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What is weatherization?
Weatherization is making homes more energy efficient. Weatherization of a home typically involves the installation of attic, wall and floor insulation and sealing holes and cracks with caulking, weather-stripping and other types of materials. In addition, all furnaces, cooking stoves and water heaters receive a safety inspection. Weatherization services do not include roof replacement, siding repairs or replacement windows.

Who is eligible to receive weatherization services?
An estimated 51,000 Nebraska households are eligible for weatherization assistance services. Preference is given to persons over 60, persons with disabilities, and families with children under six.

Eligibility is limited to households with incomes at or below 200 percent of the federal poverty level. Eligibility begins at $15,315 and rises based on the number of persons living in the home. Income guidlines are listed here. Households containing a member who is receiving either Aid to Dependent Children or Supplemental Security Income are automatically eligible to receive services.

How can I receive home weatherization services?
Eight, non-profit organizations provide local weatherization services. They are responsible for establishing eligibility, performing an energy audit on the residence and scheduling the weatherization work. Find the weatherization provider in your area.

Congress provides funds for weatherization assistance which 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. Learn the average number of homes weatherized in your area.

Are renters eligible for weatherization services?
Yes, both homeowners and renters are eligible, whether you live in a single-family home, multi-family housing complex, or a mobile home, you can apply for assistance. However, renters must receive written permission from their landlords.

Is there a charge for weatherization services?
All weatherization services are provided at no cost. However, if a furnace or water heater in a rental home is found to be unsafe, it is the responsibility of the owner to replace or repair the appliance before weatherization of the home can begin.

Can mobile homes be weatherized?
Yes, typical improvements to mobile homes include underbelly insulation, storm windows and sealing air leaks.

Does weatherization reduce heating bills?
Weatherization reduces your energy bills for a long time. After a home has been weatherized, energy used for heating is often reduced by up to 25 percent. Some improvements, such as insulating your walls or attic, for example, will continue to provide savings for the lifetime of the home -- 30 years or more. Other improvements, such as making heating or cooling equipment more efficient, will provide savings for 10 to 15 years. On average, the value of the weatherization improvements to a house is 2.2 times greater than the cost of the improvement itself.

Can a home receive weatherization services every year?
A home may be weatherized only once, except that homes weatherized before October 1, 1993 may be reweatherized.

What are the alternatives to waiting for weatherization assistance?

  • The Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program, or LIHEAP may be an option. You may be eligible for short-term assistance on your utility bill.
  • Assistance to individuals in a natural disaster may be another, but limited, option. The Federal Emergency Management Agency, or 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.
  • Dollar and Energy Saving Loans may be an option for making home weatherization improvements. Any improvement that can be completed under the weatherization program can also be financed with loans from the Energy Office and participating lenders. There are no income restrictions for loans. Lenders make credit worthiness determinations.

What happens to a home that is weatherized?
First, staff from the local or regional agency that provides weatherization services conducts an assessment or energy audit of the home. The agency is a nonprofit local weatherization or regional agency 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 improvements are best for your home.

Once the audit is complete, the auditor or weatherization staff member will meet with the homeowner or renter to explain how the work crews will conduct the work. Depending on the assessment, some homes will receive more work than others. The average value of weatherization services provided is $2,500.

Throughout the weatherization process, the health and safety of a household is a priority. Following weatherization, an inspector will return to make certain that everything is working properly and that nothing was missed. Learn how specific home weatherization improvements save energy.

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