With cold weather rolling in, Cobb EMC is helping customers prepare their homes to be energy efficient and prepared for winter storms.
The Marietta-based provider works year-round to prepare for winter weather and maintain – or quickly restore – power for members. Line maintenance crews work 24-hours-a-day, every day of the year to keep the lights on for members. Meanwhile, field service representatives perform home energy audits and educate members on home heat loss.
Here are a few helpful hints from Cobb EMC on preparing for winter storms and the power outages that may come along with them:
- Don’t find yourself in the dark. Keep flashlights in multiple rooms and fluorescent camping lanterns on hand. They’re much safer than candles when you have children and pets running around in the house.
- When TVs and computers aren’t working, battery-powered radios can keep you informed andbattery-powered TVs can keep you entertained. (Remember to replace batteries every three years and stock up early. Stores’ supplies deplete quickly when meteorologists predict a storm.)
- Stay connected. Unless a storm takes down your phone line, landlines should still work, although cordless models will eventually run out of charge. Keep cell phones fully charged and avoid heavy use once the power goes out, as it can quickly drain battery life.
- To protect computers from unexpected power disruptions, plug them into an uninterruptable power supply (UPS).
- If you decide to use gas-powered generators, make sure they are kept outside, as the exhaust can cause carbon monoxide poisoning.
Here are some suggestions from Cobb EMC to help keep heat from escaping your home this winter:
- Where is a simple place to start? Seal air leaksto keep energy dollars from slipping out of cracks and gaps in your home. Install foam outlet gaskets in electrical outlets and light switches on exterior walls. Caulk around windows and door frames. Add weatherstripping and door sweeps to exterior doors. Use caulk or expanding spray foam to insulate openings where plumbing, wiring and ducting penetrates through walls. And if warmth isn’t reason enough, sealing leaks can also help keep out unwanted insects and rodents, who squeeze through cracks much like the winter wind.
- Keep windows locked to create a tighter air seal.
- Insulation. Start with the attic for an instantly-warmer (and quieter) home. If you have money left over, add insulation under the floors and inside the walls.
- Keep the heat at an energy-saving 68 degrees, and at 60 degrees while you’re sleeping or at work. A programmable thermostat can do this automatically. Each degree you lower your thermostat saves an estimated 2 percent on your heating costs.* Remember, turning the thermostat higher does not warm your house any faster.
- Turn off ventilation fans in bathrooms and kitchens shortly after showering or cooking to minimize warm air loss.
- When your fireplace is not in use, close the damper and consider buying a plastic, inflatable “pillow” that inserts in the chimney to stop heat from escaping.
- Plant trees. Deciduous trees take several years to grow, but they allow light to flood in during the winter, providing solar warmth. They will also provide shade in hot summer months. Full evergreens, like Magnolias, help form a windbreak to protect your home from chilly winter winds.
Report a power outage to Cobb EMC at 770-429-2100. To learn more ways to save money by reducing energy use, visit www.cobbemc.com/energymatters to schedule an in-home energy audit with Cobb EMC or attend an upcoming Cobb EMC Energy Efficiency Seminar. Reservations are given on a first-come, first-serve basis.
*Source: U.S. Dept. of Energy