Extremely cold weather is forecast for the next few days.Southwestern Electric Power Company has some energy saving tips for you to consider during the cold months of January and February.

For economy, set the thermostat to 68 degrees and then leave it alone. Each degree above that adds to your cost and does not heat your home any faster. A five degree lower setting will conserve energy when you plan to be away for the day.

Keep the filter clean. Check your filters once a month and replace when needed. Dirty filters cause the equipment to work harder and use more electricity. The entire heating system should be inspected and serviced each year to operate at maximum efficiency.

Weatherstrip doors and windows to prevent air leaks. Check caulking around windows, doors, and other parts of the house. Air leakage through small cracks and holes in a home's exterior is a major reason for heat loss in the winter. Make sure all doors and windows are closed when the heating unit is operating.

Open curtains and blinds on the sunny side of the house and allow the sunshine into the home. Otherwise keep shades closed to help keep the warm air inside.

Inspect the attic: Heat rising through the ceiling into the attic is another major source of heat loss. Check the duct insulation to see that all tears are taped and the insulation is securely wrapped around the ducts. Over time, ducts that are not properly sealed can leak as much as 25 percent of heated air into the attic.

When the fireplace is not in use be sure the damper is tightly closed. Glass fireplace doors are also good for additional savings.

SWEPCO encourages its customers to have blankets, flashlights, bottled water, portable radios and TVs, and a supply of fresh batteries on hand if the power should go off due to any winter storms that may hit the area.

If bad weather does hit and you lose power you can report that to the electric company 24 hours a day at 1-888-218-3919.

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