Five Tips For Heat Pump Maintenance

Like all heating and cooling systems, proper maintenance remains the key to efficient heat pump operation. The difference in electric use between a well-maintained heat pump and a severely neglected one can range from 10 percent to 25 percent! Here are a few heat pump maintenance items you should do in the early spring to get your heat pump ready for summer:

  1. Switching your thermostat from HEAT to COOL – There should be a switch on your thermostat with three settings: HEAT, COOL, and OFF. Before you do anything, turn the switch to COOL mode so you don’t forget to do it later!
  2. Make sure your fan is set to AUTO – In addition to the HEAT, COOL, OFF switch on your thermostat, there should be another one labeled ON and AUTO. Make sure this one is set to AUTO. This will prevent the fan from running constantly, and keep your home as comfortable and as efficient as possible.
  3. Check your air filters – Dirty filters can wreak havoc on your heat pump, reducing its efficiency and potentially causing a complete breakdown. Remember to change your air filters every month to three months, depending on how often you run your heat pump.
  4. Set the right temperature during the summer, every degree higher you set your thermostat can save you as much as 3-5 percent on your electric bills! Setting your thermostat as high as is comfortable for you will help you save money and can increase the life of your heat pump. For best results, install a programmable thermostat to optimize cooling and efficiency!
  5. Schedule heat pump maintenance – If you want your heat pump to run as efficiently and effectively as possible all year long, the best thing to do is have your system inspected before the start of the cooling season and again before the heating season. These preventative inspections give HVAC experts a chance to ensure that your system is running properly and fix any minor issues before they become major problems!

May Is National Electrical Safety Month

This month, make electrical safety a priority. Help your family avoid dangerous situations by taking a few easy precautions, including:

  • Make sure to turn off AND unplug. Appliances, tools and other devices are still connected to electricity when they are plugged in. Turn off, then unplug all portable electric devices when you’re finished using them. When unplugging, make sure to hold the plug, not the cord. Also, never touch electrical appliances with wet hands or use them near sinks, tubs, toilets or showers.
  • Be smart about outlets. Don’t over-load power outlets, power strips or surge protectors, and use bulbs that match the wattage indicated on light fixtures. Ground Fault Circuit Interrupt-er (GFCI) outlets should be used in any area where water and electricity may come into contact, including kitchens, bathrooms, garages and outdoors, and should be tested monthly to ensure they are working properly.
  • Use cords properly. Extension cords should only be used temporarily. Inspect electrical cords often for broken connectors or fraying. Throw away worn cords to eliminate the possibility of shock, short circuit or fire. Don’t attempt to repair damaged cords with tape.
  • Keep a safe distance. Never go near a power line. If you encounter a downed line, leave the area immediately and notify your cooperative, and avoid driving over downed lines. Never place ladders, poles or other items near power lines, and don’t fly kites or drones near lines or substations. Teach children not to put their fingers in electrical out-lets, use child-proof outlet covers and keep appliances and cords away from children.

JOEMC is dedicated to educating people of all ages about electrical safe-ty and providing you with electricity that is as safe and reliable as possible. For more safety tips and information, visit (you’ll find the Safety Section under Energy Center) or follow us on Face-book, Instagram or Twitter.

From The CEO: Safety Starts With You

Electricity plays many roles in our lives, from powering baby monitors, cell phones and lighting, to running HVAC systems and appliances. No wonder we get so comfortable with its instant availability that when we flip a switch, we expect most systems or devices to do the job.

GROUND FAULT CIRCUIT INTERRUPTERS: Outdoor outlets or those in potentially damp locations in a kitchen, bathroom or laundry room often include GFCI features. They are designed to sense abnormal current flows, breaking the circuit to prevent potential electric shocks from devices plugged into the outlets. The average GFCI outlet is designed to last about ten years, but in areas prone to electrical storms or power surges they can wear out in five years or less. Check them frequently by pressing the red test button. Make sure you hit the black reset button when done. Contact a licensed electrician to replace any failing GFCI outlets.

LOOSE OR DAMAGED OUTLETS OR SWITCHES: Unstable electrical outlets or wall switches with signs of heat damage or discoloration can offer early warnings of potential shock or electrical fire hazards. Loose connections can allow electrical current arcing. If you see these warning signs, it may be time to contact an electrician.

