Low Income Weatherization Assistance Program
Weatherization enables low-income families in Nebraska to reduce their energy
bills by making their homes more energy efficient.
The Nebraska Energy Office has achieved
certification by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency under
the Renovation, Repair, and Painting Rule.
Utility Bill Assistance
You may apply
online for bill paying assistance at the
of Health and Human Services website.
To file a complaint
about your utility contact the Nebraska Public Service Commission.
Income Limits for Free Improvements
To receive free weatherization services for your home, your income must fall below 200% of
the federal poverty level, which is revised annually. Note: Households with persons
receiving either ADC (Aid to Dependent Children) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) are
automatically eligible for free weatherization.
For more specific information about the Weatherization Assistance Program, contact your service
For more information about the Income Poverty Guidelines, see
Weatherization Program Notice 19-3.
2019 Income Guidelines
200% of Poverty Level
Effective February 6, 2019
||200% of Poverty Level
|For Each Additional
Family Member Add
If you meet the income requirements and are approved for
weatherization assistance services in Nebraska, your home
will be evaluated to identify the most effective energy and
dollar saving improvements which can be made. The amount of
money that can be spent on each home is limited, so all of
the improvements listed below may not be made in each home.
- Add 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. RESULT: The amount
of heat loss through the walls, ceilings and floors will
- Perform an efficiency inspection on natural gas, propane
and fuel oil furnaces, boilers and water heaters. RESULT:
More heat will be gained from the same amount of fuel
- Replace broken glass in primary windows. RESULT:
The amount of cold air coming in will be reduced.
- Install or adjust door weatherstripping, thresholds,
and/or door sweeps. RESULT: The amount of cold air
coming in will be reduced.
After the improvements are made, you should notice the following:
- An increase in comfort — reduced drafts and
a more even temperature throughout your home.
- Your heating and cooling bills should be reduced.
- You should need less energy to heat and cool your home.
Weatherization: What to Expect
Many weatherizationservice providers utilize "whole house
weatherization." Under this approach, providers evaluate the house
as a single energy-consuming system, rather than a loose collection
of unrelated systems. This approach finds the best combination
of methods for reducing total energy consumption in a house.
The first step in whole-house weatherization,
and perhaps most important one, is to evaluate a house. Trained
technicians use advanced computer software and diagnostic
equipment to identify the most cost-effective energy-saving
improvements for a particular home during an energy audit.
Air Leakage Control
Reducing the leakage of cold outside
air into the house in winter — or hot outside air in
the summer — is the most common type of weatherization
improvement made in a home. Typically, work crews add caulking
and weather stripping around windows and doors to reduce
drafts. Old, drafty homes are not only uncomfortable, but
they are also very costly to heat and cool.
Tests using blower doors reveal more precisely
the holes in the building envelope where outside air infiltrates
into the house. Such holes often occur near the base of the
building and near the roof and are unobservable to the naked
The blower door is one of many tools
that is used to assess a home for health, safety, durability
and energy efficiency. With the assistance of a blower door,
air leakage tests are conducted to measure and quantify the
air tightness of a house. The blower door will depressurize
the house, sending air out through a fan and bringing air
in from leaks in the building’s exterior.
With the readings from the gauges
and house volume calculations, how well a home is ventilated
can be determined. At this point, technicians walk around
and look for the leaks in the building envelope. Sealing leaks
to the exterior of the home — and blower door testing
after the leaks have been sealed — will quantify the
results and assess the need for additional sealing.
Making sure there is enough insulation in the walls,
foundation and roof — anywhere there is a barrier between
the home and the outside — is one of the most important
ways to make a home energy efficient. As a result, insulation
is a part of almost every weatherization project.
Installing insulation with a uniform coverage
and density is very important because the wall cavities are
like chimneys. Air leakage can greatly reduce insulation’s
thermal performance. The installer must inspect walls for
structural soundness of the home before any insulation
Heating Efficiency Improvements
In some cases, furnaces may be replaced because of
cracked heat exchangers or severe malfunction. Removing such
hazards from homes reduces fires, injuries and health problems
A safety inspection of the heating system is performed first, including:
- Test for carbon monoxide in the air in the living
space and in the combustion appliance zone.
- Check for fuel leaks using a combustible gas detector.
- Inspect the wiring to the appliance.
- Check the vent connections and clearances.
