FARMINGTON—Winter in San Juan County can mean high utility bills and increased discomfort for anyone living in poorly sealed home or apartment. An annual program through San Juan College aims to assist the disabled and elderly in need of weather sealing their residences before the snows and freezing air of winter descend on the county.

San Juan College's Service Learning Program, Volunteer Center and students enrolled in a Principles of Management class are coordinating the weatherization project, which scheduled from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Oct. 19 and 20.

Nick Montoya, a student in the Principles of Management class, said that his class's biggest concern is making sure that those who are in need of the weatherization service receive it.

"There's lots of folks that have to heat their homes with traditional methods like burning wood," he said.

Heat escapes from each gap in a doorway or poorly sealed window. The weatherization service reduces heating costs by caulking around doors, windows, covering air conditioners and creating double-paned windows by adding a layer of plastic. Taking these precautions can boost a home's temperature anywhere from 10 to 12 degrees, Montoya said.

The program focuses on providing weatherization services to those on fixed incomes and the disabled, and is accessible to a greater range of people than government-run programs, Montoya said.

Those interested must demonstrate they are unable to physically complete the work on their own, or that they live on a fixed income.

The program received 49 applications. The students hope to weatherize at least 60 homes before winter, said college Service Learning Coordinator Mip Van Suchtelen.

"They do most of the work," she said. "We have 20 management students that do all the recruiting of volunteers, clients and the logistics."

About 120 volunteers, including college students, high school students and residents, have signed up for the project, she said.

Senior citizens and the disabled throughout San Juan County are encouraged to submit an application by calling Van Suchtelen at 566-3120 or by downloading an application form at www.sanjuancollege.edu/servicelearning. The deadline is Oct. 10.

Those who would like to volunteer for the Weatherization project may contact Lucy Haber at 566-3690.