Habitat for Humanity repairs and weatherizes homes
Traditionally, Habitat for Humanity is known as an organization where you can volunteer to raise walls and drive nails, and serve alongside your community members in order to build new homes.
But what about existing homeowners?
What opportunities are available for individuals who already own their home and struggle to make necessary health and safety related repairs? Or struggle with high utility bills as a result of inefficient appliances, outdated heating and cooling systems, or inadequate insulation? Habitat for Humanity Metro Maryland is working on helping existing homeowners in Montgomery County through weatherization programs.
Save money with weatherization
For the last few years, the Maryland Energy Administration has granted Habitat for Humanity Metro Maryland (HFHMM) funds to provide weatherization services to qualified homeowners at no cost to the household!
When you think of weatherization, think of lowering your home’s energy usage through the use of ENERGY STAR appliances, and improving your heating and cooling systems (keep the cold air out in the winter)!
Common weatherization services include:
- Installation of high efficiency shower-heads and faucet aerators: Conserve hot water and reduce the amount of water used while waiting for the shower to heat up.
- Installation of energy efficient light bulbs: The benefit of replacing ones light bulbs with LED, for example is often huge.
- Air sealing of conditioned spaces: Helps to retain the air your heating and cooling equipment creates, meaning that your equipment will not be working overtime in order to maintain the temperature in your home.
- Weather-stripping around doors and caulking around windows: To minimize the presence of drafts in the home.
More intensive projects include:
- Whole home ventilation: Makes sure that your home is outfitted with proper avenues for excess heat to escape in the summer.
- Insulation (installation/improvement): Prevents heat loss in the winter as well as heat protection in the summer. Additionally, by minimizing the difference in temperature from one side of a surface to another, it prevents condensation which contributes to the prevention of mold.
- Energy efficient appliance upgrades: Depending on the age and quality of your appliances, there are opportunities to upgrade to efficient ENERGY STAR models.
- HVAC system repairs and upgrades in eligible homes: Not every heating and/or cooling system is eligible for replacement; however if the system is more than 20 years old, it is likely to be eligible.
How do we know if your home is in need of weatherization services?
Simple! If a home looks like a good candidate during the home visit phase of the application process, we will get the home tested in the form of a Home Energy Audit.
The report generated from this audit provides us with information on how your home currently functions, and how it can be made to work better with a list of suggested measures.
Who is eligible for HFHMM weatherization programs?
Single-family homes or townhouses with high electricity bills and old heating/cooling systems would be ideal candidates for the program. Additional qualifications include:
- Homeowners must own and live in the home that will be repaired. No exceptions.
- Homeowners must have current homeowner’s insurance.
- Total household income must not exceed 80% of the AMI: these amounts are listed in the chart on our website. **Please note that income from ALL adults (18+) in the home must be included in the total.
- Also, note that homeowners must commit to remain in their home for at least two years following the completion of services.
We’re always looking for eligible individuals in need of Repair or Weatherization services. For more information about eligibility, please visit our website.
How do you choose the weatherization projects?
HFHMM is expected to ensure that all energy efficiency measures applied to a given home will pay for themselves in the energy savings they are expected to create over the course of 10 years. This is called the 10-year-payback.
In other words, we are obligated to apply, only the most impactful measures to any home we serve! So if a suggested measure costs $100 and has a projected energy savings of $10-$11 a year, then it would qualify for the program because over the course of 10 years that $10 annual savings would add up to equal or exceed $100. While there are other stipulations, this is the general rule of thumb. **What is important to note here is that not every item suggested by the auditor is guaranteed to be eligible for the program.
So, what happens if my roof is leaking or my home needs repairs that keep HFHMM from weatherizing?
Should your home have repairs which stand in the way of proper weatherization (for example, if your roof is leaking), those repairs will be considered against HFHMM’s repair program guidelines. If those items are deemed eligible for our repair program, a work scope will be drawn up for those services and a repair agreement signed. Importantly, while the weatherization program is entirely free to homeowners, the repair program does has a small repayment component which equates to 1-5% of the total project cost depending on household income (with a standard minimum of $125).
Should you have additional repair concerns you would like to have addressed, mention these on inquiry forms and the application. HFHMM is happy to consider any and all concerns a homeowner may have pertaining to their home, provided those concerns are directly related to health and safety of the household. HFHMM does not do cosmetic work.
Interested in Participating?
If you are interested in applying for the program, Submit an Inquiry online. When HFHMM has funding they believe to be applicable to the indicated needs of your home, we will send an application directly to you (if you are eligible).
For more information about all of our programs, please visit: www.HabitatMM.org
Habitat for Humanity Metro Maryland (HFHMM), which serves both Montgomery and Prince George’s Counties, has comprehensive programs for existing low to moderate income homeowners.
We have been an active Habitat for Humanity affiliate since 1982, providing decent and affordable homeownership opportunities across our service area. Over the past 8 years, in an effort to expand our mission, and increase the number of families served each year, HFHMM has developed Repair and Weatherization programs for owner-occupied properties.
HFHMM is now able to serve an average of 30-40 homes each year by providing up to $15,000 worth of eligible repair work and an average of about $3,000 worth of weatherization work on a per-home-basis.
Information provided by: Katie Temple, Repair Client Coordinator
Habitat for Humanity Metro Maryland