We hope you had a wonderful Labor Day weekend! Labor Day is the unofficial end of summer and many people take the time to soak it all in. Perhaps for you that meant a last summer trip, time at the beach, or firing up the grill.
But alas, with the summer winding down, H.O.M.E. will be preparing for cooler weather. As much as we hate to say goodbye to summer, we are beginning to organize groups of volunteers to ready our houses and those of senior homeowners for winter weather. Soon, we’ll be removing window air conditioning units at two of H.O.M.E.’s properties.
Starting on October 1st, we will also be insulating windows to keep the homes of seniors warm and energy costs down. With the help of Peoples Gas, who donated to our volunteer program as well as organized a group of volunteers themselves, H.O.M.E. helped 35 seniors get ready for the harsh winter we faced last year.
If you, too, are thinking of ways to get your home ready for cooler weather, here are a few tips from www.dosomething.org:
Weatherize your Windows
- Caulk, weatherstrip and install storm windows to keep out drafts of cold air in the winter.
- You can also use recycled materials from around the house like newspapers and old tee shirts to fit into the nooks and crannies that let air in or out.
- Take any air conditioners out of the window during the winter to prevent heat from escaping through unsealed space.
- Keep shades open during winter days and closed on summer days or winter nights.
Weatherize your Attic
- Throw old styrofoam in your attic. Just a little can make a big difference in stopping heat from escaping your house. Spread old coolers and packing materials around your attic and let them insulate.
Other tips and tricks to save on energy costs
- Run your ceiling fan in reverse during the winter. Most fans come with a switch to reverse the way the blade spin. Running your fan in reverse when it's cold pushes warm air near the ceiling (remember, heat rises) down to where you are.
- Turn down the temperature on your water heater. Most are automatically set to 140 degrees F, which is hotter than you will likely ever need. Turn the temperature 20 degrees (or more) and save your water heater some work and yourself 10% on heating costs.
- In the winter, lower your thermostat a couple of degrees when you leave the house or go to sleep. And don't forget to lower so much that it won't turn on by accident during the summer.
- Be careful of where you put light sources. Put them in the places where you particularly need them, like your desk, over a counter, and near your favorite reading spot. This way, you can have one light on at a time while you do specific tasks around the house instead of having four lights on trying to keep the whole room bright.
- Wear those ugly Christmas sweaters. Grandma's gift will keep the energy use down. Just make sure no one else is home to see your style choice!
You can also help low-income senior homeowners living in the City of Chicago, south of North Avenue prepare their homes for the harsh winter months by sealing their windows. It's easy, no experience is necessary, and we provide the materials and training. It’s also a great way to get your company, friends, or youth group engaged in the community!