INDIANAPOLIS – CenterPoint Energy is reminding its customers about simple energy-saving and safety steps they can take to help lower their heating bills while continuing to stay safe and warm in the cold weather.

Energy-Saving Tips

Make sure your heating system is operating safely and efficiently. An annual inspection and tune-up by a qualified technician is recommended.

Change or clean your furnace filter regularly. Good air flow is essential for maximizing the efficiency and life of your furnace.

Turn down the thermostat. Lower it by 10 degrees at night or when you’re away for at least eight hours. You can potentially save 10% on your space heating costs. With a programmable thermostat, it’s easy to have your heating system work around your schedule.

Make your home more airtight to keep warm air in and cold air out. Use caulk or weather-stripping to seal leaks around doors, windows and other openings such as pipes or ducts. Close fireplace dampers when not in use so you don’t lose heat.

Keep curtains and blinds open during the day to allow the sun’s heat to warm your house. Close curtains and blinds at night so you don’t lose heat when the sun goes down.

Safety Tips

Use space heaters safely. Use a space heater with an automatic shut-off, and keep children, pets and all items at least three feet away. A space heater that uses gas, propane or wood should be vented to the outside. Stoves and ovens should never be used for space heating.

Test your carbon monoxide (CO) and smoke alarms to make sure they work properly. Change batteries regularly. Alarms don’t last forever, so replace according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

Know the signs of CO poisoning. Early symptoms such as headache and fatigue are similar to the flu, but without a fever. Continued CO exposure can lead to more severe headaches, dizziness, nausea, difficulty thinking clearly and fainting. If everyone in a household is experiencing symptoms, it may be CO poisoning. Get fresh air immediately and call 911.

Immediately report a suspected natural gas leak. If you smell the “rotten egg” odor of natural gas, immediately leave on foot, go to a safe location and call both 911 and CenterPoint Energy at 800-227-1376. Don’t use electric switches/outlets, phones (including cell phones), drive or start a car inside or close to the location, or do anything that could cause a spark.

Financial Help

Customers who believe they may have trouble paying their heating bills this winter should contact CenterPoint Energy to set up a payment arrangement and find out if they are eligible for energy assistance that can help pay their bills. To learn more, visit CenterPointEnergy.com/EnergyforIndiana.

- Information provided

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