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CUB Tips to Stay Warm When it is Dangerously Cold

As dangerously cold wind chills descended on Chicago, Citizen’s Utility Board (CUB) has tips for people to stay safe and warm:

  • Please don’t use your oven or stove to heat your home. If you use a space heater, place it on a hard, level surface; keep it away from flammable objects; and don’t leave it on overnight. The Illinois Department of Public Health recommends setting your thermostat no lower than 66 degrees.
  • Don’t overwork your heating system.
  • Concentrate on keeping comfortable the rooms you use the most. Close doors to other rooms. Close blinds as an extra layer of protection against icy night winds. But open them during the day so sunlight can help heat your home.
  • Downtown Chicago in the winter
    Downtown Chicago in the winter (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

    Reduce the drafts.

  • Pinpoint the drafts in your home. Your hardware store can provide the materials to seal those leaks, but improvise if you have to over the next few days. For example, if you don’t have a door guard or sweep to block cold air under your front and back doors, use a rolled up towel.
  • Clear radiators, registers, air returns and baseboards of obstructions.
  • Dust, carpet and furniture can block the heat and leave a room chilly. You can’t heat your home if the air isn’t circulating.
  • Clean or replace filters for a forced-air heating system.
  • A dirty or nonfunctioning filter does nothing but drain money from your wallet. Check it every month — and now is a great time to clean or replace it if it’s dirty.
  • Circulate the heat with the help of a ceiling fan. In the winter, run the fan clockwise (from your position, looking up at it) to pull warm air down from the ceiling. Turn off the fan when you leave the room.

CUB’s free online service, at, helps consumers build a money-saving energy plan that’s customized for their home. The service rewards participants with gift cards and can show consumers how to cut their bills by hundreds of dollars a year.

  • Check on your neighbors.
  • If you are concerned that neighbors can’t stay warm, check in on them. Call the Illinois Department of Human Services (IDHS), at 1-800-843-6154, to find a warming center near you.

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