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National Grid encourages customers to prepare for cold weather

by jmaloni

Submitted

Tue, Jan 6th 2015 07:45 pm

Measures to help customers stay safe and save energy

As the National Weather Service forecasts bitter cold temperatures throughout the Northeast for the remainder of the week, National Grid encourages customers to take steps to protect themselves and their homes from the weather and improve energy efficiency at the same time.

Safety first

•Minimize outside activities, particularly for the elderly and very young, and limit your pet's exposure to the cold.

•Excessive exposure to cold can lead to frostbite, which causes the loss of feeling and a pale appearance in fingers, toes, ear lobes, the tip of the nose and other extremities. If symptoms are detected, seek medical help immediately.

•Hypothermia can occur in extreme cases. Warning signs include uncontrollable shivering, memory loss, disorientation, incoherence, slurred speech, drowsiness and apparent exhaustion. If a person's temperature drops below 95 degrees, seek immediate medical care.

•Always have a well-stocked winter home emergency supply kit that includes flashlights, portable radio, extra batteries, a first aid kit, bottled water, nonperishable food and a manual can opener.

•When using alternate heating sources, such as a fireplace, wood stove or space heater, take the necessary safety precautions. Keep a fire extinguisher handy and ensure everyone knows how to use it. Test smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors.

•If you lose your heat, seal off unused rooms by stuffing towels in the cracks under the doors. At night, cover windows with extra blankets or sheets.

•Food provides the body with energy for producing its own heat.

•Be a good neighbor: Check in with elderly or relatives and friends who may need additional assistance to ensure their safety.

•Make sure your car is properly winterized. Keep the gas tank at least half full. Carry a winter emergency car kit in the trunk, including blankets, extra clothing, flashlight with spare batteries, a can and waterproof matches (to melt snow for drinking water), nonperishable foods, windshield scraper, shovel, sand, rope and jumper cables.

Insulate

•Insulate your attic, walls, ceilings and floors to prevent heat from escaping to the outdoors. Insulation improves your comfort as well as the efficiency of your home, which means more savings.

•Apply the same principle to your personal comfort. Wear several layers of clothing to keep yourself warmer while keeping the thermostat down.

•Take advantage of the sun; open drapes during the day to capture warmth and close them at night to prevent heat loss through windows.

•To keep pipes from freezing, wrap them in insulation or layers of newspapers covered with plastic to keep out moisture. Also, allow a trickle of warm water to run from a faucet that is furthest from your water meter or one that has frozen in the past. This will keep the water moving so that it cannot freeze. Learn how to shut off your water if a pipe bursts.

•If pipes freeze, remove insulation, completely open all faucets and pour hot water over the pipes or wrap them with towels soaked in hot water, starting where they are most exposed to the cold. A hand-held hair dryer, used with caution, also works well.

Seal air leaks

•Cold air from air leaks can increase your energy use. Seal all holes and cracks where cold air can get in.

•It's especially important to caulk windows and weather-strip around doorframes. Also, replace any broken panes on storm doors and windows.

•Other air-sealing tips include shutting off heat to unused rooms and closing the fireplace damper.

•Remove window air conditioning units during the cold months to reduce drafts. If this isn't possible, cover the inside and outside of the unit with plastic.

For more information, visit www.nationalgridus.com.

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