The Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP) offers assistance to eligible families suffering from high energy bills due to drafty windows, uninsulated and leaky attics or other inefficiencies. Although WAP is a federal government program, the eligibility criteria differ by state and the weatherization services themselves are performed by local agencies.
Who is eligible?
Eligibility for weatherization services depends on income. If you receive Supplemental Security Income or Aid to Families with Dependent Children, you are automatically eligible. In other cases, states give preference to:
- People over 60 years of age
- Families with one or more members with a disability
- Families with children (in most states).
For more information on eligibility, check out the Weatherization Assistance Program site.
What measures qualify?
Weatherization measures should be cost effective and reduce energy cost. A whole-house energy audit determines what concrete measures qualify depending on your home's weatherization needs. This audit looks at your energy bills, analyzes air infiltration, checks if your home's equipment meets health and safety standards, and lists the most cost-effective energy efficiency measures for your home.
Window replacement has typically not been among the recommended weatherization measures because of its cost. Recently, however, windows have become a more likely option because weatherization funding has increased, enabling weatherization agencies to do more substantial work per home. The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act increased the average federal funding for weatherizing one dwelling unit from $2,500 to $6,500. Each state may have a level of funding per home that is slightly different from that average. Regardless of this funding increase, windows remain among the measures with a longer return on investment. Whether they qualify depends on the condition of your existing windows, your climate and local energy prices.
If window replacement is considered too costly, some lower-cost options for improving the energy-performance of your windows may qualify, such as caulking and weatherstripping, storm windows, and solar control window film.
Aside from window-related measures, qualifying weatherization measures may include air sealing, insulation, heating and air conditioning equipment, duct sealing, water heaters, or electrical appliances. The priority of all measures is to save energy over years to come, and the work is performed by professionals from your local weatherization agency.
How to apply for weatherization assistance?
To find out if you are eligible for free weatherization services, contact your State weatherization official for more information.