“It’s a miracle we weren’t dead already,” said Johnson County homeowner Darvin Grim. Grim and his wife Judy have lived in their home for 10 years and were unaware of the threat their heating system posed to their lives.
Heating their home had become a challenge for the Grims. The electric heating system that was in place in the home was too big to be carried by their breaker box. In lieu of the electric system, the Grims used an old coal burning stove that was unsafe and an old propane space heater, but they were only able to heat one room in the home.
Grim knew the house needed better insulation, but household expenses kept him from being able to put it in himself, so he contacted Big Sandy Area Community Action’s Weatherization Assistance Program to see if they could help. BSACAP’s Weatherization program is designed to help people with low-incomes get the repairs they need at no cost, offering them a long-term solution to heating and cooling problems and reducing home energy costs.
BSACAP’s Weatherization crew inspected the home and found that not only did the structure have less than half of the insulation needed, but the propane space heater that was in use was spewing extremely dangerous amounts of carbon monoxide.
BSACAP Inspector Steve Mullins noted that had the home been properly sealed and insulated when the old propane space heater was in use, the home would have filled with carbon monoxide with nowhere for it to escape. And the Grims said that they became very drowsy in the room with the heater, which is one of the signs of carbon monoxide poisoning.
It is critical that gas space heaters be serviced every few seasons in order to ensure they are still clean burning, and they should only be used in a well-ventilated area.
After the inspection, BSACAP’s Weatherization crew got to work. They installed a new gas furnace that is 98 percent energy efficient, ensured that all holes and air leaks were sealed, installed a carbon monoxide detector and smoke detector, and installed a CFM vent designed to improve air quality.
The crew spent several days at the Grims’ home completing the difficult work at no cost to them. “Everyone was so nice and friendly and they worked really hard,” Judy Grim said.
Now the Grims have a safe and warm home to help them face the winter. “It’s like daylight and dark,” Judy Grim said. “The house has never been this warm. Everything they did makes a difference.”
The Weatherization Assistance Program is funded by the U.S. Department of Energy and administered by the Kentucky Housing Corporation.
Big Sandy Area Community Action Program is a nonprofit organization dedicated to providing a vast array of services, such as employment and training assistance, weatherization of homes, and area Head Start programs, in order to assist individuals and families in obtaining self-sufficiency. Through collaborative efforts of community and organizational partnerships, BSACAP seeks to improve the overall quality of life within the Floyd, Johnson, Martin, Magoffin, and Pike County communities. To learn more about BSACAP and their programs, visit www.bsacap.org or call (606) 789-3641.