TVA EnergyRight helps Knoxville dad find a cool solution after A/C unit stops working
Lewis Davis may have retired in 2021, but his life is still very active. He and his wife, Bernice, are raising two young sons and two American Bully dogs — the youngest just a few weeks old. Photographs of their family adorn the living room walls, and Davis’ favorite brown leather recliner draped in a University of Tennessee blanket is the living room’s centerpiece.
“I love being in Knoxville and love my home. This is a roomy house,” says Davis. “Bernice still works at the industrial park, so I’m a stay-at-home dad. I cook, clean, and do our laundry. I do at all.”
But doing it all isn’t always easy. When the family’s HVAC started to go out last summer, Davis called a repair shop and paid $1100 to have them fix the unit’s fan.
“My house was plus 90 degrees. I bought six big fans and put them in every room of the house to help the air conditioner along. I even started cooking outside on the grill.”
Davis says the repair did not fix his HVAC. After lamenting about his situation, a friend suggested Davis look into the Home Uplift program. TVA EnergyRight partners with local power companies to help income-eligible families save hundreds of dollars on their utility bills with free home energy improvements. Davis reached out to Knoxville Utilities Board, and their team set him up with a TVA-certified Home Energy Advisor.
“He noted the HVAC needed to be replaced,” recalls Davis. “He also checked for air leaks around the house and said my return unit needed to be replaced, and I needed insulation.”
Chasity Hobby with KUB says Davis’ experience is similar to that of many Knoxville residents.
“There are a lot of older, energy inefficient homes in Knoxville, which can greatly impact utility bills. In Mr. Davis’ situation, he was struggling to keep his home cool in the middle of summer, and that was his day-to-day.”
Hobby says Home Uplift not only improved the comfort level for the Davis family but it should help lower their utility bill for years to come.
Davis says he was impressed the same TVA-certified inspector who audited his home for Home Uplift came back to check the contractor’s work.
“He didn’t like how the air was flowing,” Davis says. “So he called the supervisor and told him, ‘Look, this is not right. The air is not flowing right in this house, so you need to get back out here and get Mr. Davis taken care of.’ The whole crew was back out here in two weeks.”
Davis says the sound of his new HVAC kicking on was the best thing he had heard in a long time — until he heard his sons react. “Oh my god. It was like they’re in heaven. My kids said, ‘Daddy, thank you!’ They were in hog heaven.“
Partnering with local power companies to spread the word about Home Uplift
“We often hear the Home Uplift program sounds too good to be true,” says Bethany Kitch, TVA EnergyRight senior program manager. “That’s why it’s important for us to partner with local utility companies that are already trusted partners in their communities and can help recruit people to the Home Uplift program.”
Hobby says the partnership with EnergyRight helps KUB fund programs like Home Uplift. As an environmental program lead for KUB, Hobby is always looking at holistic solutions for internal operations and KUB’s customers. “There’s an energy-saving component to Home Uplift, which helps reduce the carbon footprint,” says Hobby. “But a major sustainability component of the program is helping to promote energy equity and reduce the energy burden for our customers so that all customers can have access to the same resources, and supporting everyone that we serve equally.”