Rocky Ridge homeowner Linda LaFountain is looking forward to lower utility costs and a warmer home.
Linda, a retiree, is a recipient of the Great Lakes Community Action Partnership (formerly WSOS Community Action Commission) Home Weatherization Assistance Program (HWAP). Her house is like many homes that are weatherized through the program, with walls that have no insulation, ductwork with unsealed seams, and other issues that reduce her home’s overall efficiency. Weatherization will fix these issues.
Linda graciously opened her home for Great Lakes Community Action Partnership (GLCAP) to use as the site of its Weatherization Works demonstration on Oct. 27. Joining GLCAP were U.S. Rep. Marcy Kaptur; Ann Longsworth-Orr, representative for U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown; Tim Petrides, Ohio Development Services Agency HWAP section supervisor; and Phil Cole, executive director of the Ohio Association of Community Action Agencies.
The house contained different stations for housing inspectors Matt Byers, Tim Havice, Mark Polter and Andy Schumaker to demonstrate aspects of weatherization. Along with Housing & Energy Director Terry Jacobs and GLCAP President/CEO Ruthann House, staff covered topics including:
- Dense packing of walls, in which crews blow cellulose insulation into exterior walls to reduce air leakage
- Two-part foam insulation, which insulates the area between the foundation and floor-level of the home, and knee-wall insulation that seals the space between the top floor and attic rafters
- Furnace and water heater inspection to determine if these appliances are efficient and safe, or if they need upgraded or replaced
- Duct seam sealing, pipe wrapping and other measures that reduce heat loss through home infrastructure
- Electric base load reduction measures such as exchanging incandescent light bulbs with energy-efficient CFL or LED bulbs
- Blower door tests that are conducted before and after weatherization to indicate improvement in air leakage reduction
- Infrared camera tests that determine if there are any gaps in insulation that need filled.
"We wanted to show that weatherization is a thorough process that directly helps residents," Housing & Energy Director Terry Jacobs said. "We were grateful to have Rep. Kaptur and representation from Sen. Brown’s office at the event so we could show what weatherization can do for people like Linda."
Weatherization saves residents an average of $283 per year in utility costs, as well as adds to the overall comfort level of the home by reducing air leakage and drafts. The federal weatherization program has been in existence since 1976, and has served more than 7 million homes nationwide. Locally, GLCAP provides weatherization services in Wood, Sandusky, Ottawa, Seneca, Erie and Huron counties.
The demonstration also allowed Housing & Energy support staff to learn more about weatherization.
"Not all of our Housing & Energy staff usually have a chance to see weatherization in action, so this was a good opportunity for them to see the program first-hand," Jacobs added.