Dixfield fuel company reports $100,000 plus in donations

Erin Cox/Sun Journal

Kevin Casey, left, project manager for Upright Frameworks in Wilton, left, explains the process of measuring air loss in a home to Ike Libby of Hometown Energy in Dixfield on Sunday. Upright Frameworks offered free services to Robert and Wilma Hartford of Peru, after they were featured in The New York Times article Saturday about Mainers struggling to heat their homes in the winter.

PERU — Hometown Energy owner Ike Libby said Monday night that Americans have sent his company more than $100,000 since it was mentioned Saturday in a front-page article in the The New York Times on Mainers struggling to heat their homes this winter.

Erin Cox/Sun Journal

DeWitt Kimball of Complete Home Evaluation Services in Brunswick uses an infrared camera to capture images of heat loss in the house of Robert and Wilma Hartford of Peru on Sunday. Kimball offered his services to the couple to help cut their dependency on oil, after he learned of their struggle in an article the The New York Times on Saturday.

Erin Cox/Sun Journal

DeWitt Kimball, back, of Complete Home Evaluation Services in Brunswick, shows homeowner Robert Hartford of Peru how an infrared camera shows heat loss in his house. Robert and Wilma Hartford were featured in an article in The New York Times on Saturday on the struggle Mainers face to heat their homes in the winter.

He said he was too busy answering the phone at his business at 90 Weld St. in Dixfield to tally the amount of donations given to pay for heating fuel deliveries to the needy, especially the elderly.

"I don't care for government," he said, because of recent cuts in heating assistance. "But I tell you, after this I'm proud to be an American."

The New York Times article featured Robert and Wilma Hartford of Peru, who are disabled, living on $1,200 a month and struggling to pay for oil to heat their home.

On Sunday, representatives from Upright Frameworks in Wilton, Energy Circle Pro in Freeport and Complete Home Evaluation Services of Brunswick visited the Hartfords' house to assess its energy efficiency.

Josh Wojcik, who runs Upright Frameworks, said he knew the core of the heating problem was heating efficiency so he and Kevin Casey, project manager, offered their services to fix the Hartfords' house.

Wojick, who said he is passionate about decreasing the nation's dependency on oil, said making homes in Maine efficient is an easy economic solution.

Maine has approximately half a million homes and with simple and inexpensive measures the state could cut its need for oil by 25 to 35 percent, he said.

He said if the state invested more into programs such as Efficiency Maine, not only would homeowners see more money in their pocketbooks, but the state's economy would also benefit.

"Dollars in equals dollars out," Wojick said.

He said the math made sense.

"With a 25 to 35 percent cut in home heating costs, the state would see approximately $300 million left in state instead of going out of state to oil companies," he said. "It also creates jobs."

Wojick and Peter Troast, CEO of Energy Circle Pro, said they have been frustrated with the lack of response when talking with state and federal representatives about the issue.

"The housing stock in Maine is in such poor condition," Wojick said. "We keep throwing Band-Aids on it instead of solving the root of the problem."

DeWitt Kimball of Complete Home Evaluation Services said the current administration is cutting key programs that help those most in need.

"The Maine State Housing Authority is under attack," Kimball said.

With recent cuts to programs such as Low Income Home Energy Assistance and MSHA many residents, including the elderly, are being left out in the cold.

Kimball believes Maine is behind other states in home efficiency and said the government needs to step up to the plate.

"The people that are struggling and trying their best are being forgotten," Kimball said.

Wojick agreed, saying it was time the state took a common sense approach to the problem.

"A lot of our state is elderly and they can't go out and cut wood or man the wood stove," he said. "Are we just going to let our aging population freeze?"

Libby agreed with the group.

"I think heating programs are just a way to subsidize high oil prices," he said.

Kimball said the donations to Hometown Energy to help pay for heating oil is an awe inspiring movement. He said by winterizing area homes that money could last a lot longer.

Air leakage is more than half the heat loss homeowners experience, he said.

The Hartfords' house is one of the worst cases Kimball said he has seen, with a loss of three and half of the home's air volume per hour.

"Normal and healthy air loss in a home should only be one third of its air volume per hour," he said. "I've done hundreds of these and this one is way above the normal."

All three men said simple steps could be taken by homeowners to fix the problem.

DeWitt suggested feeling for air loss around windows and doors and said spider webs and cobwebs are key indicators of air loss.

He also said 20 to 30 percent of heat loss can be found in attics and through wires.

DeWitt suggested using a can of spray foam to hit areas in the attic where wires are threaded through the walls and ceilings.

He also suggested using pieces of insulation and removable caulking to seal bulkhead doors during the winter.

"There are many things that can be done without calling a professional," he said.

Kimball said people can throw money into programs to buy oil for residents but that cost will never decrease without home efficiency measures.

"It's like a hole in the bucket," he said.


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 's picture

Upright Frameworks

While it's nice that people donated to the oil company, my donation will be going to Upright Frameworks. Their donated work is the real solution to the problem. Great job! Upright Frameworks, I "liked" you on Facebook and will be sending in my donation.

 's picture

Thank You givers but..

Efficiency Maine is for rich people who can afford their services in order to qualify for grants to retrofit.

We really do not need infared to tell us heat is rising through that gaping hole in the ceiling.

Communtiy Concepts have had programs in place for years to help people insulate. They provide window kits, storm doors etc. The catch? You need to be really poor. But..Community Concepts hooks you up with repairs.

save save save use less

Jacqueline Libby DeLasso's picture

Pay it forward!

After reading this article, and seeing it on TV last night, I thought it was overwhelming!!!!!
How a man and his company can so selflessly do so much,with no thought to gain anything for himself. And all the donations that came in to support what this man and his company do, is to be commended!!! It brings pride to my heart,and faith in people and our country to know that no matter how bad the government makes those suffer by taking cutbacks on the things that are necessary to survive, WE STILL GOT IT!!!!
We do look after our own, and maybe we don't have (50 cents) to spare but
we are willing to give a quarter to help out when and where we can!!!!
I am so proud of our folks in Maine, and those who donated! Ike, you are an Angel in disguise! Bless you and yours!


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