1. Keep heat and sunlight out of indoor rooms during the day by closing windows and window coverings.
  2. Open those same windows overnight to let cool, nighttime air into your house.
  3. If some windows are naturally shaded by trees or shadows, open them during the day. Opening more than one can create a cross-breeze that will quickly cool off the house.
  4. Switch the direction of ceiling fan blades. In the summer, blades should spin counterclockwise to push cool air down into the room. Turn the fans off when nobody is in the room.
  5. Add an energy-efficient portable dehumidifier to a room that tends to be too warm. Humidity can make a hot room feel even hotter. Removing the humidity makes the room feel cooler.
  6. Use the microwave or outdoor grill to cook dinner. Heat-producing indoor appliances like the stove, dishwasher and clothes dryer lose a lot of heat to the air in the room. Wait until after dark when it’s cooler outdoors to turn on appliances.

It’s never too early to teach your children about the potential dangers of electricity and how to live and play safely around it indoors and outdoors. 

Here’s a suggested list of non-negotiable rules to share with your little ones: 

  • Keep fingers and other objects out of wall outlets. 
  • Dry your hands before touching or plugging in anything electrical. 
  • Plug only one device into each socket in an electrical outlet.  
  • Remove plugs from outlets by gripping the plug, not the cord. 
  • Don’t touch or climb on any outdoor electrical equipment in your own yard or elsewhere. 
  • Fly kites and drones far away from power lines. 
  • Stay away from trees that have electrical lines running through or near them. 
  • Never touch a power line that has fallen to the ground. 
  • Ask for help understanding safety instructions when playing with new electrical toys or using new electronics. 

If the air inside your house is dusty, it might mean your air conditioning ducts have sprung leaks.  

If you’re changing your air conditioner filter regularly, it will trap dust and pollutants that get into the indoor air so they never make their way into the duct system—or back into the air.  

But if the ducts have tiny holes or cracks or joints that aren’t well-sealed, dust can bypass the filter and sneak directly into the ducts. Once dust gets in there, the duct system will blow it all over the house. 

Dust in the ducts and in the air can raise the temperature in your home and force your air conditioning system to operate inefficiently and struggle to keep your home cool during the summer. 

It’s well worth it to have the ducts of your air conditioning system sealed at the joints. 

Not only will it prevent dust from flying around your house, it could reduce your air conditioning bills this summer. The average house loses about 20 percent of its conditioned air through ducts that are improperly installed or are leaking at the joints. 

A house with “clean” air also is less likely to trigger dust and pollen allergies to family members while they’re indoors. 

May is National Electrical Safety Month and a good time to sweep your home for electrical safety risks. Here are five that many homeowners overlook: 

  1. Unplug and store all extension cords. They are not designed for prolonged use. If yours are hiding under carpets, they could overheat or get stepped on and damaged, and that can start a fire.
  2. If you have more than one power strip plugged into an outlet, chances are good that you are overloading your circuits, especially if you live in an older house. If you don’t have enough outlets, ask a licensed electrician to add more.
  3. Kitchen countertop appliances should be plugged into three-prong, GFCI receptacles. Any electric appliance that you use near water could shock or even electrocute someone.
  4. Change the batteries in your smoke alarms twice a year and test them monthly to make sure they’re operating properly.
  5. Did you know table lamps and overhead light fixtures are designed for specific light bulb wattages? Check yours and change any lightbulb whose wattage exceeds the fixture’s capacity.

Washington, D.C. – A group of electric cooperative leaders from Tennessee traveled to Washington, D.C., this week to meet with lawmakers and advocate for policies that could impact co-ops communities. The delegation was made up of board members, executives, and other leaders from electric cooperatives across Tennessee.

The primary goal of the meetings was to raise awareness among lawmakers about the unique needs and challenges faced by rural communities in Tennessee. Specifically, electric cooperative leaders discussed policies related to energy, infrastructure and broadband access, which are critical to the economic development and well-being of Tennessee’s rural and suburban communities.

“Bringing electric co-op leaders together with lawmakers in our nation’s capital is critical to ensuring the reliable, affordable and sustainable energy and infrastructure that our communities depend on,” said Keith Carnahan, President and CEO of Meriwether Lewis Electric Cooperative and Chairman of the TECA board of trustees. “This is an opportunity for us to advocate for policies that support the needs of rural and suburban Tennessee.”

