The Gila County Board of Supervisors has declared Oct. 30 Weatherization Day.
The Home Depot in Payson is on board and is offering a free weatherization workshop every Saturday in October from 1 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. Workshops cover: how to conduct a heat loss audit; preventing heat loss with simple window, door and garage door maintenance tips and how-to tips that save money and energy; and details on various types of insulation and information on installing storm doors to reduce drafts.
The supervisors’ declaration was made Oct. 16 at the request of the county’s Community Action/Housing Services Division, which administers the weatherization program for the low-income, elderly and disabled.
Low-income families typically spend 27 percent of their income on energy, the division’s Malissa Buzan told the board. Better-off households typically spend just 4 percent of their income on energy.
Buzan said weatherization can save an average of $437 a year on heating and cooling costs.
The county has spent approximately $2 million on weatherizing 249 homes over a period of 30 months, using federal grant money. Supervisor Tommie Martin said about half of those were in Northern Gila County.
However, the pleas for help far exceed the money available. In fact, the county has a two-year waiting list for help. That means the program often uses the money it does have for emergency repairs, which is often just a Band-Aid for the problem, said Buzan.
Homeowners and renters can do some things to get ready for the cold that cost next to nothing — change out furnace filters and clear the circulation; make sure ceiling fan blades are moving clockwise so they’ll push hot air toward the floor.
When those harsh winter winds blow in, just roll up a towel or throw rug to close gaps at the bottom of all exterior doors, but leave the gaps on interior doors free to allow heat to circulate between rooms. A plastic film window insulating kit or weather stripping for windows also offer cost-effective solutions.