Protecting your home from freezing temperatures

HUNTSVILLE Ala. -- These below freezing temperatures can be dangerous for your home and painful for your wallet. The cold weather has us cranking up our thermostats which is creating a high demand for energy.

The Director of Communications and Public Relations for Huntsville Utilities, Joe Gehrdes, said people in this area typically have heat pumps, which don't work efficiently when we reach below freezing temperatures. At that point the emergency heat comes on.

"That's electric heat," Gehrdes said. "Electric heat consumes about five to ten more electricity than your heat pump does when it's functioning properly."

He said electric bills will reflect that. "That puts a high demand on the system and can cause problems," Gehrdes said.

He said TVA and Huntsville Utilities are ready, but has some advice for protecting your property.

He said if you are leaving your home for an extended period of time, turn your thermostat down a little bit, but not off to avoid freezing pipes.

"Especially in the nighttime hours, leave about a pencil tip thin stream of water flowing in one of your water fixtures. Preferably the one closest to where the water service enters the home," Gehrdes said.
He also recommended checking to make sure windows and doors are closed all the way and using weather stripping to keep the warmth inside your home. Gehrdes also said to make sure your carbon monoxide detectors are functioning and to be aware of all safety precautions if you're using a space heater.