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Weatherization helps low-income Minnesotans reduce bills

Help is available for low-income homeowners and renters across Minnesota to secure free home energy upgrades, according to a press release.

The Weatherization Assistance Program provides eligible households a free energy audit, which may lead to free furnace repairs or in some cases installation of free upgrades such as a high-efficiency furnace, water heater, air sealing, attic or wall insulation, refrigerator replacement, LED light bulbs and smoke alarm or a carbon monoxide detector.

More than 2,000 Minnesota households received weatherization services last year and were able to reduce their energy bills. To raise awareness of the program, Gov. Tim Walz has proclaimed Oct. 30 as Weatherization Day in Minnesota. Oct. 30 is Weatherization Day in Minnesota and across the nation.

“Weatherization assistance saves money by conserving energy, while also helping Minnesotans stay safe and warm in their homes,” said Minnesota Department of Commerce temporary Commissioner Grace Arnold.

“Our state Weatherization Assistance Program helps Minnesotans lower high energy bills with free upgrades such as sealing air leaks, adding insulation, checking if the furnace is working properly and other improvements that save money,” said Arnold, whose agency administers the program in cooperation with a network of 23 local service providers across Minnesota.

Households can find their local service provider and check their eligibility by calling 800-657-3710 or at the Commerce Department’s Weatherization Assistance Program webpage.

Directed by the U.S. Department of Energy, Minnesota’s Weatherization Assistance Program serves households at or below 200% of the federal poverty income guidelines ($50,400 for a family of four). It provides free home energy upgrades to income-eligible homeowners and renters to help save energy and make sure their homes are healthy and safe. Priority is given to households with seniors, disabled family members, children or high-energy consumption.

The state’s weatherization program has served about 37,000 Minnesotans over the past decade. Weatherization recipients save an average of $283 on utility bills each year, according to the U.S. Energy Department.

Last year 1,604 homes received whole-dwelling weatherization, including free home upgrades such as a high-efficiency furnace, air sealing, attic or wall insulation, Energy Star refrigerator replacement and LED light bulbs. An additional 472 homes were served with stand-alone work on mechanical systems, which focused on repairing or replacing furnaces and boilers.

Eligible Minnesotans can apply for weatherization assistance through a combined application with the state’s Energy Assistance Program, which helps homeowners and renters pay their heating bills. To get help or to apply, call 800-657-3710 and press 1, visit the Commerce Department’s Weatherization Assistance Program webpage or search for “weatherization” at mn.gov/commerce.