How to Brace for “Bomb Cyclone”
When the bomb cyclone sweeps over the DC area, temperatures might drop further to record-lows in continuation of a cold snap that has punished the U.S. for the past 10 days. The cold has driven up heating fuel demand to unprecedented levels while prices have skyrocketed to rare highs.
Seven Tips to Stay Warm at Home During the Monster Storm
Washington, DC, January 4, 2018 - When the bomb cyclone sweeps over the DC area, temperatures might drop further to record-lows in continuation of a cold snap that has punished the U.S. for the past 10 days. The cold has driven up heating fuel demand to unprecedented levels while prices have skyrocketed to rare highs. "To prepare for the cold, it is helpful to revisit your home's insulation. This can help to keep your home warm and prevent spikes on your heating bill", said Ted Trabue, Managing Director of the DC Sustainable Energy Utility (DCSEU) and he added: “If you see one of our most vulnerable residents outside in the cold without shelter, please call the District of Columbia hypothermia hotline at 202-399-7093 or 311 immediately.”
Here are some tips to keep the heat in and the cold out:
- Protect your windows. If you have functional windows, it makes more financial sense to improve them than to replace them with energy-efficient windows. Caulk any gaps and cracks around window frames. Be sure that windows are fully shut. In the short term, put up interior window plastic, available in kits at hardware stores. In the long-term, if you don't have storm windows, consider them as an option. Also, for drafty doors, use weather-stripping and door sweeps.
- Protect your pipes. Freezing water that expands can break pipes. Turn off and drain pipes that are exposed to the cold, including those outside, in the basement, and running along exterior walls. Consider insulating them or having them drip slightly – running water, even just a little, can prevent them from freezing.
- Feeling a draft? A typical house has many places where air can move between living spaces and the attic, and between the basement and outdoors. The result is colder rooms and higher heating bills. The solution is to seal gaps, use draft snakes, and then put in sufficient, well-installed insulation.
- Let the heat reach you. Bleed radiators regularly so they run efficiently. Vacuum or dust radiators, baseboard heaters, and furnace duct openings often and keep them free of obstructions like furniture, carpets, and drapes.
- Keep your boiler or furnace in shape. Oil-fired heating systems need annual maintenance. Gas systems and heat pumps typically need a checkup every two years. Spending a little on a new filter will go a long way toward maintaining the efficiency of your furnace and decreasing your energy bills.
- Be careful with space heaters. According to the Department of Energy (DOE), thousands of fires and injuries, as well as hundreds of deaths are associated with space heaters every year. If you are using an electric space heater, be sure to use a newer model that carries the Underwriter’s Laboratory (UL) label. Locate the heater so children and pets cannot reach it and do not leave it out of sight. Use with caution.
- Keep the lights on. In case of a power outage, have a flashlight ready. Do not use candles due to the risk of fire. While the power is gone, unplug all of your devices as the sudden power surge when the electricity comes back can damage your electronics.
About the DC Sustainable Energy Utility (DCSEU)
The District of Columbia Sustainable Energy Utility (DCSEU) helps DC residents and businesses use less energy and save money. Since 2011, as a contractor to the District Department of Energy & Environment (DOEE), the DCSEU has delivered financial incentives, technical assistance, and information to tens of thousands of District residents and businesses, helping them to save millions of dollars on their energy costs. Our work is building a brighter economic, environmental, and energy future for the District. For more information, visit www.dcseu.com.
PR Project Manager, DCSEU