The Rapidian

Tips for staying warm this winter

You're not alone in staying warm this winter. Use these tips or call 2-1-1 for more information.
Underwriting support from:

2-1-1

Heart of West Michigan United Way's 2-1-1 is a free service and is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. 

As the temperature becomes lower and utility bills become higher, use these tips for keeping your family safe and warm this winter or call 2-1-1 for more support.

1. Check your home for places you may be leaking heat to the outdoors.

A great deal of warm air can escape through an uninsulated window, so add caulking or put up plastic or storm windows. Having glass doors on your fireplace can help stop hot air from escaping through the chimney, and reversing ceiling fans so they direct air down rather than up will help move rising heated air down to where you need it.

2. Warm yourself first.

Changing your body temperature is easier than changing the room temperature, not to mention more eco-friendly. Instead of turning up the heat, put on another layer of clothing.

3. While at work, dial back the thermostat 10-12 degrees to save money.

4. Call your utility provider.

You do not have to wait until your heat is shut off to get help with your heating bills. If you are worried about getting behind, there are several options available to you right now. The first place to start is by calling your utility provider. Many utilities such as Consumers Energy and DTE have payment plans and programs that can help if you fall behind.

5. Utilize special programming.

The Michigan Department of Human Services also offers a Weatherization Assistance Program that provides free home energy conservation services to low-income Michigan homeowners and renters that reduce energy use and lower utility bills. Weatherization services are available through local Community Action Agencies and nonprofit organizations. You can contact your local weatherization operator to get started.

If you’re already behind on your energy bill, two other programs are in place to help you pay off your past-due balance: the Michigan Energy Assistance Program (MEAP) and the Michigan Department of Human Services’ State Emergency Relief (SER) program. You can apply for assistance if your income is below 150 percent of the poverty level. For a family of three, that means a household income of under $29,685.

A great place to find out more about energy assistance programs is by calling Heart of West Michigan United Way’s 2-1-1 by dialing 2-1-1 from any landline or 1-800-887-1107 from any other phone. United Way’s 2-1-1 is a free, confidential service that connects you with local community-based organizations offering different programs and services for people seeking answers.

You’re not alone in staying warm this winter — call 2-1-1 for more information.

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