With the arrival of frigid weather, PSE&G offers tips to help you stay safe from carbon monoxide poisoning, stay warm and save energy.
For safety’s sake: remember that carbon monoxide (CO) is odorless, tasteless and can be deadly. CO poisoning is more common in cold weather when fuel-heating appliances are in use.
- The first line of defense against CO poisoning is to make sure all fuel-burning appliances operate correctly and are maintained properly. These appliances include furnaces, water heaters, ranges, space heaters, and clothes dryers. Improperly vented fireplaces and charcoal grills can also give off CO. Never use ovens or clothes dryers to heat the house.
- Install carbon monoxide detectors. CO alarms can provide an early warning before CO builds up to a dangerous level. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission recommends placing a carbon monoxide alarm in every area of your house or business. If just one alarm is installed, it should be placed near the sleeping areas of the house. Check the batteries regularly.
- Do not allow vehicles, snow blowers or any gasoline-powered engine to idle in a garage, basement or any enclosed space. CO can drift into the living space and create a hazardous situation.
- Be prepared: In your mobile phone, program the emergency service line of your natural gas provider. PSE&G’s emergency service line is 1-800-880-PSEG (7734).
- If you think high levels of CO are in your home or business: Go outside! If there is a medical emergency, such as someone falling unconscious, get the person outside to fresh air and call 911. Then call PSE&G’s emergency service line. Wait outside, or go to a neighbor’s home, until help arrives.
- Symptoms of poisoning include headache, dizziness, weakness, nausea, vomiting, chest pain and confusion. Symptoms can occur immediately or gradually after long-term exposure. People who are sleeping can die from CO poisoning before ever experiencing any of these warning signs. It affects people of all ages, but infants and children are even more susceptible than adults.
Stay warm and save energy:
- Lower your thermostat by just one degree, which may reduce your heating bill by up to 3 percent. Save even more by lowering your thermostat 2 degrees during the day when you are home, and 5 to 10 degrees when you are away and at bedtime, if health conditions permit.
- Change thermostat batteries once a year, or when the low battery indicator appears on the digital display.
- Close fireplace dampers when not in use.
- Move furniture and drapes away from heating registers, radiators, and baseboard element covers. Open any register or baseboard dampers.
- Open your curtains and blinds that face the sun on sunny days to warm your home, and close them at night to keep the warm air inside.
- Use weather stripping or caulk to seal up cracks and prevent drafts in windows and doorframes. Beneath doors, install draft guards available at hardware stores.
- Visit PSE&G’s Home Energy Toolkit at pseg.com/toolkit. You can calculate the energy efficiency of your home and find out how to save energy and money on appliances and heating systems.