In the dozen years that Colleen Yancey has called Spokane home, the task of keeping up with household energy bills has not been among her favorite.

Prior to moving to the Pacific Northwest, Colleen enjoyed the tranquil climate of Hawaii where she lived and worked as a nurse for four years. Shortly after moving to Eastern Washington, she came to the stark realization that heating a home in the winter months could be very costly.

Now retired from nursing, Colleen lives in a quaint mobile home park in Mead. While she loves the community she lives in, her 1986 manufactured home was drafty and did little to retain heat and cold.

As with many of SNAP’s clients, living on a fixed income has proven to be challenging for Colleen. In an attempt to maintain a budget, she found herself limiting the use of her heating and cooling units to reduce energy bills. That’s why she was relieved to hear from Avista there was help in the form of SNAP’s Weatherization Program. She applied right away.

When Linda Riddle, SNAP’s energy efficiency educator, arrived at Colleen’s home to start the weatherization process, she immediately found no-cost ways in which Colleen could save energy.

“Linda explained to me that by leaving my electronics and small appliances plugged in, I was using unnecessary energy,” Colleen said “I now unplug everything when I am not using it and it makes a big difference.”

Linda said education is an essential part of energy savings.

“I teach clients to reduce energy one watt at a time,” Linda explained “Every little bit adds up.”

Soon after the in-home conservation education lesson, SNAP’s weatherization crew got to work installing cost-effective energy efficiency measures in Colleen’s home.

“Older manufactured homes are typically not insulated properly,” Rudi Jazic, one of SNAP’s energy auditors explains. “The number one measure we do on manufactured homes is insulation.”

Yancey pic 1
A new sliding glass door on Yancy’s home is more energy efficient and allows her to actually open and close the door.

In addition to insulation, the SNAP crew found many ways to increase both the energy efficiency, as well as the safety, of Colleen’s home. Colleen was pleased to find they were replacing a slider door that had plagued her.

“I could barely open and close it,” she said. “It’s a relief to not have to worry about that anymore.”

Additional measures included the installation of a carbon monoxide detector and a new bathroom fan to reduce moisture and increase air quality as well as weather stripping around doors and the insulation of water pipes to prevent heat loss and further reduce energy costs.

“Everyone was super,” Colleen exclaimed.

The crews were also quick and efficient in addressing the job, Colleen added, leaving the home more safe and comfortable than they had found it.

Barb Nooney, an administrative services specialist who has been working at SNAP since 1985, has seen, first-hand, the impact that weatherization can have on low-income households in Spokane.

“The families I talk to are so grateful for the work we do” Barb explained. “They don’t realize until after it’s done how much warmer and efficient their homes are.”

Colleen, who soon started seeing reduced energy bills, can attest to this. A reduction in energy costs has positively affected her overall household budget. She can now use her heating and cooling units when temperatures require it which, in turn, increases the overall comfort of her home.

Several months after her project was completed, Colleen penned a thank you note to express her appreciation saying, “I wanted to thank SNAP and the wonderful guys who have done so much for me. I can’t express how grateful I am,” she wrote.“My mobile home is all tucked in and I now have a sliding glass door that actually opens. Please tell my crew, again, ‘A big thank you and to all that were part of this wonderful upgrade of weatherization!’”