NEWARK– Temperatures have dropped and heating systems are working hard. PSE&G say that you shouldn’t let the warm air escape from your home. Stay comfortable and safe, while keeping your energy costs as low as possible.
Some ideas to consider:
• Visit PSE&G’s Home Energy Toolkit at www.pseg.com/toolkit. The toolkit is full of ideas to help save energy and money on home appliances and heating systems.
• Check for sufficient water levels in the sight glass for hot water and steam heating systems. This will ensure maximum efficiency from your heating system.
• Lower your thermostat by just one degree, which may reduce your heating bill by up to three percent. Save even more by lowering your thermostat two degrees during the day and five to 10 degrees at bedtime if health conditions allow.
• Close dampers in fireplaces you don’t use.
• Move furniture and drapes away from heating registers, radiators, and baseboard element covers. Open any register or baseboard dampers.
• Cover window air conditioners to reduce drafts. Install insulated or lined drapes on your windows.
• Use weather stripping or one-sided sticky tape to seal up cracks and stop drafts in windows and doorframes. Caulk smaller gaps. Beneath doors, install draft guards or insulated door snakes.
• Use a shrink film insulation kit on really drafty windows or make one yourself from plastic sheeting and double-face tape.
• Seal wall switches and electrical outlets with small foam gaskets available at home improvement centers and hardware stores. Remove the cover plate, insert the gasket, and screw the cover plate back in place.
• If you have a door leading outside from your basement, hang a full-size sheet of plastic from the door frame to keep heat from escaping. Seal windows in the basement with plastic to create a barrier against the cold. (Make sure you allow enough air supply to feed your fuel-burning appliances safely.)
• Keep your garage door closed if the garage is attached to the house.
Keep your family safe:
• Be cautious when using space heaters. Read and follow the manufacturer’s instructions and heed warning labels. Be sure all household members understand how to operate space heaters safely.
• Never use a gas oven or range to heat a room. The appliance will deplete oxygen from the air, causing asphyxiation or severe carbon monoxide poisoning.
• Get carbon monoxide monitors for your home. Make sure they work properly and keep the batteries fresh. If a monitor goes off, get out of your house. Call your gas company or fire department.
If your budget permits:
• Install (or have installed) a programmable thermostat that you can set to automatically lower room temperatures when rooms are not in use and also at bedtime if health conditions permit.
• Install ceiling fans. They’ll promote heating efficiency in winter (and cool you off in the summer).
• Replace older windows with newer, more efficient models. New windows will provide added insulation and reduce heat loss.
If you lose heat:
• Call 1-800-350-PSEG (7734). PSE&G uses an automated system to handle calls as efficiently as possible. The system is designed to complete simple customer requests and to route calls appropriately if the customer selects the option to speak directly to a customer service representative.
Other PSE&G Programs and Services Available:
• High usage of natural gas during cold spells may result in higher-than-normal bills. Customers can take advantage of the utility’s Equal Payment Plan to manage the fluctuating cost. Residential customers can enroll by calling 1-888-275-PSEG (7734).
• Customers struggling to pay winter heating and electric bills may receive help from the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) or from NJ SHARES. Those newly unemployed or whose work hours have been cut as the result of the economic downturn may now be eligible.
– The LIHEAP program is based on family size and last month’s income and is geared to those who are lower income. Applications for LIHEAP are available at the PSE&G customer service centers listed on your bill. Information about LIHEAP can be found at www.pseg.com/help or by calling 800-510-3102 Monday through Saturday.
– NJ SHARES helps moderate income households that are not eligible for LIHEAP. Call 1-866-NJSHARES or visit www.njshares.org for more information on where to apply.
For more energy saving tips, visit www.pseg.com/saveenergy to order a free Energy Savers brochure and learn about a variety of payment options to help manage energy costs.