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GRU Advises Customers to Take Precautions for Cold Weather

11/18/2014

A hard freeze warning has been issued for Alachua County for Tuesday night and Wednesday morning. Now is a good time to review winter safety tips. GRU advises customers to observe the following precautions:

Water Pipe Safety

  • To prevent flooding from frozen pipes, cover all exposed outside pipes with insulation, thermal tape, cloth or several layers of newspaper.
  • Keep a slow but steady stream of water running through exposed pipes.
  • Disconnect and drain all hoses from outside faucets.
  • Winterize your in-ground irrigation system.

Natural Gas Safety

  • If you smell the “rotten egg” odor of gas in your home, quickly go outside to a safe location and call 911. Do not operate any electrical switches, and leave the door open on the way out.
  • Purchase and install a carbon monoxide detector that meets UL Standards. If the detector’s alarm sounds, go outside immediately and call 911.
  • Never use an oven to heat your home. Running a gas oven with the door open can cause it to malfunction and produce carbon monoxide.

Electric Safety

  • Check space heaters to make sure they are operating properly and their cords are not frayed.
  • Never operate a space heater near curtains or other flammable materials.
  • Do not overload power strips beyond their ratings.

GRU also advises customers to implement the following energy-efficiency measures to keep heating costs down this winter:

  • Set thermostats to 68 degrees or lower when heating. Bills can increase up to 4 percent for each degree above the recommended setting of 68 degrees.
  • With a furnace or standard electric heating, turn the system off or down when you will be away from home for longer than two hours.
  • Customers with heat pumps should set their thermostats to 68 degrees or lower to avoid using the emergency heat setting.
  • Dress for the weather. Sweaters, slippers and afghans can keep you comfortable while keeping the home at 68 degrees. An extra blanket at night can help you stay warm when you lower the thermostat.
  • Check heating system filters once a month and clean or replace as needed.
  • Upon request, trained GRU staff will inspect your home or business and its equipment at no charge and offer customized suggestions for reducing your utility bill. Call 352-393-1460 for more information.