Free home energy audits available as cold weather moves in - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Free home energy audits available as cold weather moves in

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CEDAR FALLS (KWWL) - With this cold snap on the way, many of us will be bundling up -- even in our homes.

Now may be a good time to check to see if you can lower your heating bills.

Brad James is the audit coordinator for the Cedar Falls chapter of Green Iowa AmeriCorps. Monday, he helped perform an energy audit for the Lutheran Student Center near UNI.

"Over the last 2 to 3 years, our utilities have substantially been getting much larger, so this is a great way for us to hopefully bring that down or at least to a consistent level," said A.J. Houseman, campus minister at the Lutheran Student Center.

AmeriCorps works with homeowners and non-profits to evaluate safety and identify problem areas like a gas or carbon monoxide leak, a leaky furnace or hot water heater, or drafts through windows or other areas.

One of the tools the group uses is a thermal imaging camera. It detects heat or cold. It can show where leaks are coming in to a house.

Another tool? A blower fan - which lowers pressure inside the house. Then, group members can pinpoint where drafts are.

Problem is - Monday was still a bit too warm.

"Cold weather is the best time to be doing it because that's when you really feel how inefficient these homes are," said Zach Kotz, of Green Iowa AmeriCorps. "When we run the tests, we can tell there's definitely a problem and we need to come back and weatherize the home."

AmeriCorps does all the work for free, for homeowners and for non-profits like the Lutheran Service Center.

That includes weatherizing the home -- like caulking holes or sealing windows.

They say if more extensive work is needed, they recommend contractors or home repair companies to do the work.

Local utility companies like MidAmerican Energy and Alliant Energy also do in-home energy audits as well.

For a free online home energy audit, click herehes.lbl.gov/consumer/

To reach Green Iowa AmeriCorps, click herewww.greeniowaamericorps.org

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