Today is the first day of fall and Iowa’s largest utility is being deluged with customers who are requesting free energy audits for their homes before the winter winds howl. Allan Urlis, spokesman for MidAmerican Energy, says the trained experts who do the assessments are backlogged for weeks.Urlis says the Des Moines-based utility had been getting 80 calls per week for the “HomeCheck” program but lately has gotten more than 300 calls per week. He says they’re working diligently to get caught up and meet the requests. In Cedar Rapids, Iowa City, Des Moines and the Quad City areas, they’ve added staff to respond to the demand as the waits are five weeks now. He says the goal is to get that down to a three-to-four week wait by month’s end. Urlis says the energy auditors give your home a thorough check. They’ll assess the insulation, examine energy use patterns and offer advice. They’ll also leave behind several free items like: an insulation blanket for the water heater, six feet of insulation for water pipes, low-flow faucet aerators, low-flow showerheads, up to five energy-efficient light bulbs and a waterbed mattress pad. Residential customers qualify for HomeCheck if they live in Iowa in a home built before 1995 and heat with fuel supplied directly by MidAmerican Energy. For more details, call 800-545-0762 or surf to “” for an online energy audit.