Heating safety and efficiency tips

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    By Carly West
    Special to The SUN
    Across Colorado, families are waking up to a nip in the air and snow in the forecast. Fall is officially here and cooler temperatures are upon us. As we pull jackets from the closet and visit the coffee shop for a favorite seasonal hot beverage, it is also time to think about how to get your home ready for the season.
    “Taking a few steps today before winter arrives will save your family money and provide peace of mind when temperatures dip,” said Black Hills Energy Colorado Vice President Susan Bailey.
    The following safety and efficiency tips are recommended.
    Ways to stay safe
    • Natural gas smells like rotten eggs for a reason. If your nose picks up this scent, immediately leave the area and call 911 once you’re away from the site.
    • Wait for emergency personnel to arrive before re-entering the building. Emergency personnel will let you know when it’s safe to return.
    • Never use a mobile phone, touch a light switch or start an engine while near a suspected gas leak.
    • Ensure your home is equipped with carbon monoxide detectors, and never use gas ranges, ovens or clothes dryers to heat your home.
    Ways to reduce energy costs
    • Prevent heat loss. Cut heat loss by caulking and weather-stripping doors and windows.
    • You can save as much as 10 percent a year on your heating bill by simply turning your thermostat back 10 to 15 percent for eight hours.
    • Clean your furnace filter monthly and follow any other routine maintenance procedures described in the owner’s manual. Dirty filters make your furnace run much harder and circulate dirty air through your house.
    • It’s recommended to have your furnace inspected by a professional once a year.
    To access Colorado’s utility assistance program, call United Way’s 2-1-1 or visit www.211.org to be connected to a specialist for assistance.
    Additionally, heat assistance is available to income-qualified Colorado residents through the Colorado Low-income Energy Assistance Program, or LEAP. LEAP applications open on Nov. 1 for the 2019/2020 heating season. Learn more at https://www.colorado.gov/pacific/cdhs/leap.