THERE’S NO PLACE LIKE HOME
Dorothy was spot-on; there’s no place like home. Nearly thirty years ago Donald bought his home in Powell County. It’s been a place of comfort and security. It’s provided him with stability and a sense of pride. But last year he thought he would lose it all. He was struggling to pay his monthly utility bill, which typically ran around $350 a month. “That was a lot of money,” he said. “I really thought I was going to have to sell my house.
Living on a fixed income there was no way I could keep paying that. I had no idea what I would do.” Donald heard about Foothills’ Weatherization program and applied immediately.
The program helps improve homes by making them more energy efficient. Weatherization projects are targeted to homeowners and landlords who participate in the state’s energy assistance program. Typical Weatherization may include insulation of ductwork, attics, walls, and floors; repair or replacement of inefficient appliances; sealing of air infiltration, weather-stripping, sealing leaky doors and windows; and the installation of bath vent fans and smoke alarms. Persons may be eligible for these services if their total household income is at or below 200% of the poverty level and if they haven’t received Weatherization services since October 1, 1994. The program is funded through the U.S. Department of Energy and the Kentucky Housing Corporation.
Donald didn’t find emergency assistance, he found a long-term solution. Like other program participants. Donald’s home underwent a thorough assessment prior to weatherization.
First, a written application examined annual energy cost and usage, square footage and other household information to determine eligibility. Following that, an onsite inspection was conducted by a Foothills’ energy auditor, as well as a diagnostic Blower-Door test that evaluates the tightness of the house and locates air leakage. All of the information gathered from the testing equipment was used to create a customized plan.
The crew sealed all the trim in his carport room and bathroom, caulked and sealed around all the windows, repaired a large hole in the wall behind the dryer and installed gaskets and covers on all the electrical outlets and light switches. They also installed energy efficient LED bulbs throughout the home, smoke detectors and a carbon monoxide detector. Existing insulation in the crawlspace that had fallen down was adjusted. To seal up the home and retain heat, additional insulation was added in the floor and blown into the attic. They insulated and weather-stripped the attic access door. The crew wrapped water lines and installed a ground vapor barrier in the crawl space to prevent moisture damage. Pipe wrap was installed on the water heater pipes. An HVAC contractor installed a drip leg on the existing propane unvented space heater. An electrician repaired electrical outlets and range hood wiring and installed an indoor air quality vent fan to alleviate stagnant air and to introduce fresh air into the home. They even replaced an old, inefficient refrigerator with a new Energy Star model.
Donald immediately saw a difference. He couldn’t compliment the Foothills’ crew enough. “Everyone was so nice,” he said. “They were the hardest working guys I’ve ever met.” Today Donald and his dog, George, are comfortable. “It feels a lot better in here,” he said, “and I have a little extra money now.” He’s thrilled that there’s a program like this to help people who need it. “This program is wonderful,” said Donald. “Now I can stay here a little longer. I don’t have to worry about a thing.”