Prepare your home for the coming winter season

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October is also known as National Weatherization Month and Energy Awareness Month and with temperatures cooling and winter approaching, experts say now is the time to weather your home. .

“When you weather your home, you can save money on your utilities by using less energy,” said Emily Bronkema, weather intake specialist at the Northwest Michigan Community Action Agency, in a report. -mail. “In fact, thanks to bloat improvements and upgrades, a single household can save $ 283 or more per year on average. It also includes better air quality by restoring ventilation, which means fewer missed workdays and fewer doctor visits over time. It also means a lot to communities by stimulating economic growth and reducing environmental impact. ”

The “Old Farmer’s Almanac of 2022” predicts a cold winter for Michigan and much of the northern United States. Across much of the Upper Peninsula and northern Lower Peninsula, the almanac predicts a cold and wet winter.

Janice Stillman, editor of The Old Farmer’s Almanac, said in a press release that the coming winter could “be one of the longest and coldest we have seen in years.”

A longer, colder winter means that the heat in homes will increase more than usual. Not only can weatherizing your home save you money, but according to the National Association for State Community Services Programs, you can sleep better, symptoms can be reduced by up to 12% for those with asthma , improve the value of the house and make a positive contribution to society.

Jess Johnston, director of the weatherization program at the Chippewa Community Action Agency, Luce, Mackinac, said the goal of the Department of Energy’s Weatherization Assistance Program is to ensure that homes are as energy efficient as possible thanks to insulation and airtightness. It is known that heat tends to rise and escape from the top and sucks in cold air from below, but weatherization slows down this process.

“(Bloat saves homeowners money) through home diagnostic testing,” Eric Rowell, quality control inspector at Chippewa, Luce, Mackinac Community Action Agency, said in a statement. E-mail. “Our energy auditors produce a work order based on a ratio of utility savings to investment. Our contractors then install the measurements and carry out the repairs listed on the work order. Our quality control inspectors check all the work done at the end to verify that it was done correctly and that nothing was missed in the process.

Johnston explained that if you or someone you know is in a family of four and earns less than $ 53,000 a year or if a member of the household has additional security income, you can apply for a help with bad weather.

“The weather and climate in northern Michigan is different than in mid-Michigan, for example,” Bronkema said. “We have a lot more snow here and that means you have to prepare for it. ”

Some typical work done by the Northwest Michigan Community Action Agency to alter a home includes replacing or repairing water heaters, furnaces and refrigerators, sealing windows and doors, caulking and airtightness. usually adding extra insulation to a house and installing programmable thermostats.

According to the US Department of Energy, applying caulk to a window frame prevents air leaks and saves homeowners energy and money.

Bronkema explained that in recent years, weatherization has changed in terms of technology. With so many innovations in the typical American home now, she said it’s easier to identify the energy efficiency issues that arise. With better energy efficient products manufactured, there is more funding available.

To save money and energy, the Northwest Michigan Community Action Agency offers the following energy saving tips:

  • Unplug anything that isn’t in use, such as cell phone chargers that are left plugged into the wall, a toaster, or a radio. If you don’t use it, unplug it
  • Replace the bulbs in your home with LED bulbs. Although these bulbs are more expensive initially, they can last up to 10 years.

“If you are looking to pay for (weatherization) yourself, be sure to hire a contractor who is familiar with weatherization, do your research,” Johnston said in an email. “For now, keep energy bills low and the house more comfortable by making sure the filters are clean and in good working order where applicable, making sure not to block the heating vents, you are maintaining your temperature. set to no more than 70 and 65 or less at night, and that all windows and storms are closed. If you live in a trailer, make sure your baseboards are properly placed and in good condition.

Rowell also suggests homeowners ensure that access to the attic and crawl space are closed and properly sealed.

The US Department of Energy has a few do-it-yourself savings projects that offer simple, step-by-step instructions for improving home energy efficiency that will save you energy and money. . Projects include sealing air leaks with caulk, insulating and airtightening non-air-conditioned garage floors, caulking double-hung windows, and building your own roofing box. attic staircase. To view these projects, visit www.energy.gov/energysaver/do-it-yourself-energy-savings-projects.

Over the past 10 years, the Chippewa, Luce, Mackinac Community Action Agency has weathered 220 homes. The agency has had an average of 30 untimely homes per year over the past few years.

“Bloat works,” Johnston said. “We are not a window, door or roof replacement program. We take applications all year round. Don’t wait for bad weather.

In 2020, the Northwest Michigan Community Action Agency successfully tempered 110 homes and this year, aims to tempered 150 homes.

“I would recommend everyone to try and qualify for this program,” Bronkema said. “Together, we can help conserve energy while saving money, and in doing so, it means a positive impact in your community.”

Bronkema said this weatherization program is not considered an emergency program because it can take months to complete a house. If you or someone you know has an immediate need to weather their home, contact your local Department of Health and Human Services office.

To learn more about the benefits of weatherization and how to properly prepare your home, visit the US Department of Energy website at www.energy.gov/eere/wap/whole-house- weatherization.

For more information on the Chippewa, Luce, Mackinac Community Action Agency weatherization program, visit www.clmcaa.org/home/weatherization. For more information on the Northwest Michigan Community Action Agency’s Bloat Assistance Program, visit www.nmcaa.net/energy.asp.

– Contact reporter Taylor Worsham at [email protected]


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