Weatherization Assistance program

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The Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP) is offered by the United States Department of Energy (DOE) as a free service to eligible low-income households. This weatherization program helps families reduce overall energy costs by increasing the energy efficiency of their homes. LIHEAP and the WAP weatherization program for seniors, disabled people and families with young children offer many benefits, including reduced heating and cooling costs and improved health and safety factors. WAP also helps communities by supporting thousands of jobs nationwide and improving the quality of life in over 30,000 homes every year.

There is no weatherization assistance program cost to beneficiaries, which is particularly helpful considering that low-income households tend to carry a larger energy cost burden and may not be able to afford weatherization otherwise. Read on to learn more about the Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP) and how to apply for it in your area.

Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP) Eligibility

Weatherization Assistance Program eligibility is determined mostly by income, although priority is given to households with elderly, disabled or young children. Weatherization program participants must meet the current poverty income guidelines for their states, and the household’s combined income cannot exceed the percentage set for the program.

You may automatically qualify for the WAP weatherization program if you already receive certain forms of public assistance, such as food stamps or disability income. The Weatherization Assistance Program is open to applicants who own their homes as well as those who rent a house or apartment. Note that a landlord or building owner must provide permission before a weatherization program expert can inspect the property or begin work on an individual unit located in a multi-family building.

How to Apply for the Weatherization Assistance Program

If you meet the Weatherization Assistance Program eligibility requirements outlined above, your next step is to find out what agency provides WAP services in your area. After making contact with your state’s weatherization program office, a caseworker will tell you how to apply for weatherization assistance program services and provide you with a form to complete.

The specific method for how to apply for weatherization benefits varies by state, as each agency creates its own application forms. Most weatherization program applications will include sections to provide information about yourself, your household members, your home or apartment and your household income. The Weatherization Assistance Program application will also require you to show proof of income for all household members. This is commonly demonstrated by showing copies of the previous year’s tax returns.

After your weatherization program eligibility and application is verified and approved, you will likely be placed on a waiting list before your weatherization work can begin. This is because each state gives priority to certain applicants. This policy may cause you to wait longer than a household that includes residents who are more at risk of health or other complications from the lack of weatherization in the home. To get more detailed information about energy assistance, download our free comprehensive guide.

Benefits of Receiving Home Weatherization

The weatherization program offers multiple benefits to qualifying households. The lack of any out-of-pocket weatherization assistance program cost means that WAP helps more families obtain the benefits of living in a home with improved energy efficiency through weatherization.

The benefits of participating in the WAP weatherization program include energy-related benefits and non-energy benefits. Energy-related benefits include the actual cost savings of having a home that can stand up to weather extremes. WAP can help drastically reduce the amount of money a low-income household devotes to energy costs each year.

Apart from helping you save money on your utility bills, the weatherization program can help you save on medical expenses if you or a household member had health issues related to mold or moisture hazards, such as asthma. You may enjoy more money in your pocket each month, not only due to reduced energy costs but because efficient lighting fixtures last longer and require much fewer bulb changes than traditional lighting sources. The program also provides improved home comfort.

What happens after being approved for weatherization services?

Even though each weatherization program agency has its own methods for providing WAP benefits, most follow the same basic steps. Most weatherization program tasks begin with an energy expert performing an energy audit at the applicant’s residence. The purpose of an audit is to identify and uncover problems that must be repaired, modified or improved.

After the WAP weatherization program audit, the energy expert will create a plan of action to remedy the most pressing needs. A work crew will then implement the plan by performing the repairs or replacements needed to bring the home up to WAP energy efficiency standards. The final step in the process includes different types of inspections to verify that all work was done correctly.

Typical Weatherization Procedures

The Weatherization Assistance Program provides common home repairs related to energy efficiency, as well as less-common processes to improve the household members’ quality of life. The types of procedures will be tailored to each applicant’s needs, and the services offered may vary somewhat between states or counties. Workers employed by the WAP weatherization program are also trained to educate applicants on the value of energy efficient practices and products, home safety issues and how to identify potential household hazards.

The weatherization program for seniors and other vulnerable families takes care of mechanical, structural, electric and water issues and also conducts safety testing. Typical weatherization program measures include:

  • Procedures to reduce drafts around doors and windows.
  • Upgrading old household fixtures or appliances with newer, energy-efficient models.
  • Servicing heating or cooling equipment.
  • Repairing various structural items.
  • Removal of hazardous conditions.

You can find information about energy assistance services when you download our free, informative guide.