South Carolina is not a place you tend to think of as having severe winter weather. But even if we’re not likely to be shoveling snow every day, winter weather in the Upstate can place a strain on public infrastructure and your utilities at home.
Planning for low temperatures and potential winter storms is crucial for making it through the winter safely and energy-efficiently.
Consider the process of heating your home. In order to heat your home, your heat pump takes cold air from outside to heat the inside. When temperatures drop below 35 degrees, heat pumps are compensated with auxiliary heat through emergency heating strips. This is typically indicated on your thermostat by a red light or a digital display of “AUX” or “AUX HEAT.” This can lead to increased energy costs.
Instead of waiting until a potentially high bill is in your mailbox, be proactive. There are things you can do now to help ensure you are managing your energy use and spending less.
Make sure you change your air filter once a month. Be sure to keep drapes closed at night and keep those that don’t get direct sunlight closed during the day, too. It helps to caulk around the fireplace hearth and caulk or weatherstrip around doors and windows. If we’ve had a few days of frigid temperatures, you can try to save on days that are milder. As always, you can log in to your SmartHub account to monitor your use.
To ensure your safety, limit your use of space heaters. Though they are an alternative source of heat, they require constant attention and their efficiency and fire and burn risk make them a safety hazard.
Stay informed about the weather in your area. If you’re warned about an approaching storm that could cause power outages, make sure you have flashlights, fresh batteries and a battery-operated radio. Make sure to have plenty of food and water available. Use portable chargers to make sure your phone, tablets and other devices are charged. Visit our Storm Center for a full storm preparation checklist.
When power lines are down, residents can restore energy to their homes or other structures by using another power source such as a portable generator. If it is necessary to use a portable generator, manufacturer recommendations and specifications must be strictly followed. If there are any questions regarding the operation or installation of the portable generator, a qualified electrician should be contacted to assist with installation and start-up.
To report an outage, call 1 (866) 266-7688. You can also report your outage using SmartHub. We would like to remind our members to make sure that Broad River Electric has their most current contact information. When you call to report a power outage from the same phone number that is on your account, it automates the reporting to our Outage Management System and helps in our response time.
If you want to know more about saving electricity and money, your friends at Broad River are here to help. Contact us at 1 (866) 687-2667.