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New Programs Saving Nevada Homeowners on Energy Bills

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If you are like me, you have probably sat in your living room on a hot, summer day or a frigid, northern Nevada night and thought, where is that draft coming from?

Well, there is a way to answer that question and right now, it's much cheaper than it will be in the future.

Window sills, doors, vents, even basements are all ways the outside air can find its way blowing not only through your home but your pocketbook.

Jenny Brekhus owns a beautiful, antique, home in old southwest Reno.

The past 80 years, the home she owns has gone from coal to oil, even gas but more upgrades are needed.

Her energy bill has been as high as $165.

Rob Ernst is an energy assessor. I asked him what is the biggest problem with Jenny's home.

"On this house? I would say the air leakage."

Ernst and others from Home Free Nevada are paying Jenny a vista to conduct an energy assessment test.

One way the test works is by using what they call a blower door. It works like a fan, but instead. sucks all the air out from the leaks in the house. The goal is to pinpoint exactly where air is getting in and out.

Once turned on, the gauge reads just how much air is pushing through the home.

"We run at 50 past galls, which simulates a 20 mile an hour wind," said Ernst. "We depressurize the house and it gives us a number."

The number this gauge read for Jenny's home was over 3,000 cubic feet per minute.

"So we're about twice as leaky as a new home that's twice the size."

A test like this, Ernst said, can save homeowners an average of 20 percent on energy bills.

"I've seen homes on more expensive fuels like oil and propane come in at 45-50 percent savings," said Ernst.

Right now, the cost up front is cheaper than it might be in the future.

Home Free Nevada is offering the EnergyFit Nevada program, which is funded through a grant to promote energy efficiency and conservation.

The EnergyFit program offers rebates right now, but on one condition.

"Most the time no retrofits will be done unless we can save the 15% which allows them to start hitting the rebate."

 As far as this home, Ernst said, Jenny should be able to save at least that much.

"Basically, air sealing and insulating that area down there," said Ernst. "Also, possibility putting down plastic and actually sealing the plastic and not just laying it down over the dirt. That will stop the ground moisture from coming in."

To watch the entire interview tune in to my weekend show Face the State, I will be interviewing the director of EnergyFit Nevada.

The show airs this Saturday at 4:30am and 3:30 PM. Sunday at 6:30am and 3:30pm.

For more information on EnergyFit, go to http://www.energyfitnevada.org/

Written by Chris Ciarlo

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