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Weatherization: not just for wintertime

In June we featured a post from Susan Gillin with Chelan Co PUD on how and why homeowners should take advantage of the PUD's rebates. Now, we offer a different view on the same topic, and yet another way that NCW residents may save money while saving energy. Rachel West was recently hired as Chelan-Dougas Community Action Council's Weatherization & Energy Assistance Program Director (now that's a mouthful!). In this guest blog, she points out that weatherization is not just for wintertime. A timely topic, since the forecasted high for today is ONE HUNDRED AND FIVE degrees! She also shares how low-income households can take advantage of CDAC's FREE program to make homes more comfortable and more efficient, which often adds up to savings on your PUD bill. To be eligible, you must live in Chelan or Douglas county and be at or below 200% of the Washington low-income guidelines. If you don't qualify for the program, visit the Chelan PUD's website for more information about home energy audits. -Jana


Ever wonder why your AC runs all day long and your house never seems to get cool? Do you get home from work during the hot summer months and race to change into the coolest thing in your closet (hello cotton shorts and tank tops)? I have been there myself. It just didn’t feel like our cooling system could keep up. I love our beautiful valley, but our summers can get really HOT!

I was recently given the opportunity to begin a new career at Chelan-Douglas Community Action Council as the Weatherization & Energy Assistance Program Director. It has been quite a learning experience for me. When I thought about weatherization in the past, the first thing I thought of was making your house more comfortable during our cold summer months, maybe adding insulation, weather-stripping around gaps in windows or doors, etc. What I have learned is that the Weatherization program can also immensely help during the hot summer months. Adding insulation not only helps keep the warm air in your home during the cold winter months, it also keeps the hot air OUT during the summer.

My crew will go into any income eligible home in Chelan or Douglas County and complete a free inspection to see if that home would benefit from weatherization. Some of the measures they may complete include, sealing cracks, gaps, and holes around doors and windows, sealing furnace ducts which can actually account for 20% of cool air to escape during the summer, providing proper ventilation, installing insulation in walls, floors, and ceilings, installing economic low-flow showerheads and smart thermostats, replacing the home’s lighting with energy efficient LED bulbs, and even the potential to replace windows and external door!

I have had the opportunity to get to know some of our customers and speak with them about the difference they have felt, both in their comfort level and in their pocketbook. One of our recent clients I spoke with reported a 30% savings on her monthly energy bill. She said that prior to weatherizing her home, her AC unit would run all day. She would set her thermostat to 72 and by noon it would usually be 78 degrees in her house, and in the low 80s by dinner. She was miserable and paying for it! After weatherization, she now sets her thermostat at 72 and that is where it stays. We were also able to replace 31 of her lighting sources with LED bulbs, which will create a substantial cost savings. She is looking forward to seeing the difference in the upcoming winter months.

The thing that I really appreciate about the Weatherization program is that we are helping our valley by increasing our residence’s energy efficiency and reducing pollution from power plants. We also offer education to all of our Weatherization customers, creating an informed and empowered community. We are creating happy, healthy, comfortable homes and seeing our community members save substantially on their electricity bills. To me, that is a big win!

If you would like more information about our Weatherization program please contact us at (509) 662-6156.

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