Tips from PSE&G on Maintaining the Heat at Home During Extreme Cold
CUSTOMERS WITH INSUFFICIENT OR NO HEAT
In many cases, customers are calling because of insufficient heat – their furnaces are working but are having difficulty handling the lower temperatures. Although the company is sensitive to customers’ heating inquiries, insufficient heat is not always caused by defective heating equipment. The colder it is outside, the harder the heating system must work to satisfy the same thermostat setting. The heat loss in a home may exceed the output capacity of the heating system. At times like these, the room temperature may not reach the thermostat setting, especially if the thermostat is raised to a higher than normal setting. Customers can comfort themselves by doing the following:
• Seal up openings around and under doors and windows
• Make sure all storm windows are down and tightly closed
• Lower thermostats serving unused rooms
• Close dampers in unused fireplaces
• Move furniture and drapes away from heating registers, radiators, and baseboard element covers
• Open any register or baseboard dampers
• Warm air systems – replace dirty/clogged air filters
• Steam systems – check for sufficient water levels in the sight glass
FOR SAFETY’S SAKE
• Be cautious when using space heaters. Read and follow the manufacturer’s instructions and heed warning labels. Be sure all members of the household understand how to operate space heaters safely
• Don’t try to use a gas oven or range to heat a room – the appliance will deplete oxygen from the air, causing asphyxiation or deadly carbon monoxide poisoning. Carbon monoxide (CO) — an invisible, odorless, tasteless and non-irritating gas — is the leading cause of accidental poisoning in the United States. Natural gas, oil, propane, coal or wood, produces CO.
• The first line of defense against CO poisoning is to make sure all your fuel-burning appliances operate and are maintained properly. These appliances include gas and oil furnaces, water heaters, gas ranges, space heaters, and gas clothes dryers. Improperly vented fireplaces and charcoal grills can also give off CO.
• Invest in carbon monoxide detectors as back-up protection, not as a substitute for proper use and maintenance of the fuel-burning appliances. CO alarms can provide an early warning to consumers before CO builds up to a dangerous level. The US Consumer Product Safety Commission recommends placing a carbon monoxide alarm in every area of the house. If just one alarm is installed, it should be placed near the sleeping rooms of the house. If you already have one, remember to check the batteries regularly.
• If you are calling for service, please make sure that your walkways are clear of snow and ice for safe access by our employees.
KEEP YOUR GAS METER AND APPLIANCE VENTS CLEAR OF SNOW AND ICE
You can help keep your natural gas supply flowing by keeping your meter free of snow and ice. If you are a natural gas customer whose gas meter is on the outside of your home or business, please take the following precautions:
• Clear snowdrifts away from the meter and piping.
• Do not pile snow on top of the gas meter or around its connecting piping when you are shoveling your premises.
• Brush snow from the meter and piping before a thick layer of ice builds up.
• Clear snow from dryer vents to prevent fumes from backing up into your house.
IF YOUR METERS ARE SCHEDULED TO BE READ
While we always try to obtain an actual reading, occasionally it’s necessary to estimate a reading to ensure the safety of our employees. Ways that you can help us keep our employees safe and avoid estimated bills:
• Ensure walkways and entrance ways are cleared of snow and ice.
• Ensure a clear pathway to the meter.
• Secure pets while meters are being read.
• Utilize our Record-a-Reading option or enter your reading on-line via the PSE&G website on www.pseg.com.
WHEN YOU DRIVE PAST OUR WORKSITES OR VEHICLES
Please slow down and be alert when driving past a PSE&G roadwork jobsite, especially in snowy, icy weather. Driving too fast can endanger employees and hamper their ability to perform important work. PSE&G crews use work area protection – traffic cones, utility work signs and flaggers – to protect them and to allow them to do their jobs safely. Follow safe driving techniques to prevent fender-benders or more serious collisions that could delay our service technicians as they respond to customer calls or emergencies.