Washington Gas wants its customers to be able to save money while safely staying warm this winter, so it has compiled these tips to get Ready 4 Winter.
Safe and Efficient Energy
- Keep your water heater below 120 degrees Fahrenheit using the warm or low setting.
- Wash full loads of laundry and dishes, instead of more frequent smaller loads.
- Use cold water for laundry with specially formulated cold-water detergents.
- Caulk and weather strip around doors and windows.
- Change or clean furnace and air filters once a month and get an annual furnace or boiler check-up by a licensed professional.
- Install high-efficiency appliances when possible.
- Look for the ENERGY STAR® energy-efficient product label when buying new appliances.
- Consider purchasing programmable thermostat to automatically lower and increase the temperature based on when you're home.
Winter Home Safety Tips
- The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission recommends CO detectors outside each bedroom of your home and smoke alarms on each level and inside every bedroom. Check batteries monthly and replace them at least twice a year.
- Never use your oven or range top to heat your home. Leaving burner flames on and unmonitored is a fire hazard and can use up indoor oxygen, leading to production of deadly CO.
- Avoid the possibility of an interruption in gas service by clearing snow from the natural gas meter and regulator vent as well as any appliance exhausts. Ysing your hands, a brush or a broom -- never use a shovel or other hard object.
- Call Washington Gas Customer Service at 703-750-1000 if service is interrupted.
Walk/Travel Safely in Snow and Ice
- Use handrails when entering and leaving buildings and be careful where you step to make sure your footing is secure.
- Wear sturdy shoes that grip in ice and snow.
- Use extra caution while working or driving during a winter storm.
- Beware of other drivers. Drive slowly to allow time to stop and give yourself at least three times more space between your car and the car in front of you.
- Brake gently to avoid skidding. If your wheels start to lock up, ease off the brake.
- Turn on headlights to increase your visibility to other motorists.
- Keep lights and windshield clean.
- Use low gears to maintain traction, especially on hills.
- Do not use cruise control or overdrive on icy roads.
- Be especially careful on bridges, overpasses and infrequently traveled roads, which freeze first. Ice can occur in shady areas and on exposed bridges and overpasses when the temperature is above freezing.
- Do not pass snow plows and sanding trucks, which have limited visibility. You are likely to find the road in front of the truck worse than the road behind the truck.
- Do not assume your vehicle can handle all conditions. Four-wheel and front-wheel drive vehicles can also encounter trouble on winter roads.
- To help families that do not qualify or have maxed out government energy assistance, donate to the Washington Area Fuel Fund, founded by Washington Gas and administered by the Salvation Army.
- Download the Energy Saver Guide: Tips on Saving Money and Energy at Home from the U.S. Department of Energy.
- Learn about energy efficiency through interactive games at EnergyHog.org.
- When a winter storm is imminent, follow the Federal Emergency Management Agency's preparation guide.