Sackville group hosts work parties to seal up leaky homes
'Winters are difficult,' says homeowner who spends more than half her income on heat
A non-profit group in Sackville is hosting draft-proofing work parties in low-income homes to help combat climate change and hefty heating costs.
For each party, a homeowner invites friends over who supply the labour, EOS Eco-Energy brings the supplies and snacks, and Gilles Briand of EnerCheck Solutions brings his expertise and special draft-detecting equipment.
Denyse Milliken had a party Friday at her 166-year-old home in Dorchester. She said half her monthly income goes out the window in heating expenses during the coldest months of winter.
"I go through a cord of wood from November to April, which costs $250 a cord," Milliken said. "And I spend between $400 and $500 every month on oil, and my furnace is usually kept between 12 C and 15 C, so that's not warm.
"We wear slippers, we wear sweaters, we put extra quilts on the beds, that kind of thing."
Marlin got the idea from another environmentally focused group in Ontario.
"We thought what a great idea, what a great way to work together, to build some community and come together and make houses warmer and more energy-efficient."
Her group is a non-profit Sackville-based organization concerned with sustainable energy and climate change. This was the first house party of three she plans to host in the area this year.
One of the worst culprits at Milliken's house is the attic, according to Gilles Briand, president of EnerCheck solutions.
"Every house is going to be a little bit different," he said.
"A lot of people are going to expect the windows and doors to be a point of air leakage and it usually is but sometimes we'll find more significant holes, let's say, in the basement or around the foundation seal. Also around some of the windows in the basement, plumbing, electrical, things like that."
"We went over some of the details of how to fix them and which holes or cracks are significant and which ones could be done later on. So we wanted to target the bigger holes."
The group worked at the old home from 9 a.m. until noon. When most of the work was done, volunteers gathered around the snacks supplied by Marlin.
"I'm very very grateful for what's going on here today," Milliken said. "If I notice a change in the electricity and oil bill it's going to make everything a lot easier for us."