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Hunters reminded to inspect cabin heating systems ahead of deer season

hunting cabin in the woods.
Hunting cabin in the woods.

It’s a safety precaution just as important as wearing blaze orange. As one of Minnesota’s signature traditions returns, Minnesota Energy Resources is urging deer hunters to thoroughly inspect their cabin’s heating system before heading into the woods.

Hunters can take simple steps to avoid a dangerous or even fatal buildup of carbon monoxide. The invisible, odorless gas is created by improper venting or burning of fuel.

To prevent a buildup of carbon monoxide, hunters should:

  • Install carbon monoxide detectors inside their cabins, or check existing detectors to ensure they are working properly.
  • Check heating vents, flues and chimneys, and clear them of any animal nests or debris.
  • Never use a portable electric generator indoors.

It’s also important to learn to recognize the symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning.

Symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning include:

  • A sudden flu-like illness
  • Dizziness, headaches or sleepiness
  • Cherry-red lips and an unusually pale complexion
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • A fluttering heartbeat
  • Unconsciousness

If you suspect you may be suffering from carbon monoxide poisoning, move into fresh air as quickly as possible and call 911. For more safety tips, visit our website.

 

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Air sealing and insulating your home for cold Minnesota winters

person installing rolls of insulation to an attic floor
Installing rolls of insulation to an attic floor.

Long, frigid Minnesota winters are a good reason for homeowners to consider energy efficiency improvements that will keep the cold air out and the warm air in. Upgrading your home’s air sealing and insulation will increase comfort and save you money for years to come.

How to know if your home needs air sealing and insulation

According to www.energystar.gov air leakage accounts for between 25% and 40% of the energy used for heating and cooling in a typical residence. It is also estimated that 9 out of 10 homes are not properly insulated. So, how can you determine if you need to improve your home’s air sealing and insulation?

Ask yourself these three questions:

  1. Do you have hot and cold spots throughout your home?
  2. Do you have higher than normal heating and cooling bills?
  3. Do you have drafty rooms or cold walls?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, it’s worth further investigation. If your house is drafty, it is likely a sign of air leaks.

Insulate and eliminate air leaks to conserve energy

One of the most common areas in your home for air leakage is around your windows and doors. Air can seep out from other areas in your house such as where your plumbing, ducting or electrical wiring comes in through walls, floors, ceilings and soffits over cabinets. Proper sealing with caulking and weatherstripping is a highly effective way to seal these small leaks and increase your home’s energy efficiency. Taking care of any drafts around windows and doors is a good step. However, your biggest savings will come from addressing the big leaks in your home, which are often hidden in the attic and basement. An in-home energy-saving audit will help you identify where the big leaks in your home are located and provides prioritized improvement recommendations.

The type and amount of insulation you have in your home also plays an important role in how your home uses energy. Most commonly, insulation is used in attics, ceilings, walls, floors and crawl spaces to help maintain more constant, comfortable temperatures in your home. Unless your home was specially constructed for energy efficiency, you can likely reduce your energy bills simply by adding more insulation. Sealing and insulating your home is one of the most cost-effective ways to make your home more comfortable and energy efficient.

Rebates from Minnesota Energy Resources

Fortunately, valuable rebates are available to help offset the costs of air sealing and insulation. We recommend following these important steps to qualify:

  1. Request an in-home energy-saving audit. This service not only includes mandatory blower door test for rebate eligibility, but it can help you identify insulation and air sealing improvements specific to your home.
  2. Select an authorized insulation contractor to ensure that you are using a qualified contractor and that the work performed will meet rebate requirements.
  3. Have the authorized insulation contractor perform the work and help fill out the rebate form.
  4. Collect your rebate, lower your monthly natural gas bill and make your home more comfortable.

In addition to air sealing and insulation rebates, Minnesota Energy Resources offers additional rebates and programs, making it easy to upgrade, conserve energy and realize long-term savings.

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Nationwide natural gas price spike expected to mean higher heating bills this winter

Minnesota Energy Resources reminds customers assistance is available

Natural gas flame.

Rosemount — As we head into winter, Minnesota Energy Resources is letting customers know that their heating bills will likely rise as the temperatures fall — it’s due to a nationwide spike in natural gas prices.

The price of natural gas has more than doubled this year and currently sits at the highest level in a decade. This increase is mainly due to tight supplies as well as a worldwide increase in demand for natural gas.

