Learning proper energy techniques is crucial for everyone, but it’s especially important for the elderly, many of whom are on a fixed income. But it’s more than just saving money.
With many elderly citizens in retirement, they’re often home when energy usage it at its peak. During the summer, temperatures are their hottest between 3-7 pm, while it’s 6-8 am in the winter. This means they keep their air conditioners or heater running almost non-stop. Even worse, it could mean they don’t run at all because they feel they can’t afford the expense – and this leads to safety and health concerns.
Whether you’re elderly or you want to help an elderly friend or family member live smart when it comes to energy usage, follow these seven energy efficiency tips for saving money and saving energy while still living comfortably.
1) Make Signs
Sometimes a hand-written note or sign placed on light switches are good reminders for people to turn lights off. Forgetfulness is something that happens to the best of us, so there’s no harm in placing gentle reminders around the home to turn off lights and adjust your thermostat settings.
2) Use Timers
When you live alone, you often feel more comfortable having lots of lights on for safety and security reasons. From an energy efficiency standpoint, timers are a smart investment, as they will automatically turn lights off at a set time every day.
And since you can program them to come on at particular times in the day, this is a bonus for those who go out during the day and don’t like coming home to a dark house.
3) Laundry Loads
We encourage using cold water instead of hot, as it requires more energy to heat up the water. We also recommended doing laundry either early in the morning or after 7 pm so you’re not sending unnecessary hot air into your home.
4) Check Furnaces and Sweep Chimneys
You should have your furnace inspected and chimney swept once a year to ensure heat efficiency. It’s also a safety matter with chimneys. Not only will a well-swept chimney burn better, with proper inspection and cleaning, it will mean the smoke goes up the chimney, and not into your home.
5) Switching to LED Bulbs
Incandescent and CFL light bulbs are a thing of the past. Encourage your elderly friends to invest in LED light bulbs that use far less energy (and last far longer) than their counterparts.
6) In the Cold Months, Pull Out the Blankets and Hats
Instead of cranking up the heater the cooler months, we encourage people to open curtains during the day to let the sunshine in and to stay warm beneath quilts and woolen hats. An electric blanket can be another way to stay toasty, rather than flipping the furnace up too high all day long.
7) Balance the Thermostat
A smart thermostat would be the ideal investment, but if it’s not in the budget, then place a sign on the thermostat to remind yourself of the seasonally appropriate setting. This would be 78° F (25.6° C) in the summer and 68° F (20° C) in the winter. Heating and cooling can add up to be one of the most expensive energy usages in the home, so it’s best to keep those costs low whenever and however you can.
Do you have any recommendations on how you can assist the elderly with energy efficiency? Share with us in the comments!