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Who’s your energy advisor?

July 1, 2021

Did you know that as a South Central Power Company member, you’ve got a personal energy advisor? While all of our member-facing employees — in the office or on the phone — are trained to answer basic questions about energy use, managing costs, and sticking to an energy budget, we also employ energy experts in each region served by South Central who can dig deeper into special situations or provide sound energy advice on a variety of topics.

Now that the heat of summer is here, we’re sharing some of the hot topics we hear questions about the most — we hope that by learning more, we can help you save energy and money!

Heating and cooling systems

Want to make your heating and cooling systems work well for you instead of the other way around? Looking for a simple investment you can make to keep your energy bill as low as possible, even in the heat of summer? One of the simplest things you can do is simply have your central heating and air systems serviced each spring and fall by a qualified HVAC professional. A good seasonal service, or tune-up, as they are often called, can help make sure your system is operating at peak efficiency.

Changing the filter; cleaning the blower, condenser, and evaporator coils; lubricating moving parts, checking electrical systems and connections, and optimizing refrigerant levels are just some of the items that come into play in a comprehensive A/C tune-up that can save you money over the long haul. Short-term savings are realized because your system is operating efficiently, but you can save over time as well because a regularly serviced system will typically last longer than one that is neglected or ignored.

Ceiling fans

Fans cool people, not rooms, so don’t bother running them when you’re not home. Additionally, make sure you’ve got the fan running in the right direction — most fans have a switch that can reverse the direction. You should make sure your fan is running counterclockwise in the summer time for maximum comfort.

Solar power

Can you really turn blazing hot summer sun in your favor by installing solar panels and using the energy to cool your home instead? The answer for some members is yes, but not without a lot of planning, budgeting, and making sure the process doesn’t cost you more in the long run than simply weatherizing your home and using your energy efficiently.

Some solar installers offer deals that sound too good to be true, and like most things in life, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Solar installers often don’t accurately calculate the total costs of their system compared to your current energy bill, and they over-estimate the financial savings you’ll realize after making the switch. South Central energy advisors offer no-cost, no-nonsense evaluations that can help you make a smart, informed decision. We love to see members who want to install solar and understand what they’re getting into, but we hate to see members who get tricked and stuck with higher bills than they bargained for.

ENERGY STAR room air conditioners

For some people, depending on the construction of your home and other factors, room, or so-called “window” AC units are the best and most economical way to keep cool. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, ENERGY STAR-certified room air conditioners use 10% less energy and on average, cost less than $75 per year to run than similar units without the ENERGY STAR designation. In addition to being relatively economical to purchase when compared to a whole house system, the units cool a smaller space, so you can focus on keeping a particular room in your home comfortable, like a bedroom where you sleep, or a finished garage or attic that may not be connected to the rest of the home’s central cooling system.

Online tools

One of the easiest ways to learn more about energy savings is to simply visit our website.

There, you can log in to view details about your energy use as well as access calculators that help you plan and project energy savings. To access saving tips, calculators, and more, visit: https://www.southcentralpower.com/safety-education/ energy-saving-resources/.

From the July 2021 issue of Ohio Cooperative Living.