HOUSTON – November 11, 2014 – As the temperatures drop, CenterPoint Energy reminds natural gas customers of some important tips to stay safe and warm this season.
Carbon monoxide (CO) is a poisonous gas that is colorless, odorless, tasteless and non-irritating, and any fuel-burning appliance in the home has the potential to produce CO. To prevent CO buildup:
• Have your heating system checked annually by a qualified technician.
• Follow manufacturers' operating instructions properly for gas heating equipment.
• Do not use stovetop burners or ovens to heat a room since they are not designed for this use.
• Make sure to follow the blue flame rule. Natural gas flames should burn blue except natural gas fireplace logs which burn orange to have a more realistic wood burning look.
• Crack windows slightly if using unvented space heaters.
• Consider buying a CO detector as another line of defense against CO poisoning. CenterPoint Energy recommends buying one with an audible alarm and continuous digital display; make sure it is tested to the national standard for residential CO detectors (UL2034 or IAS NO. 6-96).
If you are in a room with operating gas equipment and experience a headache, followed by dizziness and nausea, you may be experiencing CO poisoning. Get fresh air immediately, and call CenterPoint Energy. For more information on natural gas safety, visit CenterPointEnergy.com/Safety.
Cooler temperatures can also mean increased energy usage. CenterPoint Energy recommends the following tips for a more efficient heating season:
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 when you are 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.
• Change your air filters monthly. A dirty filter restricts airflow and can increase the operating cost of your furnace by as much as 10 percent. A good reminder is to change the filter each time you receive your natural gas bill.
Water heater: The water heater is the second-largest gas consuming appliance.
• Set the water heater temperature at 120 degrees and wrap water heater pipes. Lowering the temperature to 120 degrees from 140 degrees and insulating your pipes can help you save on your water heating costs.
Other appliances: Although they consume less natural gas, you can still maximize their efficiency.
• Run your washing machine, dish washer and gas dryer only with full loads.
Make your home more airtight and keep cold air outside:
• 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.
• If it has been a while, consider adding more insulation in your attic.
• On sunny days, open draperies and blinds to let the sun’s warmth in. Close them at night to insulate against the cold air outside.
To learn more about ways to save energy and money this heating season, visit CenterPointEnergy.com/ReadyforWinter.