Does your home beat the heat?

redquestionguy Energy use and costs typically rise as the mercury rises, but there are a number of simple, economical ways to boost comfort, save energy, and cut electric bills. Most of these energy-saving steps can pay for themselves relatively quickly. For example, weather-stripping and caulking are inexpensive ways to boost efficiency and cut energy costs year round.

A substantial portion of total residential energy costs are spent cooling homes. Reduce energy costs and ready the air conditioner with a cleaning and tune-up. Clean or change filters monthly during the cooling season. An efficiently running cooling system will save dollars. If you’re purchasing a new unit, check the efficiency rating, or SEER. The higher the SEER number the more efficient the air conditioner. For greater operating efficiency, install unit in a shady area, and keep free of plant overgrowth and debris.

Most of summer heat buildup in homes comes through windows. Simply closing the curtains, blinds and shades can cut this heat gain by up to 40 percent, and save big dollars in cooling costs. Installing awnings or shutters over windows exposed to direct sunlight can reduce indoor heat gain by up to 70 percent. Outdoor landscaping that includes shade trees and insulating foundation plants can also cut energy costs.

Ventilate the attic and check insulation. Adequately sized vents and/or an attic fan can help keep hot air from building up. If your attic has less than 6 to 8 inches of insulation, consider adding more. Proper attic insulation can save up to 30 percent of your cooling bill. Be sure the insulation doesn’t block vents or cover exhaust fans.

Another inexpensive way to keep cool and cut air conditioning costs is to use ceiling and oscillating fans to create a “wind chill” effect. The moving air makes the temperature feel cooler, and allows a higher air conditioner thermostat setting while maintaining cooling comfort. For each 1-degree increase in the thermostat setting, cooling costs can be trimmed by about 3 percent.

Follow these operating tips for greater energy efficiency and reduction in air conditioning costs:

  • images (11)Install a timer or programmable thermostat to raise and lower the temperature automatically. Leave it on a higher temperature while you’re away, and set it to cool the house half an hour before you return home.
  • Turn off unnecessary lights and television sets you’re not watching. Don’t leave computers on when not in use.
  • Make sure heat-producing appliances like televisions and lamps are away from the thermostat. They will raise the temperature at the thermostat and cause the air conditioner to run when it is not needed.
  • Plan to do hot work – washing and drying clothes, cooking and baking – during cooler morning and evening hours.
  • Keep your kitchen cooler by cooking in a microwave oven or grilling outdoors.

Increased summer electric demand not only can place a strain on budgets, it can place a serious strain on your home’s electrical system – a dangerous shock and fire hazard. Flickering or dimming lights, T. V. or computer monitors, or frequent circuit breaker trips are signs of an overloaded electrical system or faulty wiring that should be checked by a professional.

Homeowners can take simple electrical safety measures that can prevent overloaded outlets and serious damage and injury. Avoid using extension cords, and don’t use multiple plugs in outlets. Check plugs and electric cords for fraying or cracks, and never run cords across high-traffic areas, behind curtains or baseboards, or underneath rugs or furniture.

Source: Energy Education Council @http://efficiencyresource.org/

For more electrical safety advice, visit the EEC’s SafeElectricity web site.

Here for the long haul: National network a big benefit

James P. “Pat” Howle, CEO, column from the July 2015 edition of South Carolina Living magazine.

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Touchstone Energy Cooperatives® is the nationwide branding alliance created especially for and adopted by electric cooperatives in the late 90s. It is a unifying symbol of our common four core values; innovation, accountability, integrity and commitment to community.

When your co-op joined the ranks of the Touchstone Energy Cooperatives® nationwide branding alliance on Jan. 1, 1998, we were one of 300 participating electric cooperatives in 32 states delivering energy and energy solutions to more than 16 million members every day.

Today, there are 751 electric cooperatives in 46 states participating in the network collectively delivering on the commitments of integrity, accountability, innovation and commitment to community to 32 million members.

Our history is our future
The Horry Electric name, with Willie Wiredhand right in the center, is one of the most easily recognized symbol of your electric co-op in our community. Willie was the unifying symbol of all the electric cooperatives in the U.S.A. for a number of years. He was the 'spokesplug' for the national network of electric cooperatives

The Horry Electric name, with Willie Wiredhand right in the center, is one of the most easily recognized symbols of your electric co-op in our community. Willie was the unifying symbol of all the electric cooperatives in the U.S.A. for a number of years. He was the ‘spokesplug’ for the national network of electric cooperatives. He officially retired from the national network several years ago, but you still see him around some co-ops – including Horry Electric.

