RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - Power bills tend to be their highest in the winter and most of our houses have hidden areas where energy is being wasted. One group wants to find and fix your home energy issues at no cost to you.
In the second house, Marco Guex and his family have called home, came a bit of a surprise by the first power bills.
"It was more than we were expecting, but we understand. This is an old house," said Guex.
Winter is coming and he knows those bills will go up. That's why he contacted the Richmond Region Energy Alliance to diagnose and fix his home's problems.
"Gaps around plumbing, pipes, and wires all of these little spaces that add up to a window we have open all the time," explains RREA's Susan Hill.
The blower door pulls air from the house. Staff searches the home so they can find the leaks.
"Leaky windows, baseboards, doors, weather stripping, sealing around the registers," said Hill.
Gaps leading directly to the crawl space are filled and sealed with spray foam. Plumbing under the sinks gets the same treatment. They find the odd spots you'd never know to look for.
"Where the two pieces of cabinet installation meet, there's just a big gap," said an RREA staff member.
Every electrical outlet gets foam-cover backing that stops air leakage.
Susan has a hint if you don't have access to a blower door.
"Looking for cobwebs in your home - sometimes we'll see those above window frames or above doorways, and that's a sign that you there's some air leakage going on," said Susan.
One of the easiest changes is the lighting. Homeowners are encouraged to participate. Hot water pipes get insulated, dirty filters get new ones.
"It's re-usable up to a year. You just need to rinse it with the hose," as Susan cuts it to fit.
A cover above the attic pulldown will keep treated air from escaping. RREA's material cost is low.
"We might spend $100 in materials, but we get quite a bit in energy savings."
They project Marco will see a nine percent savings on his bill from now on.
"We just want more people to save energy and to help reduce their utility bills," Susan says.
Most homes in our area will qualify for these upgrades. Energize RVA has a limited number of spots left, so if you want this free service done to your home, you need to act fast.
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