How Caregivers Can Help the Elderly with Rising Energy Bills

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Thermostat preventing rising energy billsAs the population ages, we need to spend more time caring for those who cared for us. The senior generations often struggle more than working Americans, due to their limited incomes. One of the best ways to assist them financially is to help them cut costs with rising energy bills.

Energy is one of the biggest expenses we face each month. Here are the best ways to help drive down energy bills for elderly tenants and loved ones.

  1. Reseal the rental unit. Drafts and leaks around windows and doors can account for a large chunk of the energy bill, without anyone realizing it. Check the frames for any signs of drafts. If you feel air moving, new silicone or weatherstripping can make a quick fix of the problem. If the unit has a drafty attic or second floor, be sure to take extra precautions – it may be time for new insulation as well.
  1. Use certain appliances at night, whenever possible. It’s no secret the oven generates a lot of heat. Using the oven in the middle of the day makes the air conditioner work even harder. Instead, try using the oven and clothes dryer at night. The ambient heat given off by the appliances can help heat up the unit during evening hours when temperatures are cooler.
  1. Use cold water for laundry. This is a simple change any elderly tenant can make. Cold water, instead of hot, can save as much as $150 per year. Plus, modern appliances and detergents ensure clothes are clean, even when washed in cold water.

Another laundry tip is to air dry clothes when possible. Studies have shown that you can save nearly a dollar per day by hanging laundry to dry instead of using a clothes dryer. Whether in the house or outside, it’s a simple change to make.

  1. Use smaller appliances. Is your elderly tenant or relative heating up the whole stove to bake one chicken breast? That wasted energy adds up quickly. Crockpots, toaster ovens, and microwaves are smaller, more energy-efficient options that can significantly cut costs.
  1. Replace air filters frequently. Air filters should be replaced once a month. Keeping them clean helps reduce allergens and bacteria that can lead to allergies or make tenants sick. A clean air filter also lessens the strain on the HVAC unit. When the filter is clogged with hair and dirt, the system is forced to pull harder to circulate air. A good replacement schedule can significantly cut costs and energy consumption.
  1. Add a limiting thermostat. Oftentimes, the biggest portion of energy used is to heat or cool a unit. Unfortunately, many people don’t realize what a big difference a few degrees can make toward their overall energy costs. A Chicago Controls limiting thermostat, like the HC7376 thermostat for elderly, gives you the ability to ensure your senior tenant’s unit stays comfortable while saving energy. This pre-programmed tamper-proof thermostat limits the heat setting to 73 degrees and the AC setting to 76 degrees for elderly residents who appreciate a slightly warmer environment.