By Heather Mullinix
Just after the new year, in the dead of winter, a community came together to take a dilapidated home and turn it into a dream home in just under a week, courtesy of ABC Television Network’s “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition.”
And on Nov. 26, viewers will see the transformation of the house Daniel and Mandy Watson and their three children call home.
Among the more than 4,000 volunteers working around the clock that week were David Passon, owner of Advanced Termite and Pest Control, and his crew and students enrolled in the Tennessee Technology Center’s building and construction technology program.
The Watson home had a stream flowing through the foundation, warped floors and cracking walls. Holes in the roof had been covered by tarps for about a year and there was little insulation. On Jan. 11, demolition began on that structure to make room for a new 4,500 square feet of living space between the family’s home and the two-bedroom, one bath duplex where participants in the Restoration House program that mentors to single mothers and their children.
Later that week, Advanced Termite and TTCC students were both scheduled to work, with Advanced Termite providing crawl space encapsulation and TTCC students framing the main house.
Passon explained crawl space encapsulation was an energy-saving technology that would save the family money on monthly utility bills and make the indoor air healthier. Energy savings can be dramatic, and the company advertises 10 to 15 percent savings, though customers have reported savings upwards of 30 percent.
“We seal the crawl space with insulated boards and a thick plastic,” Passon explained. “Then, we dehumidify the air down to about 50 percent. That way the air conditioner doesn’t have to work as hard to remove moisture from the air. In the winter, the insulated boards work to keep the air warm so the heating unit doesn’t have to work as hard.”
Passon was joined by his crew, which included Walt Kimbro, Matt Thompson, Dave Etsey, Michael Smith and Mike Warden, all of whom donated their time to the project. Passon worked with his suppliers to get the materials donated, as well.
With the project running behind, Passon and his crew got to work even though the walls had not yet been framed. Other workers would be above the crawl space seeing to that, including a crew of students from TTCC under the direction of their teacher Steve Lane.
The students, including Jeffery Johanson, Donnie Stone, Justin Peak, Joshua Hartt and George Miller, filed into the work site with tools, gloves and layers of clothes to keep them warm as temperatures started to plunge ahead of a snowstorm that night. They worked through the night and were on hand for the reveal the next week.
“Extreme Makeover: Home Edition” ended its nine-season run on ABC Jan. 13 after 200 episodes. The Watson family project was scheduled as one of four holiday specials and will air Nov. 26 at 8 p.m. on ABC.