Free weatherization services are coming to homes in Bethel. RurAL CAP’s Weatherization Assistance Program is setting up shop, and will be in Bethel for several years. RurAL CAP’s Dennis Waldron talked about how home weatherization can help homeowners save money and improve their health.
Waldron says that RurAL CAP weatherizes people’s homes by adding insulation, replacing windows and doors, and maybe by putting up metal roofing and painting the house.
“The intent is energy efficiency,” Waldron said.
He says that homeowners who receive weatherization services usually see a substantial savings in their fuel bill.
“Occasionally we’ll get a call that the fuel tank had to be refilled once a week, and now it will last a whole month,” Waldron said. He also added that changing the way a home retains heat means that other factors can change as well.
“People want to hold that heat in, and they tighten their house up and weatherize it. And then there’s a lot of people in it, and then there’s a lot of moisture on the windows, and there’s a lot of mold,” Waldron said.
To prevent that, RurAL CAP installs a programmable fan, and conducts a crash course with the homeowner about ideal humidity. Too much moisture and there’s mold. Too little, and it’s easier for disease to transfer through the air. The health education is as important as the energy savings, Waldron said. “For some of my clients, that’s the best thing they get out of the program. We explain a lot about their house and how things happen.”
Right now, he’s looking for people in Bethel to apply for weatherization and he says that it won’t cost them a single penny.
“Nothing. It takes a little time to fill out the application, but it is a free program. There’s no taxes, no hidden fees,” Waldron said.
Waldron says that they will be able to weatherize 10 to 15 homes this spring.
“Ten to 15 homes may not seem like a lot for Bethel, but if we’re here for five or six years, and our numbers go up and up and up, it may be a significant number of people,” Waldron said.
The state Weatherization Program was one of the items reduced by Gov. Mike Dunleavy's vetoes, but Waldron says that RurAL CAP is proceeding using federal money.
“In the past, the major majority has been state funding. Now it’s kind of switched,” Waldron said. “Department of Energy is putting up more money because the state funding has been getting cut and cut and cut.”
You can fill out a home weatherization pre-application online.