SURGE PROTECTORS: Power strips with surge protectors can help safeguard expensive equipment like televisions, home entertainment systems and computer components from power spikes. After a surge or spike, however, you could be left with a basic pow-er strip. Some surge protectors include indicator lights that flicker to warn you when they’ve stopped working as designed, but many do not. If your electrical system takes a major hit, or if you don’t remember when you bought your surge protector, replacement may be the best option.

EXTENSION CORDS: Remember, extension cords are designed for temporary, occasional or periodic use. If an extension cord gets noticeably warm when in use, it could be undersized for the intend-ed use. If it shows any signs of frayed, cracked or heat-damaged insulation, it should be replaced. If the grounding prong is missing, crimped or loose, a grounded cord will not provide the protection designed into its performance. And always make sure that extension cords used in outdoor or potentially damp locations are rated for exterior use.

Electricity is a necessity for modern living, and your cooperative is committed to providing safe, reliable, and affordable power to our members. We hope you’ll keep these electrical safety tips in mind so you can note any potential hazards before damage occurs.

Area Students Headed To Washington This Summer

Four high school juniors— Evelyn Arnold, Andrew Shugart, Julian Silvia, and Evelyn Wade—will be heading to our nation’s capital this summer for a visit. They will represent JOEMC at this year’s Rural Electric Youth Tour in Washington, D.C.

The week-long visit in June, sponsored by Jones-Onslow and other North Carolina co-ops, lets our future leaders learn more about government and the cooperative-way of doing business. Students were selected through an essay contest available at public high schools in our area. An independent panel of judges selected the winners.

Evelyn Arnold, who attends Southwest High School, is the daughter of Christie and Richard Arnold. An analytical thinker who believes one of her strengths is seeing both sides of an argument, Evelyn also enjoys reading and writing. She is a member of the academic derby team and participates in the AVID Program.

Andrew is the son of Jennifer and Jonathan Shugart. He attends Jacksonville High School and is a member of the National Honor Society and Spanish Honor Society. Andrew is currently vice president of the junior class, a student ambassador, and participated in the Sturgeon City Science Leadership Program. He is also a member of the Interact Club and the varsity soccer, tennis and swim teams.

Julian is the son of Frances Castro and Heriberto Silvia Perce. He attends Northside High School and is a member of the National Honor Society, Air Force JROTC, and the drill team. Julian is proud of his perfect attendance record and making the honor roll and principal’s list. In his spare time, he loves to give back by volunteering and performing community service.

Evelyn Wade, the daughter of Katherine and Derrick Wade, attends Swansboro High School. She is a member of the National Technical Honor Society, SAVE (Students Against Violence Everywhere), President’s Club, First Robotics Club, and chorus. Evelyn’s interests include theater arts and forensic sciences.

How To Clean Refrigerator Coils

Your refrigerator is one of the largest, most-used appliances in your home. It requires only minimal maintenance – just simple cleaning of the condenser coils, which disperse heat. If the coils are covered with dust, gunk or pet hair, they cannot diffuse the heat properly and will not run efficiently. A bigger problem can result if the compressor burns out from having to run constantly because of the grimy coating. This can be an expensive problem. The bottom line? A minor investment in time once a year can save you cold cash down the line.

Materials you will need: Vacuum cleaner with a hose and a damp cloth

Locate the refrigerator’s coil, a grid-like structure, or fan that will likely have a covering or grate protecting it. The coil is usually concealed behind the front toe kick or in the back. Some newer models have internal coils, so if you don’t find them in the front or back, this may be the case with your fridge.

If the coil is in the back, slide the refrigerator away from the wall, removing the plug from the electrical outlet when possible. You may also need to disconnect the line to the water dispenser or icemaker to allow enough room to work.

Gently vacuum and clean the coil. Using the brush or crevice attachment, carefully vacuum the dust and dirt wherever you see it. If you have pulled the fridge out, vacuum and wipe down the sides and back of the fridge and the floor.

Once the floor is dry, plug in the refrigerator and rearrange the power cord and supply lines so they don’t get a kink or stuck under the weight of the refrigerator. Slide the refrigerator back into place. Be sure to replace the toe kick panel if this was removed.

Power of Community: Johnny Foy

Johnny Foy has hung up his hard hat and handed over his forklift keys as he’s retired with 45 years of service at the co-op.

