2012-10-12 / Community

School teaches how to keep warm

By Jack Flagler
Staff Writer


Mike Pindell of I&S Insulation, based out of Portland and Wiscasset, demonstrates how to effectively use a caulking gun to insulate cracks on window panes or other vulnerable areas where air might escape from a house. (Jack Flagler photo) Mike Pindell of I&S Insulation, based out of Portland and Wiscasset, demonstrates how to effectively use a caulking gun to insulate cracks on window panes or other vulnerable areas where air might escape from a house. (Jack Flagler photo) Temperatures have dipped into the 30s and 40s during overnight lows as Maine moves through fall. Although Mainers might not have fired up their wood stoves or cranked up their furnaces quite yet, winter is coming, and Southern Maine Community College helped to make sure homeowners are prepared.

SMCC hosted a free workshop Thursday, Oct. 4 at its South Portland campus led by John Monaghan, an energy auditor based out of Harpswell, and Mike Pindell, a branch manager with I&S Insulation based out of both Portland and Wiscasset.

Pindell and Monaghan fielded questions from residents who attended the workshop and offered simple tips to cut down on energy costs. Their advice ranged from providing information on which light bulbs and appliances to use to how to use a caulking gun to seal windows and keep air out.

Monaghan called air sealing the “low-hanging fruit” that is usually an easy fix for a homeowner. No matter how well-insulated a home is, Pindell said, without air sealing energy bills could still be high. Simply sealing up small areas like attic hatches can make a huge difference.

“Without going to extreme measures, I think that’s a good target to get to by changing your behavior a little bit and doing some insulating and air sealing,” Pindell said.

The free workshop was funded through a grant to SMCC from Efficiency Maine. A similar workshop was offered the previous night at SMCC’s Brunswick campus, where Pindell said he heard from a lot more residents in older houses that are more difficult to insulate. Because of the recent population growth in the Portland area, he said, there are more residents in modern homes.

Sue Garrett teaches nursing at SMCC and said while she was happy for the advice, she was a little worried that the insulation and seals in her home were done incorrectly the first time. She plans to bring in a professional for an energy audit to find out. Asked if the tips will help her save money, Garrett responded, “I hope so. That’s my goal. I haven’t turned my furnace on yet, so we’re trying hard to keep that down.”

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