One family in Waynesboro, Georgia recently discovered that weatherization upgrades to their home may have actually saved their lives. Mr. and Mrs. Jones had trouble heating and cooling their house in the hot and cold months. They also noticed a strange smell and wondered why they felt more sleepy than usual. An energy audit of their home revealed that they had a major gas leak and an exposed wire in their attic that was burning insulation and causing smoke, and they didn’t have carbon monoxide or smoke detectors. The auditor asked the Jones' to immediately evacuate as the fire department was called and the smoke soon turned into a fire. If not for the energy audit, the Jones' safety could have been severely impaired.

The audit, arranged by the Georgia Weatherization Assistance Program and funded in part by the U.S. Department of Energy's Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE), was initially set up to help the heating and cooling issues the Jones family was facing. Georgia's weatherization program focuses on assisting low-income households with preference given to the elderly, people with disabilities, and families with children. After the Jones family received weatherization services, the gas lines were replaced and the leaks were sealed. Mr. Jones notes that as a result of the weatherization measures installed, the family's energy bills decreased by an average of $120 per month, saving the family more than $1,400 annually.

“If it had not been for the weatherization company, I would have lost my parents and a niece that was living there, so I’m very thankful," the Jones' daughter said.

EERE's Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP) has helped improve the energy efficiency, health and safety, and comfort of more than seven million households. Homes that undergo weatherization services see annual energy savings as well as non-monetary benefits such as increased health and safety in the home. In fact, a 2015 evaluation of WAP found that families can save an average of $283 in annual energy costs after weatherization measures are installed.

When weatherization service providers enter the home, they check major energy systems to ensure occupant safety and measures are taken to improve indoor air quality of the home being weatherized. Thanks to the energy auditor and weatherization providers in Georgia, the Jones family can sleep safely and comfortably.

Watch Mr. and Mrs. Jones tell their story.

EERE's Weatherization Assistance Program reduces energy costs for low-income households by increasing the energy efficiency of their homes, while ensuring their health and safety.