Foy started at JOEMC on April 23, 1974, as a warehouse helper. Five years later he was promoted to warehouseman and in 1989 was promoted to warehouse foreman and moved to the Sneads Ferry District Office.

After moving back to the headquarter office in Jacksonville and running the warehouse (as well as handling the duties of purchasing materials), Johnny settled back at the district office in the late 1990s until his retirement.

From requesting, ordering, and unloading materials to the general organization of the warehouse, Foy has loved his job during his 45 years.

“I made sure the crews had the materials they needed when heading out to job sites each and every morning,” Johnny said. “But, one of the most important parts of my job was making sure the facilities were clean and kept in a safe, non-hazardous manner.”

“I’ve had some great years at the co-op,” Foy continued, “I’ve had some good bosses and made some really good friends, some that I consider family, but I’m ready to retire and do other things.”

So what’s Johnny’s retirement plans? “I’m going to spend time with Roxie (spouse) and my kids and grandkids,” Johnny said. “And I’m planning to do a little traveling, hunting, and LOTS of fishing!”

We want to thank Johnny for his service to the co-op, its members, and the community. His commitment over the last 45 years epitomizes JOEMC employees and their Power of Community.

Spring is Here… Time for Home Renovation Projects

The ground is thawing and people are eager to take on outdoor projects that will give their home a fresh face for spring. Whether building a new deck or just planting shrubbery, follow a few safety tips to make sure your spring is a happy one.

  • Keep an eye on sharp blades and power cords: Keep children away from lawnmowers and other lawn equipment with sharp blades or fast-moving parts. Additionally, safety guards should never be removed from such equipment and power cords should be kept out of the working path to eliminate the chance of cutting a cord and causing electrical shock
  • Digging in the ground: Utility lines often run underground across properties at varying depths. It’s important to get your utility lines marked before every digging job, even for small projects like planting shrubs, because accidentally striking one of these lines could be deadly. Call 811 at least three business days before starting your project to have the utility lines marked for free. Don’t gamble with your safety.
  • Staying clear of power lines: Whether you’re cleaning the gutters, trimming a tree or doing some painting, always look for overhead wires. Be sure to maintain at least a 10-foot distance from any overhead power lines and only use a fiberglass ladder. If a ladder falls on a power line, do not try to move it. Call JOEMC!

Power of Community: David Parker

Meet David Parker, Journeyman Lineman at JOEMC. In a couple of months, when Junes arrives, David will have been helping keep the lights on at homes and businesses in our community for 27 years. During that time, he’s seen hurricanes, ice storms, and other bad weather situations affect the co-op and its members, but you can always find him with a smile on his face, ready to go to work and get the job done.

David’s commitment to his community doesn’t stop when he goes home—no…it’s just beginning.

He’s been a proud member of the Verona Volunteer Fire Department since 1987 where he responds to emergencies in his community including fires and car accidents. David also serves in a leadership role at the department, as he is one of the stations five captains…a responsibility that David says he “proud to do so.”

But serving his neighbors doesn’t stop there. David is also a deacon at Folkstone Original Free Will Baptist Church where he assists with the children’s bus ministry and serves breakfast to the kids when they arrive on Sunday morning.

“You have two hands. One to help yourself, the second to help others.”
Audrey Hepburn


To learn more about our other employees who exhibit the Power of Community, click here.

Help Your Family Have A Fun & Safe Spring…

When you’re finished working and can get away with to explore the great outdoors the spring and summer, help your family have a great time by keeping these safety tips in mind:

  • Never fly a drone or kite near electric power lines. Try to stay in the areas that are clear or open such as fields or parks. If you are flying something around power lines and it gets tangled, do not try to remove…leave it there!
  • Never climb trees near power lines. Even if the power lines are not touching the tree they could touch when more weight is added to the branch.
  • Do not climb electric poles and don’t play on or around pad-mounted electrical equipment.
  • Never go into an electrical substation for any reason. Electrical substations contain high-voltage equipment which can be deadly. Never rescue a pet or retrieve a ball or toy that goes inside. Call JOEMC instead.
  • Never make an attempt to throw anything over or towards power lines; and
  • If you see a fallen power line, do not approach it—stay away from it and call JOEMC.

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.