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Weatherization Program saves families money

(WEAU)
Published: Oct. 27, 2016 at 5:51 PM CDT
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Many of us are usually aware of the heating bill as we start turning up the dial in our homes for the winter, but how does it affect low-income families?

Thursday, a local non-profit agency spent the morning working on a local family's home to weather proof it for the season at no cost to the family. The work is done through Western Dairyland Community Action Agency’s Weatherization Program.

The program, over the years, has helped low-income families by weather-updating their house, with new furnaces, insulation, lighting and things to make each home more self-sufficient and lower their bills.

“Typical home with air ceiling, insulation of the attic and sidewalls, we do an efficiency check on the furnace, we can replace the furnace, water heater, refrigerator, freezer,” Mike Canaday, the Energy and Housing Program Director for Western Dairyland said, as he explained a few of the things they do.

The most recent home the program assisted was one in Eau Claire, built in 1918 with no insulation in the walls. It’s called home to a single mom with a 4-year old son.

“The families are low-income, but they’re just like me, they’re just like you,” said Dale Karls, the Western Dairyland Communications Coordinator. “These are normal everyday families that you meet every day in Eau Claire.”

The Weatherization Program provides all this work at no cost to the families.

On average, they spend nearly $7,500 per home.

“The average materials last 10-20 years, so the insulation in the attic isn't going to go away,” Canaday added. “The only thing would be the efficiency on the furnace if gets dirty or something like that.”

The program helps around 200 homes a year in Eau Claire, Jackson, Trempealeau and Buffalo counties; saving the average family an extra $420 in energy savings per year.

Karls added it’s not only about the money families are saving for the program, but it’s also for the comfort of the home.

Western Dairyland is celebrating the 40th year of the year-round program.

Members say if you’re interested or think you qualify for energy assistance, to stop down at the office on Wisconsin Street, or click the link for more information.