Home energy tips for older adults

MECOSTA COUNTY — Everyone appreciates a warm, comfortable home during the cold winter months. Yet with escalating energy costs, many older Americans will find it a challenge to keep up with home heating bills this winter. With a little planning and preparation, seniors can reduce the amount they owe and still stay warm during the winter.

  • Check with your gas, water and electricity suppliers to see if they offer a monthly budget plan to help spread out energy costs throughout the year. Often they have special heating assistance funds, as well as “no cut off ” guidelines to avoid termination of service for older adults, people with disabilities and ill customers who may have difficulty paying their bills.
  • Utility companies also are a great source for energy conservation information. They might be able to refer you to an expert to inspect your home for ways to make it more energy efficient, or provide a list of contractors to tune up your furnace so that it operates at peak efficiency.
  • To ensure health and safety avoid using a stove or oven to heat the home. Insulate water pipes to avoid freezing and bursting. When freezing temperatures are expected, leave water taps slightly open so they drip continuously.
  • Make sure that smoke and carbon monoxide detectors are installed and working properly. Have a fire extinguisher ready to use. Fire extinguishers should be inspected at least once a year to assure they will operate effectively and safely when needed. Consult your telephone directory or local fire department for fire extinguisher service. Before you need them, consider alternative arrangements should extreme weather conditions require emergency action.

 

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Posted by Lonnie Allen

Lonnie is the Pioneer's city/county reporter. He also coordinates the Gardens and Growers page. He can be reached by phone at (231) 592-8328 or by e-mail at lallen@pioneergroup.com.

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