Weatherization is a process to protect a building from the outside weather elements and improve its energy efficiency.
The Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP) provides free weatherization services to qualifying households with low income.
To find out if you can get weatherization assistance, contact your local WAP agency or use our online tool at BenefitsCheckUp.org.
If your home is not well-shielded from extreme temperatures, sun, high winds, and heavy rain, it can affect your energy costs, comfort—and even your health. That's where weatherization comes in. No matter where in the country you live, you should understand the importance of weatherization and how to get help protecting your home.
What is weatherization?
Weatherization is a process to protect a building from the outside elements and improve its energy efficiency. It helps a house stay warmer in the cold weather and cooler in the hot weather while reducing energy usage. Weatherization also helps prevent costly (and sometimes hazardous) damage from water, moisture, and sunlight.
What does it mean to weatherize a home?
Weatherizing involves making upgrades and repairs to a home to enhance energy efficiency and lower overall energy consumption. This may include, for example:
- Insulating the walls and attic
- Caulking and weather-stripping doors and windows
- Replacing broken window glass
- Installing energy-efficient light bulbs
- Wrapping hot water tanks with insulation
- Tuning and repairing heating systems
- Installing low-flow shower heads and faucet aerators
- Sealing areas where air is leaking through (drafts)
- Installing carbon monoxide detectors
- Sealing/insulating heating and cooling ducts
Why is weatherization important?
Weatherizing is a worthwhile investment offering many benefits, including saving homeowners 20-30% on utility bills (especially in colder climates).1 According to the U.S. Department of Energy, weatherization can lead to an annual energy savings of $283.2
Other benefits of weatherization include:
- Increasing the value of your home
- Improving indoor air quality
- Enhancing sleep quality
- Reducing energy-related hazards
- Decreasing environmental impact
Can I get weatherization assistance?
Many people with limited income struggle to afford their energy costs. Often, they're forced to choose between paying a utility bill and buying healthy food to eat. If your household needs help paying home heating and cooling expenses, you may qualify for the Weatherization Assistance Program.
What is the Weatherization Assistance Program?
The Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP) is the largest residential energy efficiency program in the country. It helps households with limited income reduce their energy costs by improving their home’s energy performance (at no cost to them).
WAP provides funding to all 50 U.S. states, the District of Columbia, Native American tribes, and the five U.S. territories. This money is used to deliver weatherization services to roughly 35,000 homes each year.2
Services are 100% free for those who qualify.
Who qualifies for weatherization assistance?
Homeowners, renters, and mobile-home owners are all able to apply for WAP. Income is one of the biggest factors affecting WAP eligibility. Households that fall at or below 200% of the poverty income guidelines qualify for weatherization assistance if they receive Supplemental Security Income (SSI) or Aid to Families with Dependent Children. Among this group, priority is given to:
- Older adults age 60+
- Households with one or more members with a disability
- Households with children, in most states
- High-energy users
Also, each state may have its own additional eligibility guidelines.
How to apply for weatherization assistance
The process to apply for weatherization assistance differs from state to state. However, in general, the process follows these steps:
1. Submit an application through your local WAP agency: Choose your state, tribe, or territory on this map to review eligibility guidelines. If you qualify, follow instructions on your state's website for how to apply. Some sites will link directly to an online WAP application. But most will ask you to choose an approved local weatherization agency from a list and request help directly through them.
Once you've selected a weatherization agency near you, contact them and ask to start the application process. You may be required to provide proof of income, such as pay stubs. The agency will tell you if you qualify for the Weatherization Assistance Program once they receive your application and proof of income.
Note: In some states, like New Hampshire, the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) application is also used to apply for weatherization assistance. Just remember to check “yes” on the question that asks, “Are you interested in receiving weatherization services?” Some states may require that you apply and get approval for LIHEAP benefits before applying for the Weatherization Assistance Program.
2. Have a no-cost energy audit completed: If you're approved for weatherization services, you’ll receive a date for an energy audit. During this audit, an energy auditor will do a walk-through of your home and review its energy efficiency. They will identify problem areas, such as inefficient appliances and drafty windows, as well as safety concerns like mold or poor indoor air quality. This process helps determine the most cost-effective energy conservation solutions to install in your home.
The auditor will then create a work order for your weatherization project. This work will be scheduled for a day and time that’s convenient for you. All services will be performed by a WAP-approved, fully licensed contractor based in your local area.
3. Prepare your home for weatherization services: Get ready for the crew’s arrival by securing any pets, removing clutter from main areas and walkways, and making your attic and basement accessible. If you rent, you must get permission from your landlord before receiving any weatherization services.
See if you qualify for WAP and other money-saving programs
BenefitsCheckUp is a free, easy-to-use online tool where you can browse benefit programs, including the Weatherization Assistance Program, and find out if you qualify. Visit BenefitsCheckUp.org and enter your ZIP code to get started.
1. Top Five Reasons You Should Care About Weatherization, National Association for State Community Services Programs. Found on the internet at https://nascsp.org/top-five-reasons-you-should-care-about-weatherization/
2. Weatherization Works! U.S. Department of Energy Office of Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy. Found on the internet at https://www.energy.gov/sites/prod/files/2018/03/f49/WAP-fact-sheet_final.pdf