- The Bolton News
Chill Out with These Winter Energy Tips
As the leaves begin to change color and we enjoy the many traditions of autumn, it can be easy to overlook the fact that winter is right around the corner. Atmos Energy reminds natural gas customers that now is the time to prepare for cold weather by performing household safety checks and implementing energy-saving measures, so you can stay warm while managing your winter heating bills.
If you need natural gas service reconnected, contact us now to schedule an appointment before cold weather arrives. Atmos Energy is available at 888.286.6700 – Monday through Friday between 7 a.m. and 6 p.m. Central time – or visit us online at www.atmosenergy.com
During the appointment, you may choose to have an Atmos Energy technician enter your home or business to relight gas appliances that are accessible and are in a safe working condition. However, this is not a substitute for routine or manufacturer-recommended safety inspections and maintenance of your appliances and gas piping. Your gas piping and appliances are your responsibility and should be inspected periodically. A responsible adult 18 or older must be present during the appointment.
Now is also a great opportunity to perform routine household safety checks like inspecting your home’s natural gas piping and appliances and ensuring smoke detectors and carbon monoxide alarms are in working condition.
Maintain Your Natural Gas Lines
Customers are responsible for the maintenance and service of natural gas appliances and natural gas lines from the meter into their homes in all states we serve, except in Kansas.
Customer-owned natural gas lines include all piping that goes from your natural gas meter to the appliances on your property. This also includes a pool or spa heater, barbeque, or other natural gas appliances.
Monitor for Carbon Monoxide
Often called the invisible killer, carbon monoxide (CO) is an odorless, colorless gas emitted when fuel is burned in cars, trucks, small engines, stoves, lanterns, grills, fireplaces, natural gas ranges, or furnaces, and it can be poisonous to humans if it builds up indoors.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends replacing your CO detector every five years and installing a battery-operated or battery backup CO detector in a central location outside each sleeping area and on every level of a home.
The CDC also advises buying a detector with a digital readout to best detect the highest level of carbon monoxide concentration.
This winter, as energy prices are elevated across the board, financial assistance is available to help customers manage costs:
Budget Billing is a great tool to help manage your budget because your natural gas bill will be more predictable every month. In the winter, your bill can rise unexpectedly as the weather gets colder. However, with Budget Billing your costs are spread more evenly throughout the year, so you are not surprised by high winter bills. Visit www.atmosenergy.com/budgetbilling to learn more.
Installment plans are available that spread out payments of your balance over time – with no charges or fees to do so. Call 888.286.6700 or visit www.atmosenergy.com/AccountCenter to establish a plan that meets your needs.
We also offer an online tool that compares your current bill with a previous bill so you can better understand how the weather, billing days, and charges impact your bill. Log in to the Account Center and select “Billing and Usage” to use the bill comparison tool.
If you need help paying your natural gas bill, financial assistance is available from the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) program as well as Atmos Energy’s Sharing the Warmth funds through local assistance agencies. Visit atmosenergy.com/assistance to find an energy assistance agency near you.
Colder weather directly impacts the amount of natural gas that is consumed and your monthly bill. Using energy wisely and making a few household changes can make a big difference in how much you spend on natural gas and other energy bills. Plus, you will lower your home's carbon emissions when you use less energy.
Lower your thermostat to 68 degrees during the day and 58 degrees when you are away from home.
Lower your water heater temperature to 120 degrees. Water heating accounts for as much as 25 percent of the energy consumed in your home.
Change or clean your heating and air conditioning unit filter regularly and according to the manufacturer's instructions. Your equipment will use less energy if it ‘breathes’ more easily.
Unplug electronic devices and turn off lights that are not in use.
Reduce your shower and bath time. Showering and bathing can account for 40 percent of your home's hot water use.
Operate your clothes washer, dryer, and dishwasher only when fully loaded.
Keep your fireplace damper closed unless a fire is burning. Leaving the damper open is like keeping a window wide open – warm air goes right up the chimney!
If you have a pool, do not use the pool heater. Instead, run your pool pump during the coldest part of the day to circulate the water and prevent freezing.
Atmos Energy offers rebates for high-efficiency natural gas appliances, energy-saving devices, and weatherization upgrades for customers in Colorado, Louisiana, Mississippi, and parts of Texas. Visit www.atmosenergy.com/rebates for details.
For home safety tips and to learn more about customer-owned natural gas piping, please visit https://www.atmosenergy.com/safety/home-safety, and for more energy-saving tips visit www.atmosenergy.com/energytips.