The Weatherization Assistance Program (Weatherization) is a low-income energy efficiency program administered by the Department of Energy (DOE). Its purpose is to make the homes of low-income clients more energy efficient, thereby reducing the households’ energy bills. The program also improves the health and safety of low-income homes. The energy efficiency and health and safety work is done using the most advanced technologies and testing protocols available in the housing industry. States administer the program in accordance with DOE rules and regulations.
The Weatherization Assistance Program is a federal grant program established to help reduce the heating and cooling costs for low income persons, particularly the elderly, disabled, and children, by improving the energy efficiency of their homes, thereby reducing the households’ energy bills. The program also improves the health and safety of low-income homes. Weatherization has grown from a program in the 1970's that used volunteers to install low cost, temporary measures, to a program using trained workers to install permanent, cost effective measures that address both the energy efficiency and health and safety of the dwelling.
The installation of energy efficiency measures for each dwelling is based on a computerized energy audit which determines the cost effectiveness of each measure. Energy efficiency measures include high density wall and attic insulation and blower door - guided infiltration reduction. Because the weatherization procedures result in "tightening" homes, indoor air quality and other client health and safety issues are also addressed. Health and safety measures include safety checks of all combustion appliances.
Besides the obvious benefit of conserving energy, the Iowa Weatherization Assistance Program also provides other benefits to Iowa and its residents. The program results in millions of dollars of additional value added to the Iowa economy. The program also solves certain health and safety problems in the client's homes, maintains affordable housing for low-income persons, reduces utility averages, and reduces environmental pollution.
How to Apply
- The agency will schedule an appointment with you to take your application. They will tell you what information you should bring with you. Note: Your application for Weatherization is also an application for the LIHEAP (energy assistance) Program.
- Upon taking your application, the agency will then determine if your household is income-eligible.
- If you are determined to be income-eligible, your name will be placed on the Weatherization waiting list.
- When you are contacted by the agency, a trained agency staff person will look at your home to see what can be done to make it more energy efficient.
Weatherization services differ with each home depending on how it was built and its condition.
Some common weatherization services include:
- Adding insulation to the attic, walls and/or floors. If insulation is added, holes may be drilled in the siding and vents may be added to the roof. These measures will reduce the amount of heat being lost through the walls, ceiling and floors.
- The combustion appliances (heating systems, water heaters, stoves) will be safety-checked to ensure that they are not putting off too much carbon monoxide. If they are, depending upon your circumstance, the program may replace your appliance. This will ensure that health and safety problems are not created by tightening up your house.
- Your heating system may be cleaned and tuned, repaired, retrofitted, and in some cases, replaced.
- Energy efficient lighting will be installed.
- Once your home has been weatherized, an agency inspector will visit your home and verify that the work was done completely and professionally. In addition, the inspector will answer any questions that you may have as well as instruct you on energy-saving measures you can take to make your home even more energy-efficient.
- Rarely do we replace windows and doors
- We will not paint your house
- General fix-up work on your home
- Yard work
- House cleaning
- Roof replacements
This assistance is provided at no cost to you. The weatherization work is paid for with federal and utility funds. This work and your own efforts will help to lower your heating, cooling and electrical costs.
The work on your home will be done by qualified contractors or agency crew members. The weatherization contractor or crew members will contact you to set up the day and time they will begin the work which will usually take about 5 days. It will be your responsibility to make timely arrangements with the contractor/crew member to give them access to your home so they can complete the work. Normal working hours for the contractors/crew members are 8:00am to 5:00pm Monday through Friday. You will need to make your home accessible to them during these hours.
A qualified furnace contractor will perform the heating system work. The furnace contractor will contact you to set up the day and time work will begin. It will be your responsibility to make timely arrangements with the contractor to give them access to your home so they can complete the work. Normal working hours for the contractors are 8:00am to 5:00pm Monday through Friday. You will need to make your home accessible to them during these hours.
The weatherization work done on your home is guaranteed for one year against defects in material and workmanship by the contractors. Please keep the name, address and phone number of the contractor that has completed your home's weatherization. If you have any questions or a problem with the weatherization work, please call the local agency that served you.
When the contractor is ready to begin work, it would be helpful if you would move house plants and fragile items so they are not damaged during the construction process; expect some dust! The workers will need to get to the furnace, attic, and window areas. If you have items stored in the attic, they should be moved or covered.
Each year, there are more clients who are eligible for the Weatherization Program than can be served during the year (approximately 80,000 applicants are approved each year in Iowa – approximately 2,000 applicants can be served statewide per year based upon current funding levels). Therefore, it is necessary to provide services to clients based on a priority system.
Clients with the highest priority points (numbers) are served first. Agencies must serve clients according to the priority system, which is based on an estimate of annual client bill savings for heating, water heating, and air conditioning measures. Additional priority is given if any household members are elderly, disabled, or young children. The agency must use this client priority method to select the clients it serves.
Because the WAP is an energy efficiency program, there are some things that the program cannot address.
- Replace windows and doors
- Remodel or renovate homes
- Major roof repair or replacement
- Siding repair or replacement
- Yard work