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Tips help save energy as temps drop low

Winter is truly coming this week with below-freezing temperatures forecasted for the next two days.

With such low temperatures around the corner, the City of Troy Utilities Department has some tips for residents to stay safe and to save energy.

Utilities manager Brian Chandler’s most important tip dealt with the usage of space heaters.

“A lot of people use space heaters to heat their homes and unfortunately those are not very energy efficient at all,” Chandler said. “The other thing that they can do is, if one too large is plugged in or too many, they can overload electrical circuits. They’re also very hot on the front side, so you have to be very careful of young children or pets touching them or causing a fire. So you have a fire danger and also have a potential electrical danger.”

As for conserving electricity, Chandler said there were a few simple tips that residents can use.

“Check seals around doors and windows to make sure cold air can’t come in and warm air can’t get out,” Chandler said. “If you have a central heater, make sure that it is serviced because, with a hard freeze coming, those can come on and run for a long period of time. You don’t want a safety hazard to come up while everyone is asleep.

“If you have a fireplace, make sure the damper is closed when its not in use so heat doesn’t escape through the chimney. Also make sure the fireplace is clean so there’s not a fire danger.”

Chandler also talked about what residents need to do about their water.

“Turn exterior water lines off or thoroughly wrap pipes up, especially if you’ll be away,” Chandler said.

Chandler suggested getting foam insulation from a local hardware store. “Those are fairly inexpensive and easy to use.” Other options include old towels and socks. “Anything to help insulate them will work,” Chandler said.

Another option is to run the faucets to lessen he chance of the pipes freezing and breaking.

“You can turn them on where they drip slowly that to keep water moving through your pipes, which makes it more difficult to freeze,” Chandler said.

Although it doesn’t have to do with the freezing temperatures coming up, Chandler stressed safety for people using Christmas lights during the holiday season.

“With it being Christmas time, everyone’s got lights in their yard,” Chandler said. “It’s important not to plug too many into one outlet. Even though LED lights don’t take as much energy, people need to be aware not to plug too much into one outlet at one time.”

The National Weather Service in Birmingham forecasts that temperatures could be as low as 19 degrees in Troy at daybreak on Friday.