SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — Many of us are usually aware of the heating bill as we start turning up the dial in our homes for the winter,  The added expense is especially difficult for low income families in the Ozarks.

Winter is fast approaching and you may be looking at ways to save on bills by weatherizing your house.

Whether it’s summer’s heat or winter’s snow, your house takes a beating from Mother Nature, but there are ways to better protect your home and the people inside of it.

“I’m really glad because sometimes it get’s pretty drafty, especially in the different rooms like the dining room,” says Springfield homeowner Marilyn Shipman, who is getting help winterizing her home this week.

Shipman has been in her home since 1991 and with the cost of bills she is now receiving service to eliminate some of that stress.
“The electrical bill has been kind of high,” she notes.

Ozarks Area Community Action Corporation (OACAC) is a local non profit that is helping lower income individuals like Shipman to properly insulate and prepare their house for the winter months.

“We try to make it as energy efficient as we possibly can,” says Todd Steinman, weatherization director at OACAC.

Steinman says this not only makes the homes warmer, but it makes the energy bills go down, which is crucial for someone on a tight budget.
“We weatherize  for year round. So it’s not only for the savings in the winter time on heating costs it also saves in the summer time for cooling cost. The savings is year round for weatherization.”

The weatherization program provides all this work at no cost to the families.  On average, OACAC spends over $4,000 per home

“Every home is different . We do an energy audit on each home that is run through a computerized energy audit,” Steinman explains.  “Based on the factors of that home and what we do is cost effective. So there’s a payback in energy savings we go ahead and do those measures.

The program helps around 200 homes a year in ten counties across the Ozarks; saving the average family an extra $400 in energy savings per year.
“Really excited and appreciate it,” Shipman says.

Steinman added it’s not only about the money families are saving for the program, but it’s also for the comfort of the home.

If you’re interested or think you qualify for energy assistance, you can learn more and download an application here