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How to prepare your home for winter

By NICHOLAS SAKELARIS | CoServ

Winter is coming. This means it’s time to get a refresher on natural gas safety and winterization.

CoServ Gas added an average of nearly 600 new active gas meters a month in the first seven months of 2021, which means for many Customers this will be their first winter with gas service in their homes.

  1. CoServ Customers should expect a burning smell the first time they turn on their gas furnace. Much like the electric heaters, dust builds up when the heater isn’t used in the summer. When the unit turns on for the first time each season, the hot air consumes the dust, causing a burning smell.
    This is perfectly normal and nothing to be alarmed about. “If you ever have a doubt, give us a call and we will come check it out.” said Jason Walker, Director of Gas Operations.
  2. Natural gas is odorless and colorless in its natural state, which is why CoServ adds mercaptan to give it that distinctive rotten egg smell so people can detect it.
  3. Many North Texans had to get new roofs in the aftermath of hailstorms this year. It’s important to inspect gas lines and exhaust vents that run along the roofline to make sure they weren’t damaged when the new roof was installed.

If you’re unsure of what you are looking for, please call an HVAC specialist to do an inspection of your house piping and your gas appliance vents.

  • HVAC:  Have a licensed HVAC contractor check your heating and cooling systems.
  • Natural gas appliances:   Have a specially trained natural gas plumber check your natural gas appliances, especially if the heater and fireplace sit dormant during the off season.
  • Filters:  Change out your HVAC filters.
  • Fireplace:  Ensure the chimney flue is cleaned out and free of debris before you light any fires.
  • Smoke alarms/carbon monoxide detector: Change the batteries and test them to make sure they are working properly.

Natural gas emergency

Get a safe distance away and CALL 911 Then call CoServ’s Gas emergency line: 844-330-0763

Temperatures at or below freezing

CoServ will not disconnect electric or gas service because of nonpayment during extended freezes.

This applies when the preceding day’s high temperature didn’t exceed 32 degrees Fahrenheit, and that day’s high temperature is forecast to remain below freezing for 24 hours.

Tips to save energy & money this winter!

  • Keep your heater’s thermostat at 68 degrees or less. Lower the thermostat 5-7 degrees if you’re going to be gone for longer than four hours.
  • If you have an electric heat pump, adjust the thermostat by 1-2 degrees.
  • Have your furnace professionally serviced. If you have a heat pump, check the outside compressor.
  • Set your water heater to 120 degrees. Wrap it in a water heater blanket.
  • Open your blinds and curtains to allow direct sunlight to enter the home. Close the curtains and blinds when there’s no sunlight.
  • Reverse the direction on your ceiling fans so they go clockwise in the winter, this will pull heat down into the house.
  • Seal cracks in your doors and windows by adding caulking to keep the cold out and the heat in.
  • Set your pool pump’s freeze protection at 35 degrees. In most cases, it should run for one hour per 10 degrees of the outside temperature.
  • Set the pool pump to run during the coldest part of the day, late at night or early morning.

For more details, visit CoServ.com/WinterSavings.

Photos by KEN OLTMANN; Skillet with blue flame: SARA ELLIS; House in winter: stock.adobe.com: KISHIVAN

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