PREPARING FOR WINTER
Each year, Washington Gas helps customers prepare for the winter heating season. Take simple steps now to help you and your family manage energy costs better and stay safe, warm and energy-smart when temperatures start to drop.
Safety and Energy Efficiency:
Nearly half of your energy budget is spent on heating and cooling so consider the following:
For safety, comfort and energy efficiency, schedule an appointment to have a qualified, licensed natural gas contractor perform a thorough inspection of your natural gas heating equipment, including the furnace, boiler, water heater, all pilot and burner chambers, venting systems and thermostats. Remember that heating contractors get busier as the weather gets cooler, so call today.
Replace your air/furnace filter every month during the heating season to maintain the safe and efficient operation of your heating equipment. Let your natural gas bill be a reminder.
Use the Low or Warm settings on your water heater – never turning it above 120 degrees Fahrenheit. This will improve efficiency and prevent scalding accidents. If you have an automatic dishwasher and the manufacturer recommends a normal temperature setting for your water heater, ask your plumber about anti-scald devices for shower and sink taps.
Caulk, weather-strip and insulate openings where you think air may infiltrate your home. The most common places where air escapes include doors, attics, windows, plumbing penetrations and electrical outlets.
Taking showers instead of baths, washing full loads of dishes and using cold water for full loads of laundry can help to reduce hot water use.
If you are replacing appliances, look for the ENERGY STAR
label for efficiency ratings. Visit www.energystar.gov
for more information.
IMPORTANT WINTER SAFETY TIPS:
Never use your oven or range top to heat your home. Using the oven to heat a room or apartment during winter is dangerous. First, leaving burner flames on and unwatched is a fire hazard. Second, oven burners operating continuously can use up indoor oxygen and lead to the production of deadly carbon monoxide.
Carbon monoxide (CO) is a colorless, odorless and toxic gas. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission
recommends putting CO detectors outside the bedrooms in each separate sleeping area of your home. It also recommends installing smoke alarms on each level of your house and inside every bedroom. For both types of devices, check batteries monthly and replace them at least twice a year.
If you are having trouble paying your gas bill, click here or call us at 703-750-1000 as soon as possible. Washington Gas can provide you with information about the company's payment programs as well as state and federal government energy assistance programs for eligible customers. The sooner you call and notify us of your situation, the better chance we can help you.
Payment Plans and Services:
Washington Gas offers several payment plans and services to help you manage your time and energy costs. The Automated Payment Plan, Budget Plan, eService Center and Automated Services line work well together or separately.
Pay your gas bill automatically each month through the Automated Payment Plan
. Washington Gas continues to send you a statement each month but, on the due date, the amount of the bill will be deducted electronically from your checking account - no check writing, postage or waiting in line. To enroll, click here
or call 703-750-1000
Customers who qualify can take advantage of the Budget Plan
to spread the cost of fall and winter heating over the entire year and lessen the impact of typically higher winter energy bills. For more information or to enroll, click here
or call 703-750-7944
Enjoy the convenience of free, paperless billing with eBill
. For more details about our eBill
program or to enroll, click here
or call the Automated Services Line at 703-750-1000
Download, Energy Saver$ Tips on Saving Energy & Money at Home, at the U.S. Department of Energy's Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy website, www.eere.energy.gov/consumer
, or call 877-337-3463
for a copy.
Go to www.energyhog.org
to learn about energy efficiency through interactive games the entire family can enjoy.
WINTER STORM information
Please review the following information below to help you stay safe during severe winter weather conditions.
WALKING/TRAVELING IN SNOWY OR ICY CONDITIONS
- The risk of personal injury and accidents while driving are increased during snowy and icy weather. Exercise additional caution while performing work and driving during a winter storm.
- When entering and exiting buildings, use handrails and be careful where you step to make sure your footing is secure.
- Wear sturdy shoes that grip in ice and snow.
- Watch for other drivers who may be inexperienced driving in the snow and take time to drive more slowly, allowing adequate time to stop. Give yourself at least three times more space than usual between your car and the car in front of you.
- Brake gently to avoid skidding. If your wheels start to lock up, ease off the brake.
- Turn on headlights to increase your visibility to other motorists.
- Keep lights and windshield clean.
- Use low gears to maintain traction, especially on hills.
- Do not use cruise control or overdrive on icy roads.
- Be especially careful on bridges, overpasses and infrequently traveled roads, which will freeze first. Even at temperatures above freezing, if the conditions are wet, you might encounter ice in shady areas or on exposed bridges and overpasses.
- Do not pass snow plows and sanding trucks. Truck drivers have limited visibility and you are likely to find the road in front of the truck worse than the road behind the truck.
- Do not assume your vehicle can handle all conditions. Four-wheel and front-wheel drive vehicles also can encounter trouble on winter roads.
CLEANING SNOW FROM YOUR GAS METER
To avoid the possibility of an interruption in gas service, Washington Gas would like to remind its customers to clear any accumulated snow from their natural gas meters and regulator vents as well as any appliance exhausts using hands, a brush or broom.
NEVER use a shovel or other hard object to clear the snow from the gas meter, regulator vents or appliance exhausts.
Should you experience an interruption in gas service, please call Washington Gas Customer Service at (703) 750-1000.
ADDITIONAL SAFETY RESOURCES
FEMA: Checklist Before a Winter Storm
FEMA: Checklist During A Winter Storm
FEMA: Portable Generator Safety