10/4/2011 - Weatherization Assistance (Bergen Co. Community Action Program)
Weatherization Assistance Program

The Weatherization Assistance Program is a nationwide program to assist homeowners and tenants in improving the energy efficiency of their homes. Funding for this program comes from the State and Federal Governments and is administered by local agencies.

In Bergen County, the program is run by the BCCAP.
The program is available to all income eligible residents of Bergen County. Veterans who are receiving cash benefits and recipients of TANF (Temporary Assistance to Needy Families) and Food Stamps automatically qualify. During the past 15 years, the agency has made over 5,000 houses safe, dry and energy-efficient for low-income families. The program provides free insulation and weather-stripping to income-eligible families.

The Weatherization Program also presents community seminars on free or low-cost energy conservation techniques.

Frequently Asked Questions:
My heating bills are high, what can I do?
The first thing you should do is contact the Weatherization Assistance Program and, if you meet income eligibility requirements they will help, starting with an energy audit of your home.

An energy audit? What's that?
An energy audit is a means of examining your entire home to see if heat and air conditioning is leaking out through improperly sealed windows and doors or through a poorly insulated attic or walls. Your furnace or boiler, domestic water heater and your oven and stove are also checked to see if they are working properly and efficiently. Carbon Monoxide levels and possible gas leaks are also evaluated.

How is it done?
An appointment will be made with a trained technician from the Weatherization Assistance Program who will come to your home and conduct an energy audit as described above. The technician will check your heating system and water heater first, then the oven and stove. Then a blower door device will be setup and the home will be inspected for air leakage. After all measurements and information have been gathered, the technician will enter the data into a computer audit program. The audit program will suggest the necessary adjustments needed to make your home more energy efficient and comfortable.

Then what happens?
The Weatherization Assistance Program will inform you of the results and will schedule needed repairs to make your home more energy efficient.

What kind of repairs?
Depending upon the results of the audit, repairs might include:

- installation of weather-stripping and/or caulking around doors and windows
- attic insulation and basement perimeters
- other minor repairs to ensure optimum energy efficiency

Can the Weatherization Assistance Program do anything about heating systems?
Yes, clients who are income eligible may have a furnace or boiler replaced, if this is deemed necessary.

Are renters eligible?
Yes, eligibility is based on household income (with the exceptions of Veterans who are receiving cash benefits and recipients of TANF and Food Stamps, who automatically qualify), so you need not be a homeowner to qualify. A home is defined as a stationary mobile home, an apartment, a single room occupied as a separate living quarters or a single family home. So, if you live in any of these and you are income eligible, you may apply to the Weatherization Assistance Program. All landlords who are not income eligible for weatherization services are required to contribute funds toward the cost of installing conservation measures in their buildings. However, if you feel you do qualify, we can determine income eligibility through other calculations. So please don't be discouraged.

Who should I contact?
Please contact BCCAP at 201-968-0200 extension 7050 for more information.