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Mid-Sioux Opportunities provides weatherization program for Siouxland families

Thursday, October 27, 2011

LE MARS, Iowa (KTIV) -Mid-Sioux Opportunities provides Housing and Energy Services to low-income and elderly families in five northwest Iowa counties. Thursday, they hosted a "Weatherization Day Celebration" in Le Mars, Iowa at a half weatherized home.

Winter is quickly approaching and making a home as energy efficient as possible can be costly. But Mid-Sioux Opportunities helps homeowners for free if they qualify for the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program. If they do, Mid-Sioux performs an energy audit to determine what needs to be done to increase the home's efficiency. Rod Ten Napel is a contractor that helps with the program.

"Seven years is the pay back. So attic insulation will usually will pay for itself very quickly," said Rod Ten Napel, Contractor.

Ten Napel says they test for two factors when deciding how to weatherize a home. What the R-factor of the insulation is already in the home, and what the air infiltration level is. The first thing they do is perform a blower door test.

"Basically we are looking at air changes per hour. So we want to reduce those readings from high to low," said Rod Ten Napel, Contractor.

Ten Napel says they use trained contractors to do the work required from blowing in insulation to checking the furnace.

"In the basement, we are testing every gas appliance to make sure it's operating correctly. We do also do check some of the electrical equipment for energy use," said Rod Ten Napel, Contractor.

So far this year, Mid-Sioux has weatherized 105 homes and they also help educate homeowners about energy efficiency.

"Turning down the thermostat a few degrees things of that type that can be done on their own to help keep utility costs down. Housing and utility costs are one of the major cost factors that families have today," said Dick Sievers, Executive Director of Mid-Sioux Opportunities.

When the work is finished, they perform the blower door test again to see how much the house has improved and make sure all the work meets the set standards.

Tia Heidebrecht