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Columbia Gas, offers tips for staying safe and saving energy during cold, winter weather

Kentucky prepares for continued frigid temperatures over the next few days, Columbia Gas of Kentucky encourages area residents to follow some simple safety and energy saving tips:

Stay Safe

• Make sure all appliances and heating equipment are inspected and operating properly. Operate all pieces of equipment, including generators and space heaters, according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

• Never use stoves, ovens or outdoor grills as a source of heat.

• Provide adequate ventilation when using fireplaces or unvented space heaters.

• If using a fireplace, use a glass or metal fire screen large enough to catch sparks and rolling logs.

• If using a space heater, place it on a level, hard surface and keep anything flammable at least three feet away from things such as paper, clothing, bedding, curtains or rugs.

• Turn off space heaters and make sure fireplace embers are out before leaving the room or going to bed. Using secondary heating sources, such as space heaters, can increase the chance of carbon monoxide poisoning. Be sure to use these devices according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

• Protect pipes - run water, even at a trickle, to help prevent pipes from freezing. Open the kitchen and bathroom cabinet doors to allow warmer air to circulate around the plumbing. Keep the garage doors closed if there are water lines in the garage. Be sure to move any harmful cleaners and household chemicals out of the reach of children.

• Check any carbon monoxide detectors and smoke detectors to ensure they are operating properly.

• Keep natural gas meters clear of snow and ice to prevent damage and provide easy access should maintenance be needed. Remove snow from the meter with hands or a broom. Never use a shovel, or kick or hit the meter to break away snow or ice. If the meter is encased in ice, contact Columbia Gas for assistance.

Know What To Do If You Smell Natural Gas

If you smell natural gas in your home, leave immediately. Do not operate anything that could cause a spark including lights, cell phones, flashlights and appliances. From a safe location, call Columbia’s emergency number at 1-800-432-9515 and 911.

Save Energy

While the price of natural gas is lower now than at this time last year, colder temperatures can drive energy bills higher because natural gas equipment is working harder and using more energy. Try the following steps to help save energy during cold weather:

• Weatherstrip around windows and doors

• Insulate outlets and light switches

• Program thermostats to a lower temperature while away

• Open shades on sunny winter days

• Lower water heater temperature

• Use heated blankets or add extra blankets and comforters while sleeping

• Insulate water heater pipes

A complete series of residential energy efficiency programs are available at ColumbiaGasKY.com.

Customers facing difficulty paying their winter heating bills should contact Columbia Gas at 800-432-9345 as soon as possible to determine if they qualify for energy assistance programs or to establish a payment plan.

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