Tips to battle extreme cold

Tips to battle extreme cold


The Citizens Utility Board (CUB) has tips for Illinoisans to deal with a dangerous record cold.

“In cold emergencies like this, energy efficiency not only keeps our utility bills lower, it also keeps our homes warm, comfortable and safe,” CUB Executive Director David Kolata said. “Practicing efficiency prevents people from jacking up their thermostats, or lowering them to unsafe temperatures.”

·         Don't take any risks- don't use your oven or stove to heat your home. If you use a space heater, place it on a hard, level surface; keep it away from flammable objects; and don't leave it on overnight.  The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) recommends setting your thermostat no lower than 66 degrees.

·         Don’t overwork your heating system. Concentrate on keeping comfortable the rooms you use the most. Close doors to other rooms. Close blinds as an extra layer of protection against icy night winds. However, open them during the day so sunlight can help heat your home.

·         Reduce the drafts. This bitter cold is an opportunity to pinpoint the drafts in your home. Your hardware store can provide the materials to seal those leaks, but improvise if you have to over the next few days. For example, if you don't have a door guard or sweep to block cold air under your front and back doors, use a rolled up towel. (Also, if you're using a fireplace to stay warm, make sure to close the damper after you’re done using it, so the warm air doesn’t escape out the chimney).

·         Clear radiators, registers, air returns and baseboards of obstructions. Dust, carpet and furniture can block the heat and leave a room chilly. You can’t heat your home if the air isn’t circulating.

·         Clean or replace filters for a forced-air heating system. Check it every month, and now is a great time to clean or replace it if it's dirty.

·         Circulate the heat with the help of a ceiling fan. In the winter, run the fan clockwise (from your position, looking up at it) to pull warm air down from the ceiling. Turn off the fan when you leave the room.

·         Check on your neighbors. If you are concerned that neighbors can't stay warm, check in on them. CUB, at, has information on where Illinoisans can find a warming center near them. You can also call the Illinois Department of Human Services (IDHS), at 1-800-843-6154, to find a warming center.

CUB is an Illinois’ nonprofit utility watchdog group created by the Illinois Legislature. For more details, call CUB’s Consumer Hotline at 1-800-669-5556.

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