U.S. Department of Energy - Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy
Weatherization & Intergovernmental Program
Apply for Weatherization Assistance
It is easy to find out if you are eligible and to apply for weatherization. Usually you can do it in a weatherization agency near your home.
Am I Eligible?
Want to apply immediately?
Select your state from the map on the State Contacts page and get the phone number and address of your state weatherization office.
As many as 20 to 30 million U.S. families are eligible for weatherization services nationwide. Services are provided by the states, and each state has slightly different criteria. All energy services are handled by local weatherization agencies.
If you receive Supplemental Security Income or Aid to Families with Dependent Children, you are automatically eligible to receive weatherization services. 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).
One of the primary factors affecting eligibility is income. Depending on what state you live in, you are eligible for weatherization if your income falls below the "200% poverty level" defined in the PDF below. Note, however, that some states use a third alternative to set eligibility if your income is less than 60% of the median income in your state; and minimum incomes for Hawaii and Alaska, respectively, are slightly higher. For details, see the DOE Poverty Income Guidelines for 2009.
How does the process work?
- Call local agency
- The states, not DOE, keep up-to-date lists of local weatherization agencies.
- All weatherization services are provided by local agencies.
- Most agencies are nonprofits that employ energy professionals.
- Some are branches of local governments.
- Come in and apply
- Application form usually takes about 20 minutes
- You must have proof of income for the year prior to application. (For people on fixed incomes, this is usually easy to do).
- The agency also asks a small number of questions about your household, such as, the number of people living in the home.
- Your eligibility is determined
- If you are eligible, your weatherization agency puts you on a waiting list.
- If you rent, you must get permission from your landlord.
- People most in need are often moved to the top of the waiting list.
- Professional energy consultation
- Analysis of your energy bills
- Test the infiltration of outside air with a blower door
- Inspect equipment for health and safety
- List the most cost-effective energy conservation measures for your home.
- Workers arrive
- Local weatherization agency schedules work.
- Average expenditure of $6,500 per home
- All work is energy-related. Work does not include new roofing, siding, or similar.
- Work is typically completed in a day or two.
- You sign off on final inspection.
Frequently Asked Questions About Eligibility and Applying for Weatherization
Low-income families often have a number of questions for the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) on how to apply for weatherization assistance or about DOE's role in the process. If you want to apply immediately for weatherization, you'll need to contact your state agency.
If I rent, can I still apply?
Whether you own or rent, live in a single-family home, multi-family housing complex, or a mobile home, you can apply for assistance. If you rent, you must get written permission from your landlord before weatherization services can be performed.
If my income is within these national guidelines, will I be guaranteed to receive weatherization services?
Not necessarily. You will need to check your states particular guidelines. Funding can also be an issue because Congress allocates a certain amount of funding for the program on a national level, and it varies from year to year. Please be patient if you are put on a waiting list. Your home will be weatherized as soon as possible.
If I'm not eligible for this program, whom can I call for help?
- Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP)
Even if you are not approved for DOE-sponsored weatherization assistance, you might still be eligible for short-term assistance on your utility bill from the LIHEAP Program. Funded by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, LIHEAP serves low-income families. In addition, states often use LIHEAP funds for weatherization to reduce a family's energy bills over the long term.
- Assistance to Individuals Involved in a Natural Disaster
The Federal Energy Management Agency (FEMA) provides a number of services to assist individuals who are victims of a natural disaster. These services include low-interest loans, some cash grants, and links to assistance from other agencies such as the Internal Revenue Service and Farm Service Agency.
Why can't I call DOE directly to apply for assistance?
Because of the guidelines set down by the U.S. Constitution, the federal government does not provide assistance directly to individuals. Instead, this function is the responsibility of the states. DOE does not have an application form to give to individuals for weatherizing their homes. DOE does not accept applications from individuals. Since each state has a different procedure, all we can do is refer you to your respective state agency.
What happens to my home during the Weatherization Process?
The first step in the process is for your local weatherization agency to carry out an energy audit. This agency is a nonprofit weatherization organization, local governmental agency, or sometimes a contractor trained in home energy services. The energy audit is a computerized assessment of your home's energy use and an analysis of which energy conservation measures are best for your home.
Once the audit is complete, the auditor or inspector from the local weatherization agency will meet with you and your family to explain how the work crews will conduct the work. Depending on your needs, the inspector will recommend more work in some homes than in others.
Throughout the weatherization process, the health and safety of your family remain a priority. Following weatherization, an inspector will return to make certain that everything is working properly and that nothing was missed.
How will I benefit by participating in this program?
Weatherization reduces your energy bills for a long time. Some measures, such as insulating your walls or roof, for example, will continue to provide you savings for the lifetime of your house—30 years or more. Others, such as making your heating or cooling equipment more efficient, will provide savings for 10 to 15 years. On average, the value of the weatherization improvement to your house is 2.2 times greater than the cost of the improvement itself.