cold weather tips
Cold weather and winter storms can be a challenge to staying warm and healthy. The following tips can help you stay safe:
- Exposure to cold temperatures can cause serious or life-threatening health problems, including hypothermia. Anyone can be affected, but infants and the elderly are particularly at risk. (See our Take Care in Hot & Cold Weather — Preventing Hyperthermia and Hypothermia brochure)
- Hypothermia is the name given to a dangerously low body temperature that results from prolonged exposure to the cold. The symptoms of hypothermia include confusion, dizziness, exhaustion, severe shivering, and weak pulse.
- When it is extremely cold, or if there are high winds, limit the amount of time you are outdoors. If possible, avoid being outside in the coldest part of the day.
- If you do go outside, dress warmly and stay dry. Dress in layers so you can adjust to changing conditions. Wear a hat that covers your ears, gloves, and a scarf.
- Don’t over do it! Cold weather puts an extra strain on the heart so take it easy when doing outdoor chores, such as shoveling. If you have a heart condition or high blood pressure, follow your doctor’s advice.
- Storms make driving hazardous, so avoid going out if you can. Listen for radio or television reports of travel advisories issued by the National Weather Service.
- If you must drive somewhere, be sure your vehicle has snow tires and take a mobile phone with you. Be sure someone knows your destination and when you expect to arrive. Ask them to notify authorities if you are late.
- Be sure your car has emergency supplies, such as a snow shovel, ice scraper and brush, flashlight and extra batteries, extra windshield washer fluid, and additional warm clothing.
- Be sure your windshield wipers are working properly.
For more cold weather safety tips, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Web site, http://emergency.cdc.gov/disasters/winter.
Conserving Energy When It's Cold
During cold weather, customers can reduce their use of electricity by following these simple energy-saving steps:
- Set your thermostat at 68 degrees during the day and 60 degrees at night. Turning the thermostat back 10 to 15 percent eight hours a day can trim seasonal heating costs up to 10 percent. Thermostats in homes with infants, elderly, or ill individuals should be set higher.
- Before the heating season begins, have your heating system cleaned and inspected by a qualified contractor. A clean, well-maintained system will operate more efficiently and use less fuel.
- Prevent heat loss by sealing air leaks around window and door frames with caulk or weather stripping.
- Retain heat by installing storm or thermal windows and doors, double-paned glass, or plastic sheeting over doors and windows.
- Keep shades and curtains open during the day so the sun can make your home warmer. Close them in the evening to keep the heat in.
- Move drapes or furniture from around radiators so that heat can flow freely.
- Be sure to insulate the attic properly. Since heat rises, adding a layer of insulation to the attic will conserve heat.
- Remove window air conditioner units in the winter. If you can’t, enclose the unit with an air conditioner cover to stop drafts.
Con Edison publishes informational brochures for the safety and convenience of our customers. They include Power Problems: Let Us Know, Life-Sustaining Equipment Survey, Natural Gas — How to Use Less, Save More, Energy Safety — Keeping You And Your Family Safe, and Take Care in Hot & Cold Weather — Preventing Hyperthermia and Hypothermia
To view these brochures and to get information on how to order single copies, click here.