JACKSON, Miss. (WJTV) – Winter is here, bringing cold temperatures across Mississippi just in time for Christmas.

Here are some ways that you can prepare for the winter weather later this week.

Prepare for Winter Weather

Keep heating costs in check this season by improving energy efficiency:

  • Seal air leaks. Use caulk or weatherstripping around doors, windows and anywhere that cold air could get in or heat could escape.
  • Adjust the thermostat. Set the thermostat to 68 degrees during winter months, and dress in layers to stay warm. Each degree above 68 can increase your energy bill by about 3%.
  • Conserve hot water. Set your water heater’s thermostat to 120 degrees, or the medium setting. Wrap electric water heaters with water heater blankets, which can be found at home improvement stores.
  • Keep doors and windows closed. Constant traffic will let out warm air, forcing your heater to work harder to keep the room at the set temperature.
  • Ensure fans are turning the right way. Heat rises, so fans should be set to run clockwise at a low speed during the winter to blow the warmer air down on you.
  • Replace air filters. Dirty filters make your heating system work harder. Replace them according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
  • Leverage the sun. During the day, open your curtains and blinds to let in the warm sunlight. Close them at night to reduce heat loss.

Leaders with Atmos said the following tips conserve energy, keep customers warm and stay safe during the winter weather:

  • Never use an oven or a gas stovetop to heat your home.
  • Protect natural gas meters. Natural gas meters are weather-proof; however, to ensure that the meter keeps working smoothly, remove snow and ice from natural gas meters with a broom or brush. Never kick or chip snow and ice away with a hard object.
  • Safely remove snow from vents for dryers and other natural gas equipment. Blocked vents for dryers and other gas appliances can lead to a dangerous buildup of carbon monoxide gas.
  • Minimize the risk of frozen pipes. Leave faucets running at a trickle, leave cabinet doors open, and close all doors and windows to keep heat inside.
  • If you think you smell gas, act fast!  Leave the area immediately and from a safe distance call 911 and the Atmos Energy emergency number, 866.322.8667: https://www.atmosenergy.com/safety/recognizing-leak  
  • These tips and more are available on our Weather Safety page.

Conserve energy:

  • Every degree makes a difference. Save energy and money by lowering your thermostat to at least 68 degrees and 58 degrees when you are away from home.
  • Don’t forget the water heater. Lower your water heater temperature to 120 degrees or set your temperature dial to normal or medium.
  • Harness the power of the sun. Open curtains on your south-facing windows during the day to allow sunlight to naturally heat your home and close them at night to reduce the chill from cold windows.
  • Keep your fireplace damper closed unless a fire is burning. Leaving the damper open is like keeping a window wide open – warm air goes right up the chimney!
  • Change furnace filters once a month during winter. Dirty air filters can lead to dust, dirt, and grime buildup on the heating components, causing the furnace to use more energy and increasing the risk of a malfunction.
  • Unplug electronic devices and turn off lights that are not in use.
  • Make sure air registers and vents are not blocked by furniture or equipment for proper air flow.
  • Install a smart or programmable thermostat to automatically control your heating and cooling temperatures. 
  • Hire a qualified professional to conduct regular maintenance and filter replacement on your HVAC systems. 
  • Weatherize your building by sealing gaps and cracks in windows, doors, exterior walls, and roof penetrations with caulk or weatherstripping.
  • For more ways to save energy and money, please visit atmosenergy.com/energytips.