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Home Energy Makeover

Slimmed-Down Energy Hog

The Randolph family, Wood County Electric Cooperative

Five years ago, John and Cindy Randolph moved with their two daughters, Lacie, 12, and Alyse, 11, from Plano to the country to provide a higher quality of life for their family.

They settled in Grand Saline in Northeast Texas, where they raise goats, an undertaking Cindy calls “our new family hobby.” The only issue was a hog problem—not an actual swine, mind you—but a real problem just the same: Their nearly 40-year-old, 1,900-square-foot home was an energy hog.

The Randolphs already worked at conserving energy. They kept the thermostat at 78 degrees in the summer. They installed a clothesline to dry clothes instead of using a dryer. But they consistently received electric bills averaging $300 to $400 or more a month, about $150 to $200 more than at their previous, larger home.

To better monitor their energy use, they signed up for Wood County’s SmartPower system. They prepay for electricity by buying credits on a SmartCard, which they insert into a small, digital SmartPower unit that keeps a running tab of power usage 24 hours a day. That helped, but they really needed an energy overhaul. Home Energy Makeover energy auditors found air leakages the equivalent of having a 13-by-13-inch hole to the outside.

Less than a week after the Randolphs received a new Lennox heating and air-conditioning system, John said the SmartPower readout showed electricity expenses of about $7 a day compared to an earlier average of $10 to $15 daily. Once the insulation is installed and all the leaks have been sealed, they expect to save even more.

“We’re cutting close to $5 a day on average, just with a new A/C system. We should be able to cut $100 to $120 off our [monthly] bill,” John said. “It’s absolutely been an eye-opening experience for us.”

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