The official arrival of summer this week also marks the season of high temperatures and thunderstorms. UGI encourages residents to be mindful of safe energy practices during the summer months.
Using Energy Safely
- Summer is a time for landscaping and other outdoor improvement projects. UGI reminds all individuals doing excavation work to call to 8-1-1 at least three days before starting a digging project to have underground utilities marked. Every digging project, no matter the size, warrants a call to 811. Installing a mailbox, putting in a fence, building a deck and even small projects like planting trees or shrubs are all examples of digging projects that require a call to 8-1-1 before starting. There is no charge for 8-1-1 requests.
- Pools and water hoses help keep us cool and provide enjoyment, but can also pose hazards near electric plugs. Use covers on outdoor power outlets, especially near swimming pools. Keep cords and electrical devices away from the water, and never handle electrical items before you’ve dried off.
- Lightning associated with summer storms can damage electric equipment. Use a ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) to help prevent electrical shock injuries. These devices interrupt the flow of power when they sense a surge.
- Summer storms can also cause power outages. If you depend on medical equipment for life-support, we recommend that you purchase a back-up power supply during an emergency.
- If you use a generator during an outage, please make sure it is used safely by following the manufacturer’s instructions on proper venting and operation.
- UGI also recommends customers prepare for potential power outages by creating an emergency outage kit, including flashlights with fresh batteries, non-perishable food that does not require heating, a first-aid kit and prescription medication, an extra set of keys and key contact information.
Staying Safe During Heat Waves
To avoid heat stress during extreme heat, UGI offers the following guidelines:
- Drink cool water. If you are working in a hot environment, you should drink cool water frequently in small amounts, totaling one cup every 20 minutes. Avoid alcohol, coffee, tea and caffeinated beverages, which can cause dehydration.
- Wear lightweight, loose-fitting, light-colored clothing. Change clothing if yours gets saturated. Wear a hat and apply sunscreen to exposed areas when outside.
- Older adults and people with chronic health problems should stay indoors and in the coolest available place.
- Stay indoors, if possible. If air conditioning is not available, stay on the lowest floor, out of the sun. Do not spend long periods of time in the direct sun.
- If possible, work or play in the cooler hours of the day.
Using Energy Wisely
UGI encourages residents to use energy wisely this summer. Here are some easy and inexpensive conservation tips.
- Install a programmable thermostat and raise the setting to the highest comfortable temperature. You can save three-to-five percent on your air conditioning costs for each degree you raise the thermostat.
- Close doors leading to uncooled parts of your home. If you have central air conditioning, close off vents to unused rooms. Keep filters clean.
- Even if you have air conditioning, use ceiling fans to provide additional cooling and better circulation.
- Seal holes and cracks around doors and windows. Eliminate air leaks around window air conditioners with foam insulation or weather-stripping.
- Close blinds, shades and draperies facing the sun to keep out the sun’s heat and help fans and air conditioners cool more efficiently.
- Use timers and motion detectors on indoor and outdoor lighting.
- If possible, install whole-house fans that bring in cooler night-time air that can pre-cool a house and reduce energy use in the daytime if heat is kept out by closing windows and shades.
- Avoid placing lamps or TV sets near your room air-conditioning thermostat. The thermostat senses heat from these appliances, which can cause the air conditioner to run longer than necessary.
- Vacuum registers regularly to remove any dust buildup. Ensure that furniture and other objects are not blocking the airflow through your registers.
- Install efficient lighting that runs cooler. Only about 10% to 15% of the electricity that incandescent lights consume results in light—the rest is turned into heat.
And finally, be mindful of natural gas safety practices. As you use natural gas to fuel appliances such as ranges and hot water heaters, be aware that a harmless odor, which smells like rotten eggs, is added to natural gas to help detect a gas leak. If you smell the odor of natural gas, leave the building immediately and take everyone with you. Do not use the phone, light a match, or switch anything on or off. Once in a location where the odor of gas is no longer present, call UGI. UGI’s emergency response number is 1-800-276-2722. UGI will send a service technician to investigate the odor immediately. Emergency response is available 24-hours a day, every day. Your safety is always our top priority.
UGI Utilities is a natural gas and electric utility with headquarters in Reading, Pennsylvania. UGI serves 670,000 customers in 45 Pennsylvania counties and one county in Maryland. Customers and community members are invited to visit the UGI website at www.ugi.com; our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/ugiutilities; or follow us on Twitter at www.twitter.com/ugi_utilities.
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