Horry Electric will be celebrating 75 years of service in January. Organized for and by people right here in Horry County, our co-op is deeply rooted in the community. Like all cooperative businesses, we operate according to the core principles and values first set out in 1844 by the Rochdale Society of Equitable Pioneers in England.

Members are directly impacted by at least five of the seven principles. Voluntary and open membership, democratic member control and member’s economic participation truly set us apart from other types of businesses. In everything we do, maintaining the cooperative’s autonomy and independence, as well as having a concern for the community by working for sustainable development are among the priorities set by the management team of your Cooperative and by the members of your board of trustees.

Alliance makes us stronger

The alliance with sister cooperatives and the addition of the Touchstone Energy brand to our existing local, well established presence in 1998 is an excellent example of cooperation among cooperatives, which is another guiding principle. From our history, we know we are much more effective with accomplishing goals by working together with sister cooperatives on a regional and national basis. Improved efficiency and cost effectiveness are other benefits of working together.

TWS_Logo_TSE_stackedBeing a part of the Touchstone Energy Cooperative network is a big benefit to our co-op, our members and our communities. It enhances our local connections and has given us the ability to follow through on another very important guiding principle— education, training and information. The list of resources and tools available through Touchstone Energy is long. You can learn more by visiting us online at HorryElectric.com and TogetherWeSave.com.

Horry Electric Cooperative is here for the long haul. You can count on us to look out for you and be your advocate. It matters to us, because we work and live here, too. The majority of us are members ourselves. What impacts you, also impacts us.

Stay tuned as we gear up to celebrate 75 years in Horry County and 18 years as a Touchstone Energy Cooperative.

July edition of South Carolina Living is online now!

The July 2015 edition of South Carolina Living magazine will be delivered to the mailboxes of members and subscribers mid-month, but it’s available online NOW!

Improved efficiency and cost effectiveness are benefits of working with sister cooperatives on a regional and national basis. Read the CEO comments to learn more.

Horry Electric local highlights include:

  • CEO Column: Here for the long haul; National network big benefit
  • Horry News: Mobile apps; Surge Guard; Horry Extra
  •  Miracle on Highway 67; Food hub could spur agribusiness
  • Co-op Connections: A personal touch with your cars and such

Keep Your Refrigerator Running Efficiently

REFRIGER_JPGA smart way to cut down electric bills is to maintain efficient appliances, especially those that use a great deal of energy. Since your refrigerator generally accounts for about 20 percent of the electric bill, this appliance is a great place to start. While people generally know not to dawdle with the door open, there are many other ways to make a refrigerator run more efficiently:

  • Make sure your refrigerator is not in direct sunlight or next to a heat source such as the oven or the dishwasher.
  • Be sure that air can circulate freely around condenser coils by leaving a space between the back of the refrigerator and the wall or cabinets and keeping the fridge top uncluttered.
  • Check that your refrigerator’s temperature is between 36 degrees F and 40 degrees F and your freezer is between 0 degrees F and 5 degrees F. Your unit can use up to 25 percent more energy than necessary if it is set to 10 degrees colder than recommended levels.
  • Unplug the unit at least once a year to brush off or vacuum the condenser coils.
  • Clean or replace door seals if they can’t hold a dollar bill firmly in place.
  • Ensure that the “power-saver” switch is on if you have the option to do so, and make sure you don’t see any condensation on the outside of the fridge.
  • Defrost the unit regularly if you have a manual defrost or partial automatic defrost.
  • Keep the refrigerator full, but not overcrowded; this will help keep the temperature at the right level and make sure there is proper air flow inside.

TWS_Logo_TSE_stackedIf your refrigerator is nearing the end of its life-cycle – about 15 years – it may be most efficient to purchase a new one. Advances in technology have cut refrigerator energy use by over 60 percent in the past twenty years. Models predating 1993 could be costing you up to $140 per year in electricity alone. If you have a model purchased between 1993 and 2001, it is probably still inefficient and could cost $60 extra per year to run. While the initial cost of a new refrigerator might seem steep, the price to run it each year will be much lower than maintaining a older model.

Remember, the biggest money gulper is that old refrigerator you barely use – you know, the one in the garage keeping your soda pop cold. Retire it from use.

Source: Energy Education Council @http://efficiencyresource.org/

Beat The Heat – your window air conditioning how-to guide

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Written by Marc Rivers, communications intern at Touchstone Energy. Marc is a rising senior studying Film and English at Howard University in Washington, D.C.

The official start of summer was June 21, and we are all certainly feeling the heat! Here in the Washington, D.C. area, the mercury is traveling to the highest levels seen so far this season. When you’re not feeling brave enough to tackle the hot and sticky weather outside, you want to make sure you feel nice and cool indoors.