While in D.C., co-op leaders met with Sens. Marsha Blackburn and Bill Hagerty as well as Reps. Burchett, Desjarlais, Fleischmann, Harshbarger, Kustoff and Rose.

“We are proud to support electric cooperatives as they advocate for the needs of rural Tennessee,” said Mike Knotts, CEO of the Tennessee Electric Cooperative Association. “These discussions are an opportunity to showcase the important work of co-ops and ensure that policymakers in Washington understand the vital roles they play in their communities.”

NASHVILLE – In February, Gov. Lee and his administration proposed a $50 million budget allocation to assist with growing, recruiting and attracting nuclear companies to Tennessee.

Tennessee’s electric cooperatives support the Nuclear Energy Supply Chain Investment Fund as proposed in the administration’s budget. For nearly a century, electric cooperatives have distributed affordable energy with high reliability to rural and suburban areas of Tennessee. The Lee Administration’s plan will only help cooperatives continue that important mission, and TECA commends their work to prioritize innovation in the area of reliable, affordable and safe energy production.

“Tennessee’s electric cooperatives share Gov. Lee’s vision that Tennessee should lead the nation in nuclear energy production and related industries,” said Mike Knotts, CEO of the Tennessee Electric Cooperative Association. “Since 1933, the Tennessee Valley Authority has been a global leader in energy innovation, and we believe that standard of excellence will continue. This proposed investment of $50 million will help transform Tennessee’s nuclear sector.”

Electric cooperatives encourage the General Assembly to support this provision within Gov. Lee’s proposed budget.

NASHVILLE – Today Tennessee becomes the first state in the nation to formally adopt a standing Lineworker Appreciation Day. The second Monday of April of each year has been codified into state law as a day to show appreciation for the state’s 3,500 electric lineworkers.

Dozens of lineworkers from across the state were at the State Capitol today to be honored by members of the Tennessee General Assembly. They were welcomed by Sen. Paul Bailey and Rep. Clark Boyd, sponsors of the legislation creating the day of appreciation, along with Secretary of State Tre Hargett in a special ceremony in the Old Supreme Court Chambers. Later they were recognized from the floor of the House of Representatives.

“You should be honored and appreciated for what you do on a daily basis,” said Sen. Paul Bailey.

“Today we’re being recognized at the State Capitol for what we do, and I consider that to be a great honor,” said Greg Allison, a lineworker for Middle Tennessee Electric. “I love this career, I love the management that I have had in this industry, and I am very appreciative for what it has given me and my family.”

Electric lineworker is consistently ranked among the most dangerous jobs in America. “Safe and reliable energy is a critical part of Tennessee’s economy,” says Mike Knotts, CEO of the Tennessee Electric Cooperative Association, “and lineworkers are the guardians of that infrastructure. Their tireless efforts, often in the face of extreme weather conditions and challenging environments, keep the lights on and our homes, businesses, and communities powered. We owe a debt of gratitude to these brave men and women who work so hard to ensure our safety and well-being.”

It won’t be too long until you can open the windows and start enjoying fresh air and warm weather. Is your house ready?

Here are five items to add to your springtime to-do list that might help your home feel more comfortable and cared for before it gets hot:

  1. Call a qualified service technician to inspect and maintain your air conditioning system. Paying $100 or so now could prevent a huge expense this summer if your system breaks down on a hot day and you have to have it repaired or replaced in a hurry. Maintenance goes a long way toward preventing emergencies and can prolong the life of your equipment.
  2. While you’re outdoors planting and pruning, trim all of the bushes and pull all of the weeds near your air conditioner’s outside condenser unit. Remove any fallen tree limbs that landed on it, brush off leaves that have collected on or around it, and pick up trash that found its way there as it sat unused all winter. Anything that touches the unit and prevents air from circulating around it will make it perform inefficiently.
  3. While you’ve got your shovel and spade out, consider planting some shade trees on the sunny side of your house. As they grow, they will filter the sunrays that can beat so fiercely on your windows in the summer and make your air conditioner work harder.
  4. Speaking of windows, if your house still has single-pane versions, this is a good time to replace them with double-pane models. Single-pane windows are energy inefficient and can drive your air conditioning bills through the roof. You could save several hundred dollars on cooling and heating bills every year if you replace your drafty, old windows.
  5. Clean your windows, inside and out. Newer models are simple to clean because you can tilt them toward the inside of the house so you can reach both sides. Clean windows let more sunlight into your house, which means you won’t have to turn on as many lights.

