TAP helps families lower electricity bills

By Erin Brookshier - Virginia Today Reporter

ROANOKE, Va. - Higher than normal electricity bills this winter have many people looking for ways to save. It’s leading to an increase in demand for the weatherization program through Total Action for Progress. 

Members of the TAP weatherization team visit the homes for inspection, taking several hours to search from top to bottom and keeping track of how electricity is used. They check for unused appliances or chargers that may still be plugged in, pulling unused electricity and raising your power bill each month.

The weatherization program also works to make the home is more energy efficient by replacing old light bulbs with more efficient LED bulbs.

One of the biggest money savers is re-insulating the home. Operational Manager James Williams says they search for places where air or heat may be escaping -- through the attic, around pipes under the sink, or through cracks in the window or doors. 

“What we do as insulate, air seal it, seal up all of the bypasses, door sets and door sweeps. We want to make sure all of the holes and cracks are sealed,” he says. “ As you turn your air conditioner on, you’ll feel a difference. We want you to be cooler in the summer, warmer in the winter.”

Keeping the heat or cold air in not only makes the house more comfortable, but also cuts down on those high power bills. Families who participate in the program can see a savings of anywhere from $25 a month to up to $100 a month or even more.

Crews with the TAP weatherization program work to pinpoint those issues and correct them on the spot. It helps the homes to be more comfortable and save the families money. But it’s not all about the savings -- the program is also focused on safety.

During the several hour inspections, a handful of extra measures are put in place for these homes, which are often outdated.

“We add smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors, we make sure the furnace is running properly and clean and tune the furnace,” says Williams. “We also make sure that the water heater is properly installed, that the washer and dryer are installed right and that the venting to the dryer goes outside.”

The goal is to make sure any dryer vents were fans in the home are all vented to the outside, which will keep that moist air from being funneled up into the attic.

For clients who are eligible, the weatherization program is free. To find out if you’re eligible, click here.

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