- Inspect for safety devices
A combustion test is performed
to collect information on safety and efficiency. The system is also tested
to make sure it does not back-draft in adverse conditions, such as when
all the ventilation fans are operating in the house. Fans can have an
impact on the how well a heating system vents.
Improving Health and Safety
Weatherization work crews always examine
energy-related health and safety issues in the home. This
is especially important when dealing with heating equipment
because faulty equipment can be hazardous to those who live
An important component of the weatherization
process is client education. Client lifestyle choices can
play a big role in determining the amount of energy and money
actually saved. Clients are provided with tips on saving
energy and information on how to maintain the energy efficiency
improvements that have been made.
Tabor at the Nebraska Energy Office for more program information.
Local Weatherization Service Providers
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.
Click on the map below to find weatherization services
in your area.
Please remember that weatherization services can only be provided
if the state has funds available. Weatherization assistance is not an entitlement
program, meaning you are not guaranteed the services just because you are
eligible. Congress provides a certain amount of money 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.
Local Weatherization Service Provider Links
Frequently Asked Questions
What is weatherization?
Weatherization makes 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 income levels rise based on the number of persons
living in the home. Income
guidelines 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. Click here to 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. Click here to 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 to weatherize
their homes or rental units.
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 property owner to replace
or repair the appliance before weatherization of the home can
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 re-weatherized.
What are the alternatives to waiting for weatherization assistance?
- The Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program, or
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
- 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
determine an applicant's credit worthiness.
What happens to a home that is weatherized?
Staff from your local or regional weatherization service provider
conducts an assessment or energy audit of the home. The provider
is a local nonprofit organization specially trained
in home weatherization. The energy audit is a computerized
assessment of your home's energy use and an analysis of
which energy saving 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 $6,500.
Throughout the weatherization process,
the health and safety of a household is a priority. Following
the weatherization, a Weatherization Assistance Program Inspector
will visit to make certain that everything is working properly
and that nothing was missed.
Number of Homes Weatherized
The number of homes that can be weatherized
in any given year is dependent on the amount of funding allocated
by Congress to the Weatherization Assistance Program.
In Nebraska, funds are divided among the
local nonprofit organizations that provide weatherization
services to Nebraskans. The amount given to each organization
is based on several factors including the number of low income
Nebraskans living in the counties served by the local nonprofit
The map below illustrates the total number of
homes weatherized by local weatherization service providers.
History of the Weatherization Program
The Nebraska Energy Office administers this
federally-funded program for weatherizing homes to save money
The Nebraska Energy Office Weatherization Assistance Program
began in 1977. In 2010, maximum household income levels were revised to 200
percent of the federal poverty guidelines, making free home weatherization
available to thousands of Nebraskans.
Energy savings resulting from the energy
efficiency improvements made typically last 20 years or longer.
Energy expenses comprise an economic drain
on low-income communities. Often, energy bills account for more
than 20 percent of a family’s gross income. Typically,
more than 80 percent of this expense leaves the community.
In contrast, weatherization reduces this
drain and keeps investments circulating in local economies.
For individual families the gain is immediate — up to
18.7 percent in Nebraska, and an average annual savings on
utility bills of $146.
Weatherization investments in housing stock
aid upkeep and increase the value of housing in these communities.
By reducing long-term energy costs, weatherization makes these
housing units more affordable.
Weatherization can also have an impact on
low-income communities by stimulating the local home energy
efficiency industry. The mainstay of this industry consists
of the local service providers — mostly nonprofit organizations
in Nebraska — that make the improvements in the
homes. These jobs represent a significant source of economic
development through what economists call the "multiplier
effect." This effect describes the phenomenon whereby money
circulates in local economies and is used to measure local economic
development. The U.S. Department of Energy estimates conservatively
an economic multiplier of three from the investment in weatherization
services in the homes of low-income Americans.
Proven Results of Weatherization
Periodically, the Low-Income Weatherization
Assistance Program in Nebraska is evaluated to analyze its
effectiveness and to find ways to increase the energy and dollar
savings of those receiving the free services. Similar studies
are also conducted across the nation.
The average home weatherized during program
years 1993/94 and 1994/95 saved an average of 18.7% of total
consumption of the fuel used for heating. This resulted in an
average reduction of $126 in annual utility bills. Due to the
decrease in energy use, these homes also contributed to reducing
emissions of greenhouse gases. On average, each home reduced
carbon dioxide emissions by 2,297 pounds, sulfur dioxide emissions
by 0.435 pound, and nitrogen oxides by 0.706 pound.