Condensation, “fog” or frost on your home’s windows is a sure sign that they’re too inefficient to keep cold air out in the winter and in during the summer.

Moisture in the air condenses when it touches a cold surface, causing the glass to “sweat” like a cold glass of iced tea on a hot day. Condensation can form on the glass and even pool on the window sill. And like any excess moisture, it can eventually lead to mold and mildew. It also can damage your windows over time.

One solution: Replace drafty, single-pane windows with double-pane versions that are more energy efficient. If that’s not an option right now, install storm windows to add an extra layer of glass, and try taming the humidity inside your home. Here’s how:

  1. Install ventilating fans in every bathroom, and turn them on before every shower. Let the fan run until the “fog” clears out of the bathroom, but no longer. Overuse of exhaust fans can send your home’s comfy, air-conditioned or heated air right out of the house.
  2. Use the hood fan over your stove when you cook. Cooking sends moisture into the air—along with lingering odors. The fan will rid your home of those smells and humidity. Again, run the fan just long enough to clear the air.
  3. Vent your clothes dryer to the outside. Check the duct for leaks, especially at the point where it’s attached to the dryer, and for obstructions that can prevent hot dryer air from escaping to the outdoors.
  4. If you run humidifiers inside the home, don’t overdo it. It’s possible to add too much moisture to indoor air.

Mike Knotts
CEO, Tennessee Electric Cooperative Association

If you ask elementary school-aged children to write about their heroes, you might get quite an amusing grouping of subjects — cartoon superheroes, fictional characters, sports stars and other larger-than-life characters. A heartwarming hand-drawn picture of a student’s mom or dad might even make its way onto the page.

Give that same assignment to a young adult, and the subjects will likely become much more real-life. Soldiers. Firefighters. Police. Doctors and nurses. People dedicated to serving others and willing to accept some degree of risk.

This dedication can cost them. Sacrifices like time away from loved ones, physical discomfort, injuries and sometimes even risk of death are everyday life for these special people. And while these heroes rarely ever seek recognition, we hold parades and ceremonies for them on special days.

We do these things because the gratitude is earned. As I have grown older, though, I have recognized that there are heroes among us who don’t receive that kind of appreciation. And most who fit this category don’t seek appreciation for their heroics. And to me, that makes the recognition all the more deserved.

I am thinking of people like Rick Courtner and Cody Bryant. These amazing employees of Mountain Electric Cooperative, along with several of their colleagues, had no idea that their normal day at work in February 2020 would find them at the dramatic scene of a motorist trapped in ferocious floodwaters. Local EMS had no way to make a swift water rescue. All that prevented tragedy that day were the selfless actions of people who cared. But as the news report documenting the event concluded, these heroes “see their actions as so unremarkable, they don’t remember what happened afterward … they just packed up the truck.”

Read the story here. “Unremarkable” is the last thing I believe you will say after you see the video. “Heroic” is the word that comes to mind.

But this was nothing unusual for them. Rick and Cody and thousands of their colleagues across our state are already unsung heroes. They are electric lineworkers. An average day for a lineworker — one of the world’s most dangerous jobs — can include all of the common threads that make us show so much respect for a soldier or a firefighter or other easily recognizable hero. Keeping electricity flowing is done through hard work, long hours and dangerous conditions. And almost everything we do in modern society depends upon their efforts.

I am happy to report that the Tennessee General Assembly has recognized the important roles lineworkers play in daily life. The second Monday in April of each year — April 10 this year — is now designated as Tennessee Lineworker Appreciation Day to honor and recognize lineworkers for their estimable work in providing for the safety and well-being of this state’s citizens. I am grateful to Sen. Paul Bailey of Sparta and Rep. Clark Boyd of Lebanon for sponsoring the legislation and to each and every member of the General Assembly, which unanimously passed it.

While most of the lineworkers I know don’t seek recognition, I hope you will join me in providing it to them anyway. They deserve it.