SCARBOROUGH – Dick Dinman’s Highland Avenue house seems comfortable enough, especially the small screening room where he watches movies to prepare for his local weekly radio show, interviewing movie stars.

Dinman, a former actor and casting director, said that when winter comes, his small home takes on the role of a monster, eating oil and letting the cold winds inside.

“This house is basically a cold house,” Dinman said. “I have one room like ‘Ice Station Zebra.’ “

So Dinman was especially happy to open his door to visitors Saturday — a group of volunteers from Hour Exchange Portland, Habitat for Humanity, PROP, the United Way of Greater Portland and AmeriCorps NCCC — who were there to help weatherize Dinman’s and the homes of others in the area.

In Dinman’s house, Eryn Kivo, an AmeriCorps NCCC worker from Minnesota, and Mercedes Porter, an AmeriCorps NCCC worker from California, went to work tackling “Ice Station Zebra,” taping plastic over the windows to cut down on the drafts. Downstairs, another volunteer was taping plastic over a door’s window before wrapping insulation around hot-water pipes.

Dinman said he hopes the steps cut down on his heating bills this winter and make the house more comfortable.

Around the region, about 60 volunteers rolled up their sleeves on weatherization projects, said Rob Ellis, the weatherization coordinator for Hour Exchange Portland, a community service-focused bartering organization.

Ellis said the work ranged from covering windows to sealing leaks with spray foam, installing outlet insulation, weatherstripping and replacing conventional lightbulbs with energy-saving alternatives. The supplies were bought by PROP, which got a bulk purchase discount from The Home Depot, he said.

The goal was “to get a lot of volunteers together and get out to work on scores of houses at one time,” Ellis said.

Ellis said the aim was to get 35 to 40 houses ready for winter by the end of the day Saturday. A few more crews will go out at various times over the next few days, he said, and the organizers expected to have a total of 50 houses buttoned up a little tighter by the end of this week.

For Kivo and Porter, the work was relatively easy, even though the double-sided tape used to put up the plastic around the windows was occasionally balky.

Kivo noted that the pair had recently been in Louisiana, building and repairing homes, and then in New Jersey, helping to create a children’s garden. Since coming to Maine a few weeks ago, they’ve been working at the National Estuary Research Facility in Wells, doing maintenance work on trails and helping restore habitats for cottontail rabbits.

The work at Dinman’s house didn’t require that kind of heavy lifting for the volunteers, but for Dinman it should result in serious savings — and maybe less frequent cameos by the fuel truck driver this winter.

 

Staff Writer Edward D. Murphy can be contacted at 791-6465 or at: [email protected]