As scores of people still are trying to fix their roofs after last month's massive hailstorm, I just found out I need a hole in my roof.
Not a hole, per se, just a vent in the roof to allow hot air to escape.
That's what I learned Tuesday from my home energy audit from Oklahoma Gas and Electric Co. contractor Greg Irvin.
Irvin, who works for CLEAResult Consulting, spent about 30 minutes checking my house inside and out to gauge its energy efficiency.
He walked around the outside of the house, looked at every window, braved the sweltering attic and checked to see if we were using energy-efficient lightbulbs before logging his observations.
Irvin explained the results of his audit with a simple five-page report.
It showed that my family's energy use was about 23 percent higher than average for a comparably sized home during the summer, but Irvin said that doesn't take into account last year's record hot summer.
He said we're actually pretty close to average on our bills when that is taken into account.
Irvin said cutting electricity consumption can be as simple as unplugging chargers for electronics such as cellphones when they're not in use.
At my house, the biggest priority in reducing our power use is the installation of more attic ventilation. Irvin said a ridge vent or an oscillating attic fan would work.
He also suggested putting foam gaskets between the switch plates and outlet covers to stop air from leaking, sealing some small cracks around windows and switching to compact fluorescent lamps instead of standard lightbulbs.
Lighting can account for about 20 percent of a home's electricity use, and energy efficient bulbs use up to 75 percent less energy and last as much as 10 times longer.
The $50 energy audit came with an energy efficiency kit. It also includes an air conditioner tuneup, which Irvin said is the only thing I need to get my house ready for summer.
OG&E estimates the audit is a $350 value.
“At OG&E, we supply the power, but it's how you apply the power that counts,” CEO Pete Delaney wrote in a letter that accompanied the audit kit. “When customers make energy efficiency improvements, it helps OG&E meet its 2020 vision to delay construction of costly fossil-fueled power plants until 2020, if at all.
“That's because building power plants means higher bills for customers and creates more challenges for the environment.”
OG&E's smart grid program gives customers such as me tools and information to make informed choices about our energy use.
I'm looking forward to figuring out how I can shave some money off my electric bill.
I'm sure my wife can find something else to spend it on.