure the system could force air where it’s needed between the first and second floor ductwork. Sounds complicated, but it’s really just a smart way to help your home consistently maintain the right temperature.

Trust, but verify

Following the upgrades, a verifier ran a test-out, which let Mike know if the upgrades delivered the correct level of energy efficiency. The first test-out results showed the home was 84% sealed. A huge improvement, but not quite to the efficiency level expected. The verifier identified a potential issue, and the service provider fixed it. The result – the home has even less air leakage and better efficiency.

Easy upgrades. Huge savings.

In just a few short weeks, Mike’s family made the following upgrades to their home!

  • Replaced furnace and HVAC unit
  • Replaced ductwork
  • Added spray foam insulation to attic rafters

Mike saved big by taking advantage of PSO’s home rebate program. Even better? Since he completed multiple upgrades at one time, he received even bigger rebates through PSO’s multiple upgrade bonus, which rewards customers for making multiple energy-saving improvements to their home.

Mike also added a new pool pump last fall, so his home is more comfortable and energy efficient than ever. With winter weather now here and another hot Oklahoma summer just around the corner, Mike’s family is able to save energy and money all year long — and you can too!

Start the New Year off right! Find a Participating Service Provider to take advantage of rebates on qualifying home upgrades.


Unwrap savings for everyone on your list with our holiday gift guide!

It is better to give than to receive. But it is even better to save energy too! So before searching online or wandering around the mall, let us help you find the perfect energy-efficient gift. Check out our holiday gift guide!

1.) Power tools that save power.

Give the DIY lover in your life what they really want: power tools! Just be sure to look for the Energy Star® logo on the rechargeable battery. You could save up to 30% more energy than regular power tools. Now that’s what we call home improvement!

2.) Save energy with fa-la-la-laptops!

Unwrap portability, convenience, and most importantly, energy savings with a laptop! Laptops top desktops for energy efficiency. In fact, desktops drain so much energy while sitting idle, they cost more than 25 times as much to charge as a laptop. Yikes! Plus, have you ever tried taking a desktop to a coffee shop? It’s not ideal.

3.) Soak up some rays with a solar backpack.

It may be chilly now, but you’ll be hitting the hiking trails before you know it. Save space for your gear (and energy for your electronics) with a solar-powered backpack that doubles as a portable charger. Here’s how it works: the bag’s fabric is made of recycled soda bottles, making it waterproof, lightweight, and UV resistant. After just one hour of sunlight, the solar panels have enough juice to power three hours of talk time for your cell phone. After four to five hours, you’ll have enough for a full charge. Power up on the go and check out the top picks for solar backpacks.

4.) Cuddle up with the ultimate energy saver: blankets!

Our other holiday gift suggestions are state-of-the-art, but the ultimate energy savers are as old school as they come: blankets. Yep, blankets! Blankets provide warmth and comfort while using no energy. Zero, zilch, nada. Plus, by cozying up with a warm blanket, you’re less likely to crank up your heater, leading to even more energy savings! Is there anything these cuddly wonders can’t do? Personally, we recommend wool followed by down feathers, but you do you. Hot cocoa not included (but highly recommended).

Did you find something for everyone on your list? Whether you’re shopping for the holidays or just want to be energy efficient, energy saving products are the gifts that keep on giving all year long. See how you can save with rebates from PSO!


Freezing temps? Snow problem! Prep your home for winter weather.

The holiday season is a time of peace, comfort, and joy…but sometimes Oklahoma weather doesn’t get the memo. Don’t get caught shivering. Prep your home for winter weather with these four tips! 

1.) Do an (energy) audit.

It’s the holiday season, not tax season (*shiver*), however it’s always a smart investment to do a professional energy audit to assess your home’s efficiency. If you make less than $50,000 you may even qualify for a free audit and upgrades like attic insulation and duct sealing! Talk about a sweet holiday treat, right? See how it works and if you qualify.

2.) Insulate your windows. Save a quarter.

And by “quarter” we don’t mean 25 cents — we mean 25 percent! According to the Department of Energy, heat gained and lost through windows is responsible for 25-30% of residential energy use. Save yourself a lot of energy (and a whole lot of quarters) and purchase an inexpensive, easy-to-install window insulation kit.

3.) Clean your chimney.

Cleaning your chimney once a year doesn’t just increase your home’s energy efficiency; it protects your loved ones from serious danger. An unclean chimney accumulates material that creates a fire risk. Birds can also live in your chimney rent-free, creating dangerous potential blockages with their nest. Consult a professional to evict them and other pesky debris.

4.) Use a candle to check for leaks.

This is a neat little tip: use a lighted candle or incense stick to check for leaks on walls and ceilings. If the smoke blows sideways, you’ve probably got an air leak. Seal the leak with weather stripping, caulk or foam sealant. Your home will smell nice and the energy savings will be very nice.

These are just a handful of ways you can prep your home for winter weather, but there are so many smart, energy-efficient things you can be doing. Check out even more smart energy tips to help you save all year long.


Be like an elf and do it yourself with your own cozy sock draft stopper.

There’s something extra special about making your own gifts. But making your own gifts is even more special when those gifts also make your loved ones’ homes more energy efficient! So we’re pretty excited to share this DIY cozy draft stopper. It’s super easy, super cute, and will lead to super energy savings for your friends and family.

Directions courtesy of OneGoodThingByJillee

See original directions

Materials:

  • 2 to 3 socks, depending on size
  • Quilt batting or polyester fiberfill stuffing (basically stuffing from an old pillow). These give the sock shape and insulate against the cold air.
  • Popcorn kernels (or dried beans or peas). These are used for weight and won’t go rancid.
  • Needle and thread, or fabric glue.

* Note: There are no precise measurements. Just enough to fill the socks.

Directions:

  1. Fill each sock with a half-and-half mixture of the stuffing and kernels. Pack each sock all the way to the end, with the final layer being the stuffing.
  2. Repeat with the second and (if necessary) third sock.
  3. Attach each sock to the next by overlapping the end of one sock over the closed end of the next one.
  4. Once the sock sections are fitted together, stich them together with some needle and thread, or even fabric glue.
  5. Place the cozy sock draft stopper in front of the door. That’s it. You’re done!

A DIY sock draft stopper is definitely the cutest and most creative energy efficient tip there is, but there are so many ways to save energy around your home.

Deck the halls (and floors, windows, ceilings and more) with lots of savings with these awesome tips!


Make your home merry, energy efficient and bright with these four holiday lighting tips!

Holiday lighting is serious business. If you don’t believe us, just ask Clark Griswold from Christmas Vacation. Do you want your home to be the brightest, best-looking, and most energy efficient house on the block? We’ve got you. Check out these easy, smart, energy-saving tips!

  • Use ENERGY STAR® certified LED light strands. LED holiday light strands are brighter, safer, cooler, last 10X longer, and use 70% less energy than traditional bulbs. Translation: No brainer.
  • Plug in with ADVANCED power strips. Do you like the idea of plugging in a ton of holidays lights into an old power strip? Yeah, that’s a nope. Use an ADVANCED power strip instead. You will save a bundle of electricity, and a ton of time untangling, with this safer, smarter option. You can also get a rebate from us! 
  • Set an automatic timer for no more than 8 hours. Nobody is looking at holiday lights at 3:40am, so why waste energy and money lighting up your home in the wee hours?
  • Get creative! Use reflective ornaments and tinsel that are just as bright as holiday lights at night, and use no electricity at all.

Unwrap more energy saving tips and tricks at powerforwardwithpso.com.