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5 Things for Jan. 4: Slash Your Foxborough Utility Bills, Win Patriots Tickets, Live Music & More

Here's five things you need to know in Foxborough for today, Jan. 4.

Editor's note: Five Things You Need To Know Today is a Patch column that provides readers with essential, daily information at a glance. If you know of something happening in town that did not make our list, please add it in the comment section!

1. Expect a Sunny Friday with a High Near 37 in Foxborough

Today’s weather in Foxborough, according to the National Weather Service based in Taunton, calls for mostly sunny, with a high near 37. West wind 7 to 14 mph, with gusts as high as 26 mph. Friday night: Mostly clear, with a low around 21. West wind 10 to 13 mph.

2. Slash Your Foxborough Utility Bills

Winter is here and along with it, the traditional drop in temperatures and rising cost of utilities. 

If saving money is on your list of New Year’s resolutions, then follow National Grid's tips to cut energy costs and increase efficiency in your home in 2013.

Tune up for efficiency

  • Maintaining an efficient heating system is an important step to conserving energy. Have your heating system serviced once every two years, and never try to repair it yourself.
  • Have your chimney flue, space heaters, water heater and fireplace checked.
  • If your heating system has a filter, clean or replace it every month during the heating season.
  • Your furnace or boiler needs air to work properly (and efficiently). Don't close it off with walls, debris or other obstructions.

Turn down for savings

  • For every 1°F that you dial down your thermostat, you can save one to three percent on your annual heating costs.
  • Turn down the thermostat every time you leave the house for two or more hours, and every night before you go to bed. It takes less energy to warm up a cool house than to maintain a warm temperature all day and night.
  • Installing an automatic setback thermostat is an inexpensive, easy way to maintain comfort and cut heating costs. You can program it to turn the heating system up and down at pre-set times.

Insulate

  • Insulate your attic, walls, ceilings and floors to prevent heat escaping to the outdoors. Insulation improves your comfort as well as the efficiency of your home - and that means more savings for you.
  • Apply the same principle to your personal comfort. Wear several layers of clothing to keep yourself warmer while keeping the thermostat down.
  • Take advantage of the sun: open drapes during the day to capture warmth and close them at night to prevent heat loss through windows.

Seal air leaks

  • Cold air let in by air leaks can increase your energy use, so seal all holes and cracks where cold air can get in.
  • It's especially important to caulk windows and weatherstrip around door frames. Also, replace any broken panes on storm doors and windows.
  • Other air-sealing tips including shutting off heat to unused rooms and closing the fireplace damper.
  • Remove window air conditioning units during the cold months to reduce drafts. If this isn't possible, cover the inside and outside of the unit with plastic.
  • You can also move furniture to warmer spots in the room to avoid cold drafts and stay more comfortable.
  • Install an ENERGY STAR® programmable thermostat
: Program your ENERGY STAR certified thermostat to turn on and off automatically. For example, set the thermostat to turn off an hour after you go to bed and back on one hour before you wake up. Remember, each degree you lower your thermostat can save you up to 2 percent on your heating costs.
  • Clean or replace your furnace filter regularly
: A dirty filter prevents proper airflow, makes your heater run longer and uses more energy. By simply cleaning/replacing the filter in forced-air heating systems you can save up to 5 percent on your heating costs.
  • Annual heating system tune-up
: Have your heating system professionally checked once a year to keep the unit running efficiently. Make sure there are no leaks in your ducts. Leaky or disconnected air ducts can cause you to loose 10 to 30 percent of your heating energy. Why let all that heat blow outdoors?
  • Lower the temperature on your water heater. 
Reduce your water heater thermostat to 120 degrees or to the low/medium setting. If you have a dishwasher without a built-in heating unit, 140 degrees is recommended (refer to your owner's manual). Each 10-degree reduction will save 3 to 5 percent on water heating costs.
  • Install high efficiency showerheads and faucet aerators
: Save up to 50 percent on hot water costs and reduce water waste by installing high efficiency showerheads and faucet aerators.
  • Take a shorter shower
: Reduce that lingering time in the shower by a few minutes and save hundreds of gallons of hot water per month for a family of four. Showers account for 66 percent of your water heating costs. Cutting your showers in half will reduce your heating costs by 33 percent.
  • Insulate with window coverings: Close blinds and drapes at night to keep cold air out and open them during the day to let the warm sun in.
  • Insulate your attic and walls and get a rebate: Insulation is one of the least expensive things that you can do to reduce energy usage and improve comfort. Adequate insulation above the ceiling and in the walls does the same thing for your house that wearing a hat and sweater does for you----keeps the heat in and the cold out! Proper insulation can save up to 30 percent on your heating bills and will make your home more comfortable in the process. 

Unplug electronics when not in use: TVs, computers, chargers, etc.

3. School Committee Policy Subcommittee Meets

The Foxborough School Committee policy subcommittee will meet Friday at 9 a.m. at the Igo Administration Building in the Superintendent’s Conference Room to review and discuss policies.

4. Patriot Place Events:

  • Lucky Lunch at CBS Scene - You could win playoff tickets: Join CBS Scene weekdays for lunch now through Friday, Jan. 11th between open and 4 p.m. and enter to win a pair of tickets to the Jan. 13th playoff game, including a $100 CBS Scene gift card and exclusive reservations on game day.
  • 9:30 p.m. – Natalie Turgeon Band: The Natalie Turgeon Band will be performing live at Toby Keith’s I Love This Bar & Grill.

5. National Weather Service Offers Tips for Dealing with Extreme Cold

The National Weather Service has provided some tips on dealing with very cold temperatures: 

  • Minimize outdoor activities, especially for the elderly and very young.
  • Dress in several layers of loose-fitting clothing rather than a single layer of heavy clothing. Wear a hat, mittens and waterproof boots. Cover your mouth with a scarf to protect your lungs.
  • When using heating sources such as fireplaces, wood stoves and space heaters, be sure to ventilate them correctly. Test smoke alarms and keep carbon monoxide detectors handy.
  • Bring pets out of the cold. Don't assume they can handle the cold. If you are not warm, they are not either.
  • Avoid overexertion when shoveling snow. Overexertion can bring on a heart attack—a major cause of death in the winter. If you must shovel snow, stretch before going outside.
  • Keep dry. Change wet clothing frequently to prevent a loss of body heat. Wet clothing loses all of its insulating value and transmits heat rapidly.
  • Watch for signs of frostbite. These include loss of feeling and white or pale appearance in extremities such as fingers, toes, ear lobes, and the tip of the nose. If symptoms are detected, get medical help immediately.

Watch for signs of hypothermia. These include uncontrollable shivering, memory loss, disorientation, incoherence, slurred speech, drowsiness, and apparent exhaustion. If symptoms of hypothermia are detected, get the victim to a warm location, remove wet clothing, warm the center of the body first and give warm, non-alcoholic beverages if the victim is conscious. Get medical help as soon as possible

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