Cooler weather coming
By Alexandra Hedrick
Pearl River County is expecting a cold front to move through on Sunday night, causing temperatures to drop into the 30s. In preparation for the cold days ahead, agencies across the county have some tips to save money on heating and how to protect your animals.
“Anytime the weather nears freezing, heating systems naturally tend to run more to keep up. An easy tip is for customers to set their thermostat to the lowest comfortable setting, which for many is 68 degrees in the winter. For every degree higher, energy consumption is increased about four percent. Since heating and cooling makes up the largest portion of an electric bill, bundling up at home can really help make a difference,” said Keith Guillot, a spokesperson for Mississippi Power.
April Lollar, a media representative for Coast Electric said if a resident has any cracks around the windows, caulking the cracks to seal them makes a difference in energy usage.
Both Guillot and Lollar said depending on the positioning of your home, to keep curtains and blinds open during the day, if possible, to help sunlight come in and naturally heat the home.
Along with adjusting your thermostat, dress warmly inside, Lollar said. She said to put on sweatpants and an extra layer along with your slippers to keep from turning up the thermostat.
For residents with fireplaces, Guillot said to be sure the chimney or wood stove is inspected and cleaned by a certified chimney specialist. He said also make sure to clear the area around the hearth of debris, decorations and flammable materials to prevent any fires.
Lollar said to make sure the damper on your fireplace is closed when you are not burning a fire. Keeping it open allows cold air to flow in and warm air to escape.
Guillot said if residents use portable space heaters, keep them at least 3 feet away from household combustibles. He also said to use UL rated space heaters only. UL is an independent safety science company that promotes safe living and working environments.
“Always think ‘Safety First’ and take a moment to read the manufacturer’s recommendations,” Guillot said.
While you think about keeping the family safe and warm, don’t forget about the furry family members, pets.
Maria Diamond with the Pearl River County SPCA said to bring pets inside if possible. If not, provide them with a warm shed or doghouse insulated with blankets or hay.
“If your dog or cat spends a lot of time engaged in outdoor activities, increase their supply of food, particularly protein, to keep their fur thick and healthy,” Diamond said.
She also said never shave a dog down to the skin in the winter.
“Leave the coat in a longer style, which provides more warmth” Diamond said. “When you bathe your dog, make sure he is completely dry before you take him out for a walk.”
Be sure to clean up any antifreeze spills from your vehicle because antifreeze, even in tiny doses is lethal to cats and dogs. To prevent poisonings, pet owners can now buy animal-friendly products that contain propylene glycol rather than the traditional products containing ethylene glycol.
If an owner suspects the pet has been poisoned, they should contact their veterinarian immediately.
Lastly, bang loudly on the hood of your car to wake any cats that may have chosen to sleep under the hood of the car to keep warm.
“When the motor is started, the cat can be injured or killed in the fan belt. Banging on your hood or honking the horn will frighten the cat away,” Diamond said.