Halloween is here, the weather is getting chilly, and things are about to get a little spooky. But, have no fear – we have a few tips (no tricks!) up our sleeves to help you avoid five natural gas “nightmares!”
Unexpectedly high bills can be frightening – especially when you’re not used to having your heat turned on for the past few months – but there are ways you can save on your home energy costs.
One thing you can do is invest in a programmable thermostat. During the winter months, we recommend setting your thermostat to 60 degrees when you’re away and 68 degrees when you’re home. You can save about 5 percent on heating costs for every degree lowered in the winter months. And of course, you can do this manually if you don’t have a smart thermostat.
Remember to change the filter in your furnace or air handler regularly. A dirty air filter can cause a lot of hocus pocus – forcing your system to work harder to push air throughout your home. This results in increased energy usage, which also means a higher bill. Not to mention the added creepy crawlies like dust and allergens that can’t be properly filtered out. To avoid this potential nightmare, most HVAC companies recommend inspecting, cleaning or replacing the filter every month during the summer and winter seasons.
Don’t let carbon monoxide creep up on you. There are easy ways to maintain your household, so you can breathe easy. Think of carbon monoxide as a ghost – you can’t see it even if it’s there. It’s a tasteless, odorless substance produced from the combustion of carbon-based substances. It can be emitted from fireplaces, faulty furnaces, generators, water heaters and other heat sources. If inhaled, carbon monoxide can be very dangerous.
Everyone should have a carbon monoxide detector in their home that will alert you when carbon monoxide levels are elevated. It’s also a good rule of thumb to never use grills, generators or camping stoves inside the home, and never leave a car running in the garage without opening the garage door. Car exhaust is one of the substances most commonly associated with carbon monoxide poisoning. Lastly, never ever try to heat your home using your stove.
A natural gas leak is the scariest of all nightmares, but there are simple ways to identify a potential leak. Because natural gas is a colorless, odorless fuel, we add a chemical odorant called mercaptan that gives natural gas the smell that’s often associated with rotten eggs. This distinctive scent allows you to detect a potential leak if it occurs. So keep a nose out for that!
When you’re inside your home, you can also listen for an eerie blowing or hissing sound. A sign of a leak outdoors may be indicated by dead or discolored vegetation in an otherwise green area as well as dirt or dust blowing from a hole in the ground, or bubbling in wet or flooded areas.
If you detect a natural gas leak, remain calm and leave your home immediately. There’s no secret potion to fix a gas leak, but you can call Atlanta Gas Light at 877.427.4321 and emergency responders at 911 once you are in a safe place – away from the area of the suspected leak. Stay put until emergency personnel say it’s safe to return.
Besides asking ‘Trick-or-Treat?’ you should ask – “Have I turned on my natural gas yet?” For seasonal natural gas customers, it’s important to sign up early so you have heat as soon as temperatures begin to drop. A lot of folks wait until it gets cold to schedule their service, but sooner is always better since it takes a few days to schedule Atlanta Gas Light to come to your house, make sure the gas line is safe and turn on your gas.