(ModernSurvival.org) – During the blazing heat of summer and the frigid cold of winter, the average American household’s utility bills tend to skyrocket. The cost of maintaining a survivable climate during these times can quickly become a budget-testing experience.The Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP) maybe the solution you need to save money on utility expenses.
What is the Weatherization Assistance Program?
The Weatherization Assistance Program is America’s largest residential home energy efficiency program. Falling beneath the United States Department of Energy (DOE), the WAP was established to provide a way for low-income households to increase energy efficiency and lower their monthly utility bill.
The program provides home energy-efficiency services which in turn improve health and safety standards. Each year WAP helps roughly 35,000 homes using funds from the DOE.
Low-income households save about $372 annually thanks to weatherization upgrades and services from WAP. Aside from helping low-income and vulnerable families, the program revitalizes communities by spurring economic growth and reducing environmental impact.
Qualifying for the Weatherization Assistance Program
WAP helps qualifying households save money on utilities. But who is eligible for the program?
- Households with one or more members who receive TAFDC or SSI public assistance
- Households eligible for the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program or Fuel Assistance
- Homeowners and tenants with their respective landlord’s permission
- Gross annual income at or below 60% of the estimated state median income.
Homeowners and renters alike are eligible for WAP, though seniors, families which children or disabled members, and high-energy users are given priority.
What Does the Weatherization Assistance Program Pay For?
The WAP offers weatherization services such as:
- Attic, floor, and sidewalk insulation
- Pipe and duct insulation
- Air sealing to reduce infiltration
- Health and safety testing of all home combustion appliances
- Limited energy-related repairs
- Evaluation of heating and cooling systems
How to Apply for the Weatherization Assistance Program
Applying for WAP happens in several steps. Here is how the process works:
Determine Your Eligibility
Each state has different eligibility requirements along with the 60% median income criteria. You will have to look up the specific eligibility guidelines for your state to determine if you qualify.
Identify Your Local Weatherization Provider
The state, territorial, or tribal website for your area will provide you with a list of organizations that offer weatherization services under the “how to apply” section. Some states will accept applications online, but others require you to apply directly with a local provider.
Completing the Application
Once you’ve identified your local provider, contact them to complete the application process. Make sure you have proof of income from the previous year, as this will be required. Social security payments are one example that will work. For additional information regarding income eligibility, consult the HHS’ poverty guidelines.
The final step is to prepare the home for the weatherization process. This includes obtaining permission from the homeowner or landlord.
Quick Tips to Lower Utility Bills
If you’re waiting to hear back from the Weatherization Assistance Program, or don’t qualify for the assistance, here are some quick energy-saving tips that can help you lower your monthly utility bills:
- Replace old light bulbs with energy-efficient light bulbs
- Take shorter, cooler showers
- Wash clothes with cold water, rather than hot water
- Replace HVAC’s air filters
- Update old appliances
- Use optimal freezer and fridge temperatures
- Insulate to reduce air leakage
The U.S. Department of Energy states that American residents use 22% of the nation’s energy supply. Unfortunately, much of this energy is wasted through leaky windows and ducts, old appliances, and inefficient heating and cooling systems. Weatherizing your home improves your living environment and could help you save money on costly utility bills.
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