weatherization.jpgINDIANTOWN — As the summer temperatures rise, so do energy costs but a local program can help homeowners keep their monthly energy bills low.

The Weatherization Assistance Program at the Indiantown Non-profit Housing Inc. announced it is providing free repairs and updates to eligible, low-income homeowners in six counties, including Broward and Palm Beach.

The program hires local contractors to work on homes whose owners are within 200 percent of the poverty guideline. Services provided include weather stripping, caulking and other energy efficiency upgrades, according to a statement from the program. The focus is on energy conservation and saving low-income residents money on utility costs, with the help of local contractors.

Carrie Nixon of West Palm Beach got help from the program to improve her home. “It was a struggle to pay my energy bill every month,” said Nixon. “I kept my thermostat set on 80 degrees and my energy bill was still high.”

Following the upgrades, Nixon said she has noticed a difference in temperature inside and lower energy bills.

Lawrence Winkler, a Delray Beach homeowner, got a new air conditioner and refrigerator through the program. His attic was also insulated.

“The people who did the work were great,” said Winkler. “It’s a terrific program and I feel privileged to have benefited from it.”

According to the program’s Web site, preference is given to the elderly – those 60 and older – and the physically disabled, families with children under 12 and households with repeatedly high utility bills.

According to the Web site, low-income families pay an average of 18

percent of their annual income for energy, compared with five percent for other households. The average energy expenditure in low-income households is $1,267 annually.

The upgrades offered include weather stripping the air infiltration system, caulking, minor repairs to walls, ceilings and floors and window and door replacement; installing attic insulation and ventilation; applying solar reflective coating to manufactured homes; installing solar screens; repairing or replacing inefficient heating and cooling units and water heaters.

The U.S. Department of Energy estimates the available energy efficiency upgrades can save homeowners an average of $358 annually, the Web site says..

For more information, call 877-212-0309 or visit