Homeowners Ready for Repairs After San Diego Airport “Free” Soundproofing – NBC 7 San Diego

A “free” program that helps people who live or work below the downtown San Diego airport flight path just announced its biggest financial boost. Last month, the FAA awarded San Diego International Airport nearly $ 26 million to invest in soundproofing homes and buildings that battle the constant roar of planes flying overhead.

But as the airport extends that service to more of San Diego, dozens of owners have filed complaints, saying the free installation is now costing them expensive repairs.

Since its launch 20 years ago, the airport’s Quieter Home program has redeveloped approximately 250 to 400 homes each year at no cost to owners, or nearly 4,600 homes in total.

Dozens of homeowners who took the program years ago, however, are warning those considering signing up to think twice.

Sheila Connor bought her house in Point Loma in 2003. Planes from San Diego International Airport fly over her garden.

“We felt like we won the lottery,” said Connor.

That’s not how Connor feels today, however. Just a few years after the work was finished, she said, problems started to arise. For example, her double-glazed windows, which are so fogged up that she can’t see clearly through them, can’t be opened without a crank, which she says could be a major safety issue in the event of a problem. ’emergency.

Windows aren’t the only problem either. Connor said the furnace was not installed correctly and the air conditioning unit outside broke within three years.

The program often installs fans and / or air conditioning units to allow homeowners to keep all windows and doors closed, blocking outside noise. Other typical installation features include thicker glass installed near entryways, thicker doors, and thick double-glazed windows.

The Quieter Home program offers homeowners a one-year warranty. Unfortunately for Connor, none of these issues arose in that first year. She said the airport administration told her to contact the contractor, but he refused to repair the work done.

“I basically quit trying because I wasn’t going anywhere,” Connor said.

Sjohna Knack leads the Quieter Home program for the San Diego County Regional Airport Authority.

“The people of Point Loma who experience the Point Loma Break [waiting for planes to pass overhead] told us they need to have an alarm clock because the 6:30 am departures don’t wake them up anymore, ”Knack said.

This doesn’t mean that every home is a good fit. Because the program is funded with federal dollars, Knack said, construction choices are very limited. For example, contractors can only install products made in the United States.

“Our specifications are almost 2,000 pages long,” Knack said, “and in great detail they describe the type of products and the types of installation methods that the contractor must perform for this program.”

So what can homeowners like Connor do if they have installation issues after the warranty expires?

“What we encourage the owner to do is contact the manufacturer anyway and ask for suggestions,” Knack said.

Point Loma resident Deborah Padua said that as you grow up you expect to miss out on live TV tunes because of the noise from planes.

“Oh, you couldn’t hear your television,” said Padua. “And now you can. It just passes and you can barely hear them.

The mother from Padua underwent a Quieter Home installation around 10 years ago, and she couldn’t be happier.

“For us it really made the difference,” said Padua. “It brings you a lot of peace in your home.”

Padua was therefore shocked when she read dozens of complaints on Nextdoor about installation complications.

“I was stunned!” Padua said: “because people there were saying their windows were breaking. And I thought, ‘How can they fail?’ “

Knack said the Padua experience matches the majority.

“We survey all owners once we’re done with them, and 97% of owners are happy with the program and happy with the treatments,” Knack said, “and I think that’s really telling.”

Connor, however, cautions homeowners considering the program: Any issues that arise after the one-year warranty ends are right out of your pocket.

“It’s a pretty long contract,” said Connor, “so my advice is to make sure you know what you’re signing.”

To be eligible for the program, the sound of the airplane inside your home must register at least 45 decibels. Knack said the program aims to reduce this noise by 5 decibels. You can find more information about program eligibility here.

If you are curious about the program, here is a copy of the Quieter Home contract:

Participants must also sign an avigation easement form:

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