A quick drop in temperature along with a period of dangerously cold weather is anticipated in the northern and central parts of Mississippi just in time for the Christmas holidays.
According to the National Weather Service (NWS), the winter storm is expected to bring cold winds, a slight chance of precipitation, and freezing from Thursday night to Saturday night. The NWS added that the most severe weather throughout the state will be on Thursday night as winds will likely result in wind chill readings below zero.
Whether you’re traveling or staying at home, it takes more energy to heat a house in extreme temperatures, and with consecutive days of cold temperatures, that can lead to higher-than-normal bills.
Here are some tips from Atmos and Entergy Mississippi on how to keep heating costs in check by improving energy efficiency:
- Seal air leaks. Use caulk or weatherstripping around doors, windows, and anywhere that cold air could get in or heat could escape.
- Adjust the thermostat. Set the thermostat to 68 degrees during winter months, and dress in layers to stay warm. Each degree above 68 can increase your energy bill by about 3%. If you are not home, set your thermostat to 58 degrees.
- Conserve hot water. Set your water heater’s thermostat to 120 degrees, or the medium setting. Wrap electric water heaters with water heater blankets, which can be found at home improvement stores.
- Keep doors and windows closed. Constant traffic will let out warm air, forcing your heater to work harder to keep the room at the set temperature.
- Close fireplace damper. 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.
- Ensure fans are turning the right way. Heat rises, so fans should be set to run clockwise at a low speed during the winter to blow the warmer air down on you.
- Replace air filters. Dirty filters make your heating system work harder. Replace them according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
- Keep airflow open. Make sure air registers and vents are not blocked by furniture or equipment for proper airflow.
- Leverage the sun. During the day, open your curtains and blinds to let in the warm sunlight. Close them at night to reduce heat loss.
- Unplug and turn off. Unplug electronic devices and turn off lights that are not in use.
If you plan on leaving your home for the holidays, make sure to prepare for possible water main breaks and damage to exposed pipes. Leave faucets running at a trickle, leave cabinet doors open, and close all doors and windows to keep heat inside.