Houston – Feb. 11, 2021 – Texans will be experiencing extreme cold temperatures in the coming days. Safety is CenterPoint Energy’s number-one priority, and the company is preparing for the upcoming weather conditions.
CenterPoint Energy is offering these tips to ensure a safe and warm home:
– *Make sure your heating system is working correctly.* Malfunctioning home heating equipment can cause a fire or carbon monoxide poisoning. Check that snow or ice doesn’t block outside furnace vents. Keep your furnace filter clean for safe, efficient operation.
– *Use space heaters safely.* Use a space heater with an automatic shut-off, and keep children, pets, and all items at least three feet away. A space heater that uses gas, propane, or wood should vent to the outside. Never use stoves and ovens for space heating.
– *Check your carbon monoxide (CO) and smoke alarms.* These devices are essential to warn you of a fire or dangerous malfunction with a furnace, water heater, fireplace, or stove. Test your alarms monthly and change batteries every year.
– *Immediately report a suspected gas leak.* If you smell the “rotten egg” odor of natural gas, immediately leave on foot, go to a safe location and call both 911 and CenterPoint Energy at 888-876-5786. Don’t use electric switches, phones (including cell phones), drive, or start a car, or do anything that could cause a spark.
Cold temperatures also mean increased energy usage. CenterPoint Energy recommends the following tips for more efficient heating:
*Furnace:* A furnace is the largest natural gas-consuming appliance.
– Set your thermostat no higher than 68 degrees. If possible, set it at 65 degrees when you are home and 60 degrees away from home.
– Lowering your thermostat can help you save on your annual heating costs. Installing a programmable thermostat can help you automatically control your heat usage. Add on extra layers of clothing to keep warm.
1. Change your air filters monthly. A dirty filter restricts airflow and can increase your furnace’s operating cost by as much as 10 percent. A good reminder is to change the filter each time you receive your natural gas bill.
*Other appliances*: Although they consume less natural gas, you can still maximize their efficiency.
1. Run your washing machine, dishwasher, and gas dryer only with full loads.
*Make your home more airtight and keep cold air outside:*
1. Seal leaks around doors, windows, and other openings such as pipes or ducts, with caulk or weather-stripping. The most common places where air escapes in homes are floors, walls, ceilings, ducts, fireplaces, plumbing penetrations, doors, windows, fans, vents, and electrical outlets.
2. If it has been a while, consider adding more insulation in your attic.
3. On sunny days, open draperies and blinds to let in the sun’s warmth. Close them at night to insulate against the cold air outside.
<https://www.centerpointenergy.com/en-us/residential/safety/weather-storm-center?sa=tx> for natural gas safety tips and other resources.