Free Window Replacement for Low-Income Individuals
This information is current as of March 11, 2022.
Are your home’s windows cracked, outdated, or simply inefficient? If so, you may be losing out on up to $400 per year in energy savings.
Unfortunately, replacing all the windows in a home can easily cost thousands of dollars – something most people cannot pay for out of pocket. Luckily, many programs provide discounted or free window replacement for low-income individuals.
Who Is Eligible for Free Window Replacement?
Having your windows replaced is a significant job that can’t happen overnight. Therefore, most programs that offer free window replacement for low-income individuals are very strict about their eligibility requirements.
The Weatherization Assistance Program for Low-Income Persons is the most extensive program for window replacement. Also known as WAP, this program provides free window replacement across the U.S. for low-income individuals, including families, those over 60 years old, and those with disabilities.
Additional programs can also be found for rural areas and programs that provide grants or loans for window replacement.
When Should I Replace My Windows?
Most windows are built to last between 15-20 years, but, unfortunately, many homes in the U.S. are much older than this and still have their original windows.
Older windows can cause you to lose more than 25% of your home’s heat in winter. In short, at least 25% of what you pay for your heating bill may ultimately be going to waste.
When using natural gas to heat your home, the average monthly bill is around $65. Unfortunately, this means that you’re throwing away $16.25 per month – or almost $200 per year – on drafts caused by old windows.
For those living in a hotter climate, electricity bills to maintain A.C. units are more than seven times higher than gas bills. Old, weak, and inefficient windows mean you’re losing even more!
If you meet the requirements for one of the programs below and notice that your energy bills far outweigh your monthly income, it might be time to replace your windows. Reach out to the program that is best suited for you today to learn how you can receive assistance in making your home more energy-efficient.
Weatherization Assistance Program for Low-Income Persons
The Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP) for Low-Income Persons aims to reduce energy bills and make homes more energy efficient.
Since 1976, the WAP has helped to employ more than 8,000 individuals while providing services to about 35,000 homes annually.
This federal program is funded by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), which passes the funding to states who respectively manage their program. Each household that receives weatherization improvements will save an average of $283 per year.
The WAP assists low-income U.S. residents who are one or more of the following:
- Part of a family in which someone has a disability
- Part of a family with children
- Receiving Supplemental Security Income
- Receiving Aid to Families with Dependent Children
General income requirements depending on household size can be found below.
|Household Size||Income Cap|
Some low-income individuals who do not fall into the criteria above may also be eligible. Still, you should check your state’s specific requirements for more information.
You can find this information by searching “Your state’s name weatherization assistance program” on Google or another online search engine. You can also find your state’s WAP page here.
If you’re eligible, identify your state’s WAP website and follow the directions under the “How to Apply” section.
The Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program
The Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) can also be found in states either in combination with WAP or as its alternative. This program assists low-income families with energy costs through their bills, energy crises, weatherization, and minor home repairs.
See here for more information on the differences and similarities between WAP and LIHEAP.
Additional Programs Assisting with Window Replacement
Various programs provide free window replacement for low-income individuals. Still, many depend on whether you are a low-income senior, have a disability, have children, or live in a rural area. Below we’ll break down the most extensive window-assistance programs in the nation.
The HomeFront Organization
HomeFront is a volunteer-led home repair program. It completes free home repairs to improve the quality of life for people in specific counties in Connecticut and New York.
HomeFront will assist low-income, in need, or specific difficult situations – such as those battling illness – on a case-by-case basis. Please fill out their contact form to speak with someone at the organization for more information on eligibility for assistance.
Federal Emergency Management Assistance
The Federal Emergency Management Assistance (FEMA) program will assist those affected by natural disasters. If you live where there has been a tornado, hurricane, flooding, or are in another area declared by FEMA to require Individual assistance, you are eligible.
FEMA works to help people before, during, and after disasters, including making your home safe and habitable once more.
Rural Energy for America Program
The Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) works under the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). This program provides loan financing and grant funding for agricultural producers of rural small businesses to increase energy efficiency.
If you are a low-income person who makes at least half of their income through agriculture, you may qualify.
In addition to replacing windows, these funds can replace other energy-inefficient equipment, including motors. Grants can cover up to 25% of costs, while loans may cover the rest. For more information, check out the REAP fact sheet.
Section 504 Home Repair Grants
The USDA also offers a series of loans under Section 504 across states for low-income homeowners who need to repair, improve, or modernize their homes. Section 504 also provides grants to elderly low-income homeowners who need to remove or replace health and safety issues.
Loans are capped at $40,000, and grants are capped at $10,000. You can combine both loans and grants if you meet the requirements of both for up to $50,000 in assistance.
While this isn’t free money, the loans are offered at low fixed rates of 1% and can be paid back over time — up to 20 years. In addition, grants do not have to be repaid.
To apply, you must be:
- The homeowner and occupant
- Be unable to get credit
- Meet the income limit in your county
- For grants, you must be 62+ and unable to repay a loan
Requirements may vary from the above, depending on your state. Select your state on this website to find the most accurate information for your local program.
To apply, contact your Rural Development Office and submit the appropriate paperwork.
How Can I Receive Free Window Replacement?
Most free-window replacement programs require the homeowner to be a low-income individual. Many are also built for low-income seniors or disabled individuals in the household.
“Low-income” in most cases means you make 200% or less of the Federal Poverty Level. In 2019, the FPL was a bit over $12,400 per year, representing low-income would be any single person making less than $25,000.
What Programs Help Low-Income Seniors with Window Replacement?
Low-income seniors may qualify for the Weatherization Assistance Program, the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program, and Section 504 Home Repair Grants. Be sure to verify the age cut-off for these programs; most determine those 62 years and older to be considered seniors, but this determination may vary. The independent Northeastern organization HomeFront may also be of service.
What Programs Help Low-Income Families with Window Replacement?
Low-income families can benefit from the Weatherization Assistance Program, the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program, and HomeFront (in the Northeast U.S.). Low-income individuals working in agriculture or living in a rural area can also apply to the Rural Energy for America Program.
Why Should I Replace My Windows?
Windows generally have an effective lifespan of 15-20 years. After that, the weather, with time, causes drafts and lets your heating or cooling escape. Energy inefficient windows can cost you up to 25% of your total heating or cooling bill – adding up to thousands of dollars over the years.
Did you know that if you qualify for the Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP) for Low-Income Persons or government grants, you may also qualify for Lifeline service or the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP)?
Both Lifeline and ACP are federal benefit programs that allow low-income consumers to receive free or heavily discounted communication services. Click here to find out more and apply for this valuable benefit.