An analysis done by Minnesota Energy Resources predicts the typical residential customer will pay $44 more a month this winter compared to last year. The analysis assumes typical winter weather.

Natural gas is a pass-through expense; Minnesota Energy Resources does not earn a profit on the gas it purchases for its customers.

Working on behalf of customers

Minnesota Energy Resources uses a proactive, multi-pronged approach to make sure customers have the reliable and affordable energy they need, while limiting the impact of sudden price changes. The company buys and stores gas when it is typically lower priced, locks in guaranteed natural gas contracts at fixed prices and purchases gas in the market. This approach is estimated to lower this winter’s gas costs for Minnesota Energy Resources customers by 15%.

Assistance available

More Minnesotans than ever before qualify for the state’s Energy Assistance Program. The Minnesota Department of Commerce estimates 600,000 households are income eligible to receive federal funding. Customers can receive up to $1,600 to help pay their energy bills.

Customers can visit https://www.minnesotaenergyresources.com/payment-bill/lieap for more information on energy assistance.

Any customers who are having a difficult time paying their energy bill should contact Minnesota Energy Resources as soon as possible to discuss available options including flexible payment plans and budget billing.

Managing energy use

Customers can take steps to manage their energy use by turning down their thermostats, sealing gaps around windows and doors and scheduling an annual furnace tuneup. There are also a number of energy efficiency rebates available. For more low and no cost energy-saving tips visit https://www.minnesotaenergyresources.com/savings/.

 

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Minnesota Energy Resources awards $10,000 to help first responders purchase lifesaving equipment

Altura Fire Department
Altura Fire Department

Minnesota Energy Resources is helping the brave individuals who work to keep our communities safe every day by awarding five local fire departments its Rewarding Responders Grant. This year, each department will receive a share of nearly $10,000 to purchase lifesaving equipment.

“Each year, this grant is a chance for us to say thank you to our first responders for their tireless efforts to keep our communities safe,” said Tom Rice, vice president — Minnesota Energy Resources. “We’re proud to support these everyday heroes by providing them the essential tools they need to continue to perform at the highest level.”

Canby Fire Department
Canby Fire Department
This year’s recipients are:
  • Altura Fire Department — Firehose nozzles
  • Canby Fire Department — Firehose testing equipment
  • Cottage Grove Fire Department — Firehose nozzles
  • Hinckley Fire Department — Traffic safety equipment
  • Mora Area Fire Department — Gas detector

Grants help Minnesota communities

The Rewarding Responders Grant helps strengthen public safety in communities served by Minnesota Energy Resources. Since the program began in 2015, Minnesota Energy Resources has awarded more than $76,000 to dozens of emergency response agencies.

To receive a grant, police departments, fire departments or emergency medical service agencies must operate in the Minnesota Energy Resources service area, and must demonstrate the equipment or training they wish to purchase is part of a well-planned public safety initiative.

More information about the grant.

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Conserve and save with our rebates and programs

natural gas blue flame stovetop
Conserving natural gas is good for the environment and your wallet. We make it easy to get started.

Why is it important to conserve natural gas?

Natural gas is a limited natural resource, meaning there is only a finite amount available. Reducing natural gas usage decreases your overall carbon footprint, helps you save money on utility bills and overall energy costs.

Home energy audit

Enlist the help of an energy expert and sign up for a low-cost in-home energy-saving audit. An energy auditor will analyze your home and provide energy efficiency suggestions to improve the comfort, durability, safety and affordability of your home. They’ll review your natural gas bill to understand how much energy your home uses and provide energy-efficient showerheads, faucet aerators, pipe insulation and other weatherization items. Your energy expert will also provide prioritized recommendations showing you where you can get the most savings for your investment.

Other ways to conserve with upgrades

Homeowners can conserve natural gas by upgrading appliances, and water and heating equipment to more energy-efficient models. This includes natural gas heating systems and natural gas water heaters. Upgrading dishwashers, clothes washers, and even faucet aerators and showerheads can also impact natural gas usage by conserving hot water when your home uses a natural gas water heater. Replacing your thermostat with a model that schedules when your home is heated and improving your home’s air sealing and insulation can also help reduce the amount of natural gas you use.

We offer rebates and programs that make it easy to upgrade, conserve energy and realize long-term savings. Start lowering your energy bills and cash in on valuable rebates today.

*Program is subject to change or end any time without notice.