A weatherization program is a process by which those who own homes will get advice or help in how to make their homes more energy efficient. Doing so provides better resistance to outside weather elements, such as heat, cold and moisture, thus weatherizing the home. In most cases, weatherization programs are available to those who meet income qualifications. Some portions of the program may be available to everyone.
The most common components of a weatherization program will include: insulation, furnace repair or replacement, an energy audit, and other educational materials. The program is especially useful in older homes, where modern technology was not available to help provide good resistance to the weather. In such cases, the weatherization program should help increase the efficiency of the home substantially. This not only helps the environment by saving the burning of fossil fuels for energy, it also helps the home occupant not have to spend as much for energy.
Often, a weatherization program will begin by looking at the entire home, and where it may be losing the most energy. The energy audit will also make recommendations, such as caulking, weather stripping, new windows or doors, and other improvements. Though it is unlikely the homeowner will have enough money to do everything on the list, it will serve as a basic guide for projects that should eventually get done. Often, after the energy audit is completed, the weatherization program can help pay for some of those recommendations.
For example, if insulation is recommended, there could be a component of the program that will pay for the insulation, or at least pay for a portion of the project. This can often be an expensive project, and cost prohibitive for lower-income residents to do on their own. This is why it has become a major component of many weatherization programs.
Along with the expense of insulation, replacing or repairing a furnace can also be a huge budgetary concern on a lower-income family or individual. Weatherization programs may also help offset the costs of a new or repaired furnace. In most cases, this must be done before the problem becomes so severe to considered an emergency, as the money for the program may not be immediately available. For those who have the energy audit done, however, problems with a furnace can often be caught in enough time to put a corrective action plan into place.
Typically, a weatherization program is offered through a resident's local utility company. The company may receive funds for the program from a local, state, or national government. In some cases, the local government may have its own weatherization experts who administer the program. Even if a resident's local utility is not in charge of the program, it should know where customers can turn to for more information.