Save yourself some utility money -, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Save yourself some utility money

January 13, 2006

Albany -- Cold weather will return this weekend, but lowering your utility bill may not be as hard as you think. You may be able to weatherizing your home free.

A foot of prevention may be worth a yard of cure. Especially when it can turn an older drafty home into an airtight fortress for free. "They were not livable, you could actually feel the cold air coming through the windows," said Homeowner Letisha Williams.

Williams' landlord suggested she call the city of Albany's Weatherization Assistance program. Within a week of filling out the forms and qualifying crews were out to test her home. "They close the doors and they put a blower in one of the doors, and it sucks the air out of the house. By doing that it shows where you have air penetration," said John Thompson of Thompson Construction.

It shows where air may be leaking around windows, doors, around the chimney, and even cracks around your sink and pipes. "In this house here a lot of the air was coming in around the windows and doors and around the attic access because of low insulation that's up there," said Thompson.

The simple fixes add up. "It was like $177, I think my highest was like $235, but the last bill I got was like $177.84," said Williams.

"My understanding of our average has been cutting anywhere from forty to sixty dollars off the utility bills," said Thompson.

"With these new windows it's going lower than that and that's great, that's really great." said Williams.

Program officials say they also give applicants practical tips. "I put my thermostat at 68 and I leave it there," says Weatherization Coordinator Geraldine Fletcher. "If I'm cold I get a sweater, a pair of socks."

Recipients say not only will it save them money on their bills it adds to their home. "It's a home, but anytime that a home is upgraded, that's, that's great," said Letisha Williams.

The Weatherization Assistance Program is designed to help low-income, elderly, or disabled people in Albany or Dougherty County who have a hard time paying their utility bills.