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Winter Tips

Many people may have arrived during COVID and may not have had anyone in their homes to review our best winter practice.  It’s important for people to learn how to live in Maine in the winter – both to keep warm as well as understand how to be good tenants.  Even if they might currently live in a place where their heat is included – this information will be important for the future. Please share with any New Mainers you might know.
  1. If people have storm windows, they should make sure they are securely closed.  Check to make sure top and bottom windows are all the way up and down and then locked because even a small opening creates a draft.
  2. If they don’t lock, they should just make sure they are closed and they can put duct tape if it they feel a draft
  3. If they have any sunlight, they can open the blinds or curtains during the day to get natural heat
  4. If they have baseboard heat, make sure no furniture or other items are blocking the front of the heater because the heat won’t circulate
  5. It is best to place beds on an inside wall and if not possible, as far from the window as possible.
  6. If they have direct vent heat, either a Monitor or Rinnai – remind people that they need to leave all bedroom and bathroom doors open to get heat in all the rooms.
  7. Before getting a space heater, understand they can trip breakers and they also use a LOT of electricity which is usually over the GA budget (or costs a lot of money if not on GA).
  8. Sometimes people need an explanation of how a thermostat works – that the heat cycles on and off.  People often complain that their heat isn’t working when it just shuts off when it reaches the set temperature. (though many apartments do not allow tenants the ability to control the temperature, in which case, they are stuck learning to dress for warmly!)
  9. It’s always helpful to give examples of how in cold climates we tend to layer both when outside and inside. If you’re cold, instead of turning up the heat, add layers – especially warm socks and/or slippers. Some Mainers wear long underwear every day in the winter, and many of us sleep in heavy socks!!

Other Tips…

Electric Bill Issues

  • If your mentee has an electric bill that exceeds the GA limit ($99 at the time of this entry), WTS has a critical needs funds – you can request up to $100 for a one time need.
  • If your mentee has had their power cut off or their bill has been sent to collections, complain directly to CMP to make sure they’ve done it fairly.

Tips on How to Stay Warm
Many mentees are from much warmer climates and getting used to the cold takes some time and learning how to adapt requires mentoring. We have had to help our mentees learn the “tricks” of staying warm and the economic and environmental benefits of using heat efficiently.

Keeping warm inside the house

  • Wearing heavy socks, slippers, long sleeves, sweaters and hoodies, leggings under pants, wrapping up in a blanket while watching tv and studying
  • Cutting drafts by putting a rolled towel or one of those stuffed snake/noodle things at bottom of outside doors
  • Making sure windows are closed tight and latches sealed (especially important for insulated windows).
  • Window plastic weatherization

Keeping warm outside the house

  • Importance of layering, even under winter coats and snow pants
  • Mittens are often warmer than gloves
  • Wearing boots – a plastic bread bag over socks inside boot can keep feet dryer and warmer
  • Wearing 2 pairs of socks under boots
  • Hats and scarves

Saving on heating money

  • Make sure they understand that the more heat, the more cost. This case be a problem if they have a “heat included” rental agreement, because they won’t see the effect of cranking the heat all the way up. If they have “heat included” agreement then you should tell them the max temp is 74.
  • Make sure they understand that the cost of electricity to power the heat and the hot water is expensive vs. the power used for computers or phones.