Funded by the U.S. Department of Energy, the Home Weatherization program will retrofit your house for improved energy efficiency, for free.
That’s right. The U.S. government will do home improvements on your residence, for free.
Why? Because reducing the country’s dependence on fossil fuels make good sense. This is a real program, folks, and we can personally attest that, in our case, it made for a modest reduction in electric bills and an enormous increase in comfort.
This program is particularly beneficial in Florida, where air conditioners run year-round, and the state has the second-highest average utility bills in the nation. You’re paying a whopping $459.40/month, on average, for electricity, gas, water, cable TV, internet, and trash & recycling removal, combined.
Now, the Weatherization program isn’t going to pay off immediately–it takes some time to get the work scheduled and completed. But as you are probably poor as a church mouse right now, this is the time to apply and get approved.
To be eligible, your income can’t exceed 200% of the poverty level (that’s $2127 for one person or $4,367 for a family of four). You can qualify as an homeowner or a renter, but renters must obtain their landlord’s permission.
If you’re deemed eligible, the Weatherization program staff will first conduct an energy audit on your home with a blower-door test. If your home is leaking too much air, the technician will decide what work should be done. On a second scheduled visit, workers will perform the retrofit. This may include:
- Attic insulation
- Low-flow shower heads
- Water heater jackets and pipe insulation
- Energy efficient light bulbs
- Energy recovery ventilation, like bathroom & kitchen exhaust fans
- Repair or replacement of exterior doors, windows, refrigerators, water heaters and cooling & heating systems
You can be present while the test and work are performed (in fact, we recommend it). There are a lot of rules designed to protect program integrity, such as: you won’t get a list of the work done or its cost, nor get to keep any boxes (lest you get ideas about re-selling stuff). You’ll have to either accept all the work or none of the work (no picking and choosing). And you’ll need to sign a program agreement certifying that you won’t make any of the aforementioned dickhead moves with this really nice gift.
To apply for the Weatherization program, contact your local weatherization provider.