Hannibal resident describes weatherization work an early ‘Christmas present’ | Local News
HANNIBAL — Hannibal resident Joy Brown enthusiastically shared the impact weatherization work was making on Thursday at her home on Settles Street.
“This is my Christmas present,” she said to visitors in her front yard. “Thank you for my Christmas present.”
Representatives from the North East Community Corporation, Craig Redmon, director of the Missouri Department of Natural Resources Division of Energy, Bryan Nichols, communications director for US Rep. Sam Graves, and Carla Potts, deputy director for housing development programs at NECAC, were among the visitors learning about the weatherization efforts unfolding for Brown’s home.
Brown explained her heating and cooling bills have been running as high as $400 per month on a budget plan, and she strives to pay $20 to $50 each month extra to keep ahead. With cold weather on its way, her husband, Anthony, was preparing to once again install plastic sheeting on the inside and outside of each of the windows of their home which is about 130 to 135 years old.
That labor-intensive task will no longer be necessary to fight drafts.
Eric Benn, weatherization supervisor with NECAC, assisted weatherization specialist Jacob Niffen and crew leader Roy Jones with a comprehensive effort to boost the energy efficiency of the Brown family’s home from top to bottom. They will install two new doors, eight vinyl windows, vapor barriers in crawl spaces beneath the home and add insulation in the basement and attic. Efficient LED lights and new smoke and carbon monoxide detectors were also being added.
On Thursday morning, NECAC crew members removed old framing to make way for a new steel front door, part of the extensive efforts to address air leaks throughout the historic home. Benn said many older homes lack the modern insulation methods and materials available today, and it’s common to find walls with no insulation at all. The layer of insulation in Brown’s attic is going to be upgraded from a thickness of three inches to 16 inches.
Benn estimated the savings on heating and cooling costs would be 25-30 percent. He said the approach for each home is to start at the top with attic insulation, then concentrate on sealing the basement before concentrating efforts on caulking gaps, installing windows and taking care of trim work and other areas where air could leak in the middle section.
Brown was overjoyed to see the work going on throughout her home. She constantly strives to make improvements one step at a time, and she commended NECAC and other organizations for their assistance.
Benn estimated the weatherization work would take between four and five days to complete. Brown is looking forward to taking on new projects, which will be easier with the expected reduction for her utility bills. She plans to power wash the home when warm weather returns.
Her garden in the front yard is filled with handmade concrete ornaments bearing the names of her children and grandchildren. Each April, she begins work, receiving lots of help from her grandson who enjoys digging and assisting with bringing the garden to life for the new season.
Brown said she always works to have the garden complete by July 4, preparing it for past occupants of the home and passersby to enjoy. She appreciated “her great neighbors” who go to similar efforts to beautify their yards and look out for one another.
While some people have Christmas in July, Brown was filled with joy as she described her “Christmas in October”.
“I am so blessed. I am just Elated about what is going on to my home,” she said, emphasizing the importance of patience while “waiting for good things to happen”. “I would pray. I belong to Second Christian Church, and they pray, and my family prays — my mother’s a praying person. I have learned through the years to have patience, because I wasn’t a patient person, but look what I ‘m getting now.”