Mercer Island Reporter


Simple steps can ensure a warmer, safe and cheaper winter

September 25, 2013 · Updated 9:42 AM

With the start of autumn last weekend, Puget Sound Energy encourages customers to take time now to prepare their homes for colder temperatures and to take simple steps to manage heating costs. PSE homeowners may also qualify for rebates for energy-efficient heating systems, such as heat pumps, boilers, natural-gas furnaces, water heaters and insulation products.

PSE offers a checklist of simple fall preparation and safety tips:

• Seal gaps around doors and windows by adding weather stripping or caulk to keep heat from escaping.

• Add insulation to attics, walls, ducts and floors. PSE offers up to $2,000 in insulation rebates. Weatherizing can save big money.

• Run the furnace to make sure it’s operating properly. Check for unusual odors or sounds. If there seems to be a problem, have it inspected and serviced.

If you think your natural gas furnace, water heater or other appliances are not operating safely, or if you are having problems with pilot lights, please call PSE at 1-888-225-5773 to schedule a natural gas service technician for a free visit to diagnose the problem.

• Change or clean furnace filters monthly during the heating season.

• Make sure the area around the furnace and water heater is clear of all flammable materials such as rags, cardboard boxes, solvents and paint thinners.

• Repair or replace damaged heating ducts.

• Keep all heating vents open and unblocked by furniture or other items.

• Set the thermostat at the coolest level that you can without making your rooms uncomfortable. For most homes, the heating bill drops by about 2 percent for every 1 degree the thermostat is lowered.

It might seem on the cool side, but setting the thermostat to 58 degrees can cut a natural gas bill by up 7 percent.

Look up before doing any outdoor overhead work, such as cleaning gutters, pruning trees or working with ladders, to avoid power lines. Maintain a minimum of 15 feet of clearance from overhead power lines.

Don’t let anyone climb a utility pole or green electric transformer cabinet. If a pet is stranded on a utility pole or if a ball or toy goes into a power substation, don’t go after them.

For additional information about making homes more energy-efficient for the winter heating season, visit www.pse.com or call a PSE Energy Advisor at 1-800-562-1482, Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.


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