Get ready for the deep freeze with energy-saving tips

by Rachel Hansen | Jan 11, 2024

WENATCHEE, WA – Chelan PUD has a few tips on how to keep your home cozy without cranking up the thermostat this weekend.

  • Door socks: Place blankets or towels by the door to prevent the cold air from drafting in and the heat from escaping.
  • Close the shades: Close your drapes to retain heat. If it’s sunny during the day, open the drapes to capture warmth from the sun.
  • Better air flow: Replace your air filter. Clogged filters make your heating system less efficient. Keep doors open in your house (unless you have baseboards or other zonal heat).
  • AC units are out: If you still have an AC unit in your window, remove it and close the window.
  • Dress warmer or put an extra blanket on the bed. It’s less expensive than turning up the heat.
  • Close the damper: Fireplaces are designed to move heat quickly up the chimney. When you’re not using it, keep it closed so it doesn’t suck the heat out of your home.
  • Lower your water heater temperature: Keep the water heater temperature at 125 degrees to conserve energy.
  • Close foundation vents for winter. If your vents don’t close, taping a piece of plastic on the outside will help considerably.

Residential Energy Efficiency Adviser Josh Mitchell cautions against switching heat pump systems to e-heat or auxiliary heat, which uses a lot more energy.

“You will hear your heat pump working to keep your home warm and that is what it is designed to do,” Mitchell said. “If you notice ice building up and it has gone through a defrost cycle or two; this is when you may consider switching to auxiliary heat mode. Just don’t forget to switch it back when it warms up.”

Prevent your pipes from freezing:

  • When the weather is at its coldest, let the hot and cold water at an inside faucet drip continuously to keep water moving.
  • Check the water shut-off valve in your home to make sure it works.
  • Open cupboard doors under sinks, especially where plumbing is in outside walls, to let interior heat warm the pipes.
  • Insulate hot and cold pipes in unheated areas, such as the garage, crawl space or attic. 

If the power goes out:

The electrical grid works twice as hard to keep everyone warm in single-digit temperatures. As the demand for electricity increases, so does stress on the equipment that delivers electricity. If the power goes out, check for updates on Chelan PUD’s outage map: If you don’t see an outage on the map, call the 24/7 outage line at 877-783-8123 to report it.

These tips can help keep you safe, and help PUD crews safely restore power as quickly as possible:

  • Turn off all but one light – on the porch or inside where it can be seen from the street – so you and PUD crews know when power is restored.
  • Prevent cold-load pickup: When power is restored after an outage, sometimes the pent-up electrical demand can overload the system and result in another outage. For the first two hours after power is restored, keep use of non-heating appliances to a minimum.
  • Never use fuel-burning devices, like gasoline-powered generators, camp stoves and lanterns, or charcoal grills inside, or in any confined space, or within 10 feet of windows, doors, or other air intakes. Using these items in your home can produce carbon monoxide, which can be deadly. 
  • If you plan to use a portable generator, make sure you plug appliances directly into the generator. Or, make sure your home is disconnected from the PUD’s electric system with a transfer switch installed by a licensed electrician.

DO NOT go near, touch or try to move any lines on the ground or trees tangled in them – stay far away and call the PUD at 877-783-8123 or 9-1-1 for help!

Find more tips on “weathering” a cold snap at

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Media contacts

Rachel Hansen: (509) 661-4320
Libby Siebens: (509) 661-8291

Outages or Emergencies

Visit our Safety and Outage Center for information, or to report an outage, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, call 1-877-PUD-8123.


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