The Weatherization Assistance Program is a year-round program funded by the Federal and State Government as well as local Utilities that provides energy saving home improvements to income-eligible households to reduce energy use and costs as well as keeping the household healthy and safe.

Eligibility

Homeowners and renters who are approved for the Energy Assistance Program are automatically screened for participation in the Weatherization Assistance Program. Priority is given to households with at least one senior citizen, individual with a disability or child, or to households with the highest heating costs. Each home is eligible for weatherization assistance once every 15 years.

Weatherization - What We Do Flyer

If you need an application, call the Energy Assistance program at 1-800-944-3281, e-mail eap@semcac.org, or download an application by clicking here.

If you have received a grant from Energy Assistance, please call the Weatherization Program at 1-800-944-3207 or send us information via the Semcac Message Center.

Energy Audit

The weatherization process begins with an energy audit where one of our trained staff assess and documents the energy conservation needs of your home. During the audit, we visit your home and see what steps can be taken to help reduce your energy bill. The audit can take three to four hours at your home where one of our Energy Auditors will:

  • Perform a safety and efficiency test on your heating system and water heater
  • Measure your home for heat loss
  • Inspects your attic for air bypasses
  • Checks insulation levels in your attic and walls
  • Provides home energy education

After your audit is complete, our Energy Auditor will let you know what energy measures will most effective for your home.

Mechanical Systems

If the Energy Auditor finds it necessary, we send a licensed, insured, and bonded mechanical contractor to perform a thorough clean-and-tune of your heating system and address any health, safety, or mechanical issues identified during the energy audit. Our funding also covers the cost of repairs and/or replacement of these systems.

Weatherization

Next, we send our Weatherization crew to complete weatherization work on your home. This may include sealing air leaks, insulating attics and walls, and addressing any health and safety issues found in your home.

Inspection

Finally, our Energy Auditor/Inspector will visit your home to make sure quality work was done. The inspector will personally go over any work done on your home with you to make sure that you are satisfied, as well as answer any questions you may have.

After Weartherization Benefits

Staff Credentials

  • Trained by the Building Performance Institute in Energy Auditing and Quality Control
  • Up-to-date technology and equipment used
  • Regular training and continuing education to maintain our expertise
  • We carry identification badges

  • All staff and contractors must pass a background check
  • We keep you informed during the Weatherization project
  • We are always available to answer any questions.

Click Play, below, to hear an audio clip about Semcac Weatherization from our Exec. Director.

FAQs

To apply for Weatherization you need to complete an Energy Assistance application. You can make a note on the application that you are interested in Weatherization or we will periodically run reports from the Energy Assistance database to update our waiting list. Applicants are then placed on a priority list sorted by energy costs and county of residence. If the house has been weatherized in the last 15 years, we cannot re-weatherize the home.

Weatherizing a home means sealing the gaps and leaks in a home’s thermal envelope that can cause energy to be wasted. Measures can include putting weather-stripping around doors, adding sealing around windows, putting more insulation in attics and sidewalls, install carbon monoxide and smoke detectors, and repair/replace furnace and/or water heater. We work to decrease energy bills by making homes more energy efficient.

The Weatherization process begins with a pre-audit where an energy auditor does a brief inspection of the home to ensure it is a candidate for our program. If it passes, we then schedule a full energy audit that takes approximately 4 hours (depending on the size of the home). The energy auditor will conduct many diagnostic tests on the home and mechanical equipment to evaluate the home’s energy efficiencies as well as identify any safety hazards. The auditor will discuss their findings with the client, write up the work order for our crew and to determine the savings to investment ratio of the work recommended, the crew foreman will contact the client to set up a time for them to perform the work and lastly another energy auditor will schedule a final inspection to ensure all work was done properly and satisfactorily.

Yes. The Weatherization program is a 12-month program.

Yes, if you qualify for energy assistance and your home has not been weatherized in the past 15 years. It is a grant from the federal Department of Energy. Not a deferred loan, no liens, no pay-back, etc.

