JACKSON, Miss. (WJTV) – Mississippi will begin seeing colder weather soon. CenterPoint Energy leaders are offering tips to keep you and your family safe and warm during cold weather.

Leaders recommend the following to ensure safety and adequate heating:

  • Make sure your heating system is working properly. Malfunctioning home heating equipment can cause a fire or carbon monoxide poisoning. Check that outside furnace vents aren’t blocked by snow or ice. Keep your furnace filter clean for safe and efficient operation.
  • Use space heaters safely. Use a space heater with an automatic shut-off feature. Keep children, pets and all items at least three feet away. A space heater that uses gas, propane or wood should be vented to the outside. Stoves and ovens should never be used for space heating. 
  • Check your carbon monoxide (CO) and smoke alarms. These devices are essential to warn you of a fire or dangerous condition involving a furnace, water heater, fireplace or stove. Test your alarms monthly and change batteries as recommended by the manufacturer. 
  • Immediately report a suspected natural gas leak. If you smell the “rotten egg” odor of natural gas, immediately leave on foot, go to a safe location and call 911. Don’t use electric switches/outlets, phones (including cell phones), drive or start a car inside or in close proximity to the location, or do anything that could cause a spark. 

They recommend the following for efficient heating:

  • Set your thermostat no higher than 68 degrees. If possible, set it at 65 degrees when you are home and 60 degrees when you are away from home.  
  • Lowering your thermostat can help you save on your annual heating costs. Installing a programmable thermostat can help you automatically control your heat usage. Add on extra layers of clothing to keep warm. 
  • Change your air filters monthly. A dirty filter restricts airflow and can increase the operating cost of your furnace by as much as 10 percent. A good reminder is to change the filter each time you receive your natural gas bill.  

Keep cold air from coming into your home with these tips:

  • Seal leaks around doors, windows, and other openings such as pipes or ducts, with caulk or weather-stripping. The most common places where air escapes in homes are floors, walls, ceilings, ducts, fireplaces, plumbing penetrations, doors, windows, fans, vents and electrical outlets.  
  • If it has been a while, consider adding more insulation in your attic. 
  • On sunny days, open draperies and blinds to let the sun’s warmth in. Close them at night to insulate against the cold air outside.