Home energy costs can cause any home owner to stress over monthly heating and cooling bills. The North Carolina Office of Economic Opportunity is helping some home owners bring those bills way down. In the past two years, Clyde Sessoms has performed more than 100 home energy audits. “I go into a lot of homes that don't have any heat in their house. You can just feel the draft coming through their homes. A lot of people that are really in need of the service. When they get the service they're just so happy because it's so much warmer and more comfortable.” As part of the state's free weatherization assistance program, he checks smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors, makes sure there are no leaks in the ventilation system, and checks the safety of water tanks. “A lot of homes, whenever we get through doing what we're doing as soon as we leave you can feel the difference in the tightness,” Sessoms said. Sessoms performed a home energy audit for Kay Phelps a few months ago. She said the inspection covered her house from top to bottom. “They went into my attic and loaded all into the attic, went under the house and did the flooring.” The program is available throughout North Carolina and next year more people could qualify. Program director Brenda Thomas said she expects money from the economic stimulus package to support the program. “We would definitely be able to serve a lot more people, reach a lot more needy households and that is always our goal.” That means Sessoms could find his way into a lot more homes to help keep the drafts out. Qualification for the energy audit isn't based just on income. People with disabilities or children with health concerns are also eligible. For more information on weatherizing your home or to find out if you're eligible call the office of economic opportunity at 919-715-5850. New Hanover County Community Action North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services
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