There are very few things that the homeowner can decline for us to still continue with the Weatherization job. State and Federal guidelines mandate us to complete all work orders with a savings-to-investment ratio (SIR) of 1 or greater. We want to make sure each home is achieving the most energy savings and if a work order with a SIR of 1 or more is declined this would not occur.

If there is a health concern that warrants the homeowners request to switch fuels we can submit the request to the State Department of Commerce, Division of Energy Resources for approval.

Our funding with water heaters is limited and on a first-come, first-served basis. If you have no hot water or the water heater is leaking, contact us at 1-800-944-3207 and we will determine if funding is available.

It really depends on each home’s situation, but not typically. Each work order (with the exception of health & safety items) needs to have a savings-to-investment ratio (SIR) or pay-back of 7 years or less. We enter the job specifications in a State-approved software program that determines this utilizing the conditions of each home. Typically doors and windows do not calculate a SIR therefore we are unable to replace them.

No, roof repair or replacements are not something Weatherization can assist with.

We will remove a portion of the siding and drill the hole in the wood portion of the wall. We then stuff the hole with fiberglass insulation and install a plug to close up the hole and replace the siding.

If the home is stucco then, yes, we would drill directly through the stucco and patch it to the best of our ability. This would be discussed with the homeowner in detail before proceeding.

No, sump pumps are not part of the Weatherization program scope of work.

Testimonials

We just had our attic spaces insulated under the weatherization program through Semcac and I just wanted to say thank you for doing this for us. Also, the 4 guys from Winona that drove here 3 days in a row and worked outside in the bitter cold were very very nice men. They took the time to explain things to me when I asked questions and let me know what they were doing and what they had left to do, all the time. They were friendly, quick, and efficient and so I also want to say thank you for hiring them and sending them to do the work. They all deserve praise and I hope they get it.

Thank you Semcac for helping us with the insulating of our house, the boiler, and the water heater!

The men were at my home yesterday to put insulation around my home and in the attic.  First I want to say they were extremely professional and treated me with the upmost respect.  I have felt different since I started receiving assistance from Semcac,  my many years of life I have never needed assistance so this is new to me.

After having the insulation in I am still trying to wrap my mind around the difference it has made.  Almost immediately I could feel the difference.  My home is warm and comfortable now, I do not shiver when I open the kitchen cabinets. I want to thank you all and the men that did the work, this is so nice I feel so very blessed.

My daughters and I were recent recipients of assistance through the weatherization program.  It has been the most amazing house-warming since we moved into our first home.  There are not enough ways to thank you and the hard-working gentleman from your Rushford office for all the home improvements you have made.

The team that was at our house were professional, courteous and thorough.  I was very impressed with the manner in which they treated all of us and our property.  They communicated in advance, cleaned up after themselves, and left us with a home that is draft free, insulated and oh so much quieter!

While peace and quiet may not be the primary goal of the weatherization program it has afforded me the best night’s sleep in a calendar year! My family and I thank you so much for all your help!

Wanted

Mechanical & Electrical Contractors

Semcac’s Energy Programs are seeking electrical, appliance, and mechanical contractors. Work is performed in Dodge, Fillmore, Freeborn, Houston, Mower, Steele, Olmsted and Winona counties. Contractors must have current bonds, licenses, insurance, and ability to complete all work in accordance with MN energy program policies, standards and requirements. Preference will be given to minority firms, women business enterprises and labor surplus area firms. If interested in
an application, please visit our website www.semcac.org or contact Chris Gudmundson, Energy Programs Assistant at 1-800-944-3207. Semcac is an EOE/AA/ADA Compliance Organization.

If you are interested in working as a Mechanical or Electrical Contractor with Semcac’s Energy Programs, please complete and return the Application and return to our office. Semcac is required to maintain documentation that our contractors meet the standards set by the Minnesota Department of Commerce, Office of Energy Security. Thank you for your interest in helping others.

RFQ Instructionsfor Quotes – HVAC/Electrical Contractors

Mechanical Contractor Application Form

AmeriCorps Members

Interested in becoming an AmeriCorps member and joining our Weatherization team, while earning college tuition/ student loan funds as well as a stipend? More information here.