Heat Pump 101

What does it mean when that colored light (auxiliary light) on my thermostat comes on?
It means that your auxiliary heat strips are running. This normally occurs if the outside temperature is below 32 degrees or if your heat pump is not functioning properly.

Does it cost me more when that colored light (auxiliary light) is illuminated on my thermostat?
Yes it does. For example, if your heat pump costs you 30 cents per hour when it is operating under normal conditions, it will likely cost you $1.30 per hour when the heat strips are running.

What does it mean when I see frost or ice on my outdoor equipment?
Under normal operational conditions, frost or ice will appear from time to time. All heat pumps must go through a defrost cycle periodically. However, if frost or ice remains on the unit for more than 24 hours you should contact an HVAC dealer.

More questions about heat pumps?
Click here to download a pdf of more commonly asked questions.

Phantom Power: How Much “Standby” Energy Do you Use?

Phantom, or standby, power refers to electricity consumed by electronic appliances when they are turned off or in a standby mode. Almost all modern appliances and electronics consume electricity when they are not in use. The dead giveaways are those little green, red, blue, or amber lights that glow in a dark room at night, or the digital clocks on most appliances today. Less obvious are such items as cell phones and power tool chargers that have transformers (the little black cubes) on their power cords. Also, any device with instant-on capacity, such as a television or personal computer, is never truly off unless unplugged from the wall. One way to stop these power siphons is to unplug the devices. If that isn’t convenient, use a power strip to plug in multiple items, like those at your computer workstation. When you are prepared to shut down, just turn off the power strip. Below is a list of various electronic devices and the standby kilowatt hours they use each year.

phantom load

Be Prepared for Winter Outages

When the weather outside is frightful…be prepared for winter outages. Winter weather can bring possible snow and hazardous conditions that cause power outages. At Jones-Onslow, protecting our customers and employees is a top priority.

When power goes out, JOEMC recommends the following steps to protect your property and family:

  • If you use a portable generator, use a transfer switch to isolate it from our power lines. Generators that are not isolated can feed back into the utility company’s electrical system and possibly electrocute anyone coming into contact with those wires.
  • Be extra careful when using kerosene heaters and fireplaces. Never use outdoor grills or gas-powered generators inside or in attached garages. This could lead to carbon monoxide poisoning which can be deadly. In winter, try to keep exterior doors openings to a minimum.
  • Limit refrigerator and freezer door openings to prevent food spoilage.
  • Turn off large appliances that come on automatically as well as appliances you were using when the outage occurred. Disconnect sensitive electronics to avoid damage from surges or lightning strikes.
  • When power comes back on, give the electrical system a chance to stabilize – turn appliances back on gradually.
  • Winter storms can bring down trees and power lines. Please remember to stay away from any downed utility lines and call JOEMC at (910) 353-1940 or (800) 682-1515 to report them immediately. Do not touch any object that is in contact with downed power lines – especially objects that can transmit electricity such as water and metal. Never drive your car over power lines. If a power line falls over your car while you are driving, stay inside your car until you receive appropriate help.

In the event of a major outage, rest assured that our crews will be working around the clock to restore power. Keep the following in mind if you see our crews working:

  • Because of the location of many power lines, utility employees frequently work along roadsides. The North Carolina “Move Over” Law requires motorists approaching or passing any public service or utility vehicle (that is operating a warning signal) to reduce speed and move their vehicles into a nearby lane if possible. In extreme weather, it’s better to stay at home and keep off the road unless it’s an absolute emergency.
  • If you see crews working in your area, please don’t go near them. They are working in dangerous surroundings. Your distraction can present a hazard and slow their progress.

To keep up with the outages that occur on the JOEMC system, go to www.joemc.com and look for the outage map icon in the “Your Energy Account” Section (located in the upper right of the homepage). The map has around-the-clock access and is updated in real time showing current outages and the number of customers affected.



Ways to Save on Your Winter Energy Bills

We use energy every day, whether we’re at home, school, work, or play. Unfortunately, much of the energy we use is wasted due to inefficiency. Using energy wisely means we conserve energy. There are a number of simple steps we can take to conserve energy and help reduce monthly power bills. Here are a few ways to use energy more wisely this winter:

  • Turn down your thermostat to the lowest comfortable setting.
  • Use blankets or quilts for sleeping comfort and to allow a lower nighttime thermostat setting.
  • Turn down the temperature of your water heater to the warm setting (around 120o F). You’ll not only save energy, you’ll avoid scalding your hands. Be sure to turn off power to the unit before making adjustments.
  • Only use dishwashers, washing machines and dryers when you have a full load. Use energy-savings settings on appliances where available.
  • Open window shades to take advantage of the heat from natural sunlight. Prune trees or shrubs that block the sun from your home during the winter.
  • Survey your incandescent lights for opportunities to replace them with compact fluorescents or LEDs. These lamps can save three-quarters or more of the electricity used by incandescents. The best targets are 60 to 100-watt bulbs used several hours or more a day.
  • Properly seal the largest air leaks in your house—the ones that whistle on windy days or feel drafty. The worst culprits are usually not windows and doors, but cut-throughs for pipes (plumbing penetrations), gaps around chimneys, unfinished spaces behind cupboard and closets, etc.


Attention High School Juniors…Want to Visit our Nation’s Capital?

R e a d y t o spend a week this June in the nation’s capital with kids from across North Carolina and the United States?

Each year, JOEMC sponsors four rising high school seniors on the Rural Electric Youth Tour. Why? Because the program helps young people learn about cooperatives and the co-op way of doing business. It also allows the youth to grow in ways we hope will benefit our community. Many of our past youth tour participants have used their experiences to provide leadership when returning to their schools and communities.

Jones-Onslow’s Youth Tour representatives will be chosen through an essay contest with a pre-selected topic. A representative from Jones- Onslow will be visiting local high schools during the month of February to promote the contest.

You can also call the cooperative office at (910) 353-1940 or (800) 682-1515 and speak with the cooperative’s youth tour coordinator, Paula Redick.


Plans Now Underway for 2015 Annual Meeting…

Plans are now being made for Jones-Onslow’s 2015 Annual Meeting of Members.

This year, the event will be held on Friday, March 27, at the American Legion Building at the Onslow County Fairgrounds in Jacksonville. Registration will begin at 5:30 p.m. and the business meeting will get started at 7 p.m.

The Annual Meeting is an event for the entire family. It provides the opportunity for customers to learn firsthand about the cooperative, the various services offered, and Jones- Onslow’s role in making our community a better place to live, work, and raise a family.

Special entertainment will be provided throughout the evening and, as has become a tradition, drawings will be held during the event with hundreds of dollars worth of gifts to be given away.

So make plans for you and your family to attend this year’s Annual Meeting of Members.


Stay Plugged In

Going out of the country for an extended period of time? Storm in our area and you want to see an up-to-date outage map? Wondering if we service the new location where you're moving? Maybe you want to set up an automatic draft or just manage your account? Our resource page has all the information you need at the click of button.