SmartHub Saves: Sara Bennett, Gibbon
This series focuses on Dawson PPD customers who use SmartHub to manage their electrical use. SmartHub is a free web and mobile app available to all Dawson PPD customers. To sign up, call Dawson PPD at 308-324-2386 or visit DawsonPower.com under the payments tab.
When were you introduced to SmartHub?
We had moved into our new home in April 2018. This house had a bigger footprint than our previous home (their Gibbon home is about 2,000 square feet), so I knew that our energy bill would be higher.
That November, I noticed the electric bill shot up between October and November by $115 – and it wasn’t even the coldest part of the year. We averaged between $125-$150 since April, and I knew something wasn’t right. In December, it was $310 and in January it was $492.
We first contacted the HVAC technician to look at our heat pump. We haven’t owned a heat pump until then. The technician said we needed new freon, but it was too cold to do it. So they moved our heat to emergency heat. That’s when the bill got really high in January.
I also called Dawson PPD to see if the meter was working correctly. They came on February 12 and conducted a free home energy audit, and I learned a lot about energy efficiency and tracking our energy use through SmartHub. I had heard of SmartHub before, but I didn’t realize all it could do until they showed me.
What did you learn from the home energy audit?
It was informative. They took thermal images of the home to show where cold air was coming in. We learned that you should not use your heat pump in emergency heat mode unless you don’t have any other option and that was a big cause for our bill to go up.
They found that we needed to add insulation in the attic and crawlspace, and to add vents in the crawlspace to help heat it and keep the house comfortable. There was air escaping behind the trim of the windows.
We have two fireplaces, and in old homes we learned that they are only 40 percent efficient. They recommended we use a stove insert to minimize the footprint of the fireplace and keep the heat in.
What do you use SmartHub for?
We use it to track our current usage and see where our spikes in energy use are. There are no more surprises with our bill.
The same week we did our energy audit, we started making changes to our home. When you’re spending that much money, you want to quickly find ways to stop the bleeding and not waste.
We added insulation and vents in the crawl space and filled the gaps around the windows to give them a better seal. We also added the stove insert in the fireplaces, and the HVAC technician was able to replace the freon in the heat pump.
That next month, we saw our bill go down $70 – and it was even colder outside. We were able to track that with SmartHub.
Did you receive any incentives for your energy efficient upgrades?
We received the EnergyWise tune up rebate and the smart thermostat rebate.
Between our smart thermostat and SmartHub, there are no more surprises.