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Getting Ahead of Winter

PHOTO:  Help weatherizing your home is now being offered to low-income homeowners and renters in Kentucky.  The free program is designed to help you lower your utility bill.
PHOTO: Help weatherizing your home is now being offered to low-income homeowners and renters in Kentucky. The free program is designed to help you lower your utility bill.
August 14, 2013

WEST LIBERTY, Ky. - The calendar reads August, but someone wants you to think winter.

Community Action Kentucky provides weatherization help to low-income families across the state. Wallace Rose, its weatherization director for five northeast Kentucky counties, said weatherizing your home can actually lower your utility bill year round.

"The main thing we're going to look for in weatherization is the home's insulation needs and also looking at air infiltration," he said. "It will make the home certainly warmer in the winter and cooler in the summer."

The weatherization service is free for homeowners or renters who meet income guidelines. Priority is given to higher-risk residents including the elderly, disabled and families with children.

Rose said workers do a lot of things to weatherize a home, from caulking and sealing windows, walls and foundations to insulating attics, floors and sidewalls. It's all based on an energy audit of the home.

"Everything has to have a savings-to-investment ratio," he said. "In other words, it has to be able to pay for itself in a 15- to 20-year period of time in terms of energy savings."

Rose stressed that Community Action Kentucky's weatherization program is an energy-conservation program, not a home-repair program.

Rosetta Halsey, who had her home in Menifee County weatherized, said it made "all the difference in the world."

"Absolutely, and they caught things that I never dreamed were causing the problem," she said. "One thing was my furnace."

The weatherization team discovered that her heating element was not working, Halsey said, causing the furnace to kick on more than needed. She said her heating bill has dropped by at least 20 percent.

There's normally a six-month wait to get on the weatherization list, Rose said, but in his five-county Gateway region there's no wait right now.

To apply for the program, contact Community Action Kentucky at 800-456-3452.

Greg Stotelmyer , Public News Service - KY