Having a working Window Air Conditioner (A/C), helps significantly in this regard. Designed to cool a single room, a window air conditioner is an efficient and surprisingly versatile tool to have in the house.

Depending on the model, a window air conditioner can operate in different modes: cooling, fan-only and heating. The cooling mode takes in room air, cools it and directs it back into the room. Different models feature pre-set cooling levels while others let you set your preferred temperature for the unit to maintain. Fan-only uses less energy and simply circulates and filters the room air. The heating mode allows you to set the desired temperature and the heating system cycles on and off to maintain it.

As with any piece of equipment, there are various factors to consider when making your purchase. The square footage of the room you want to cool should dictate the size of the A/C unit. You will also want to know the conditioner’s BTU (British thermal unit) rating, which indicates the amount of heat it can remove from a room—The higher the number, the greater the cooling power.

Also consider: how much sunlight does a room receive? Is the room always shaded? What is the average number of occupants of the room? These seemingly minor factors will serve you greatly in buying the proper unit.

When you’re installing your A/C unit, don’t be a hero; get help from a neighbor, professional or family member. You don’t want that heavy thing falling on your foot. Also keep in mind that installing the unit in a shaded window increases its efficiency. Make sure a working power outlet is nearby.

Heating - Air conditioning Thermostat with Window.

Heating – Air conditioning Thermostat with Window.

An A/C unit has a number of dynamic features to help guarantee you get the most out of your purchase.

A  programmable timer lets you set a time your unit will turn on and off. Mechanical controls allow you to adjust fan speed and cooling levels. There’s also a sleep setting, which increases the specified temperature over a period of time before returning to the original setting several hours later. This feature reduces the unit’s noise, which should help you binge watch that Netflix show without any distractions. An electronic ionizer helps the unit remove impurities like pollen in the air, remote controls allow you to control the unit without leaving the couch, and filter alerts let you know when the air filter needs cleaning.

Other steps to take to ensure your unit is working at the highest efficiency level include keeping it clear of obstructions outside and inside, reducing the workload of the unit by using appliances such as dishwashers, ranges and dryers during the cool hours of the day, keeping the exterior of the cooling room shaded, and closing window treatments when it’s sunny outside.

Summers are long enough that you want to keep you’re A/C unit in the best possible working condition. To do so, make sure you check and clean the air filter regularly, wipe down the cabinet with a damp cloth and mild detergent, and prepare the unit for storage for that long hibernation during the winter.

If you follow these guidelines – and make sure to read the instruction manual of course – you should feel confident that your home will provide a cool reprieve from the heat waves summer brings.

Payments now accepted at all 14 CNB branches in Horry County

cnb logoOn Monday, the North Conway, Downtown Conway and 4th Avenue (Main Branch) locations of Conway National Bank started accepting Horry Electric bill payments.

“We’re excited to have all fourteen of Conway National Bank’s locations in Horry County accepting payments from our members,” says Jodi Jordan, office manager for Horry Electric.

Conway National Bank has been working with Horry Electric to provide a convenient payment option to members since 2006. “It started with their Aynor branch in 2006,” says Jordan. “Their Red Hill branch was added as an option for members in 2010,” she continues. “In 2010, the Little River branch location was added to the list of branches accepting payments.”

“It’s a popular option for our members,” says Jordan. “We have a lot of members who would rather pay their electric bill in person than drop it in the mail; have it automatically drafted; pay it online or by phone and getting to our Conway and Socastee offices is not always easy.” Credit is applied to the accounts of members making payments in real time.

“We appreciate the willingness of Conway National Bank to make all 14 of their branch locations available to our members,” says Jordan.  Anderson Brothers Bank provides 7 locations for members to make payments and Horry County State Bank has 4 locations on this list of conveniently located pay stations listed on the Bill Payment Options page of HorryElectric.com

June edition of South Carolina Living is available online; due in mailboxes soon

The June 2015 edition of South Carolina Living magazine will be delivered to the mailboxes of members and subscribers mid-month, but it’s available online NOW!june2015horrycover

Horry Electric local highlights include:

  • CEO Column: In case you missed it: quorum met; successful event
  • Horry News: Horry Electric guys rocked at Lineworker Rodeo; HEC Youth Tour delegation 2015; Making additions to your home? Include us in your plans!
  •  WIRE, Horry knitters help displaced seniors get cozy again
  • A fresh crop of Young Farmers
  • Co-op Connections: Skip on over to Skip’s Grill and chill out!

 

Other highlights from the magazine include: