November 23, 2014
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Westbay seeks applicants for energy audits, free weatherization

Westbay Community Action is seeking clients for its Weatherization Assistance program, which offers energy-saving repairs and upgrades to eligible households.

The program is available without charge to income-eligible households and especially Westbay’s 4,000 eligible LIHEAP clients who receive fuel assistance in West Warwick, Warwick, Coventry and East Greenwich.

“We can help people apply for the Weatherization program now, even if they are not LIHEAP participants,” Bill Larocque, Weatherization manager, said in a release.

Weatherization services consist of an energy audit, an inspection for energy loss and a check of the efficiency of the heating system.

An appliance manager will visit your home to determine the baseline of its total electrical usage.

The Weatherization program hires only licensed, insured contractors for its work.

Once energy losses are located, the Weatherization contractor will insulate doors and install air sealing in attics and basements to prevent air leakage. Small, inexpensive home repairs can also be done to allow the insulation to work properly.

“We will insulate the different areas that need it. We do a computerized energy audit that tells us what problems will be cost effective to repair,” said Larocque.

A computerized energy audit determines the savings-to-investment ratio. Weatherization can then determine what is cost effective and what would be too expensive to repair.

In most of the houses, the contractor will insulate attics, the inside walls and wrap hot water pipes to retain heat.

The Westbay Weatherization program performs approximately 150 to 200 energy audits each year.

“On average, each client will save up to 35 percent on their heating bills after the audit and weatherization work. Every house is different,” said Larocque.

The Weatherization program will also check to see whether the home has smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors to determine if they are in working order. New ones will be installed if necessary.

“We do a range of health and safety checks in each house, including checking the heating system, determining the moisture levels in the home, inspecting for leaks in attics, especially from holes made by animals,” said Larocque.

Contractors will install handrails on stairwells and grab bars in bathtubs.

In addition, an inspection of the clothes dryer is done to prevent venting problems, moisture problems and fire hazards.  

Funds for the Weatherization program are provided by the National Grid Electric and Gas Company and the Rhode Island State Energy Office.

For information about the program, call Bill Larocque at 732-4660, ext. 120, or Lindsay Mendoza at 732-4660, ext. 142. Email addresses are: blarocque@westbaycap.org and lmendoza@westbaycap.org.


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