DAYTON — With the winter heating season off to an early start, Vectren Energy Delivery is reminding customers to be aware of heating safety and energy efficiency tips throughout the winter months.
Having a furnace tune-up by a professional, knowing how to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning and being aware of the safety precautions associated with the use of space heaters are simple ways to keep a household safe throughout the year.
“So far, November 2018 is nearly 20 percent colder than normal and nearly 25 percent colder than last November. With these frigid temperatures, the need for heating your home increases, energy usage will climb higher, and it’s important to keep safety and energy efficiency in mind,” said Colleen Ryan, president of Vectren Energy Delivery of Ohio. “Safety begins with simple steps such as ensuring your furnace and fireplaces are properly ventilated and the batteries in your smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors are in good working condition.”
Customers should consider safety precautions associated with home heating, the use of natural gas and the use of electric space heaters. Furthermore, individuals are asked to remember to change the batteries in smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors throughout the home on an annual basis.
Energy efficiency tips
- Open blinds and curtains during the daylight hours to let the sun naturally warm your home; conversely, make sure you close the curtains at night.
- Keep your furnace clean. Have your furnace properly maintained annually to reduce energy consumption and help you save. Check your furnace filter regularly and replace it when it gets dirty.
- Dial down the thermostat to 68 degrees or less. For every degree you turn down your thermostat (and leave it there for at least an eight-hour period) you save between 1 and 3 percent of your heating bill.
- Unblock your registers or vents. When vents get blocked by furniture, rugs or other items, your furnace’s efficiency is negatively affected.
- Invest in insulation. Hundreds of thousands of dollars in energy costs are lost each year due to escaping heat in homes without proper insulation. Vectren offers insulation rebates, which can be found at www.vectren.com/saveenergy.
- Keep the fireplace damper closed when not in use. An open fireplace is like keeping a door open; it will allow cold air to come in and warm air to escape.
- Seal up leaks: Caulk and foam, available at home improvement stores, will fill gaps around doors and windows that could be letting cold air rush inside.
Space heater safety
- To help prevent fires and carbon monoxide poisoning from the use of space heaters, adhere to the following tips:
- Install and use appliances according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
- Consider using space heaters with automatic shut-off capabilities.
- Never use unvented gas or kerosene heaters in closed spaces, especially sleeping areas.
- Don’t use gas appliances such as an oven, range or clothes dryer to heat the home.
- Leave a window cracked about an inch for ventilation and fresh air. Ventilation is important to keep fuel-burning space heaters from consuming too much oxygen in the house.
- Do not leave a space heater on when you are not in the room or when you go to sleep and keep small children away from the unit at all times.
- Electric space heaters should be checked for signs of fraying or splitting wires or overheating. Likewise, electric space heaters frequently cause fires by overloading electrical outlets.
- Keep space heaters away from combustible materials/products.
- When selecting a space heater, look for one that has been tested and certified by a nationally recognized testing laboratory. These heaters have been determined to meet specific safety standards, and manufacturers are required to provide important use and care information to the consumer.
Carbon monoxide safety
- Carbon monoxide is a toxic gas produced by the incomplete burning of different fuels including gasoline, kerosene, wood, coal, propane, natural gas and fuel oil. High concentrations of CO can cause illness and excessive levels can be fatal. If you suspect CO in your home, get fresh air immediately and call 911. To prevent CO in your home:
- Make sure all appliances are properly installed and maintained and have a heating professional clean and check your heating and venting system every year.
- Check vents, flue pipes and chimneys for corrosion or blockage.
- Never run a vehicle or fuel-burning equipment in an enclosed place.
- Install at least one CO detector near sleeping areas to add an extra measure of safety.