Free Window Replacement Service: Government Programs

State and federal government window replacement programs are legitimate.

This post will teach you how to get these free grants and services.

Learn about eight federal programs, including application processes, eligibility requirements, and energy-efficiency or health and safety criteria.

Next, discover the state agencies administering and augmenting the initiatives for residents in their jurisdiction.

Explore eligibility advantages and extra opportunities for low-income families, disabled individuals, senior citizens, and military veterans.

Federal Window Replacement Programs

The federal government supports various window replacement programs. Learn how each initiative works and where American homeowners can apply for free services.

Weatherization Assistance

The Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP) is the primary federal initiative supporting free window replacement for renters and homeowners.  

State-approved contractors implement WAP services following Department of Energy (DOE) guidelines.

WAP Application

Local WAP-approved contractors provide services at no cost to replace inefficient windows for homeowners to reduce electricity and gas consumption.

Apply for WAP assistance by following the DOE-defined process.

  1. Find the contact information for your local agency online. Your state could have a single application, while others will refer you to a list of certified contractors.
  2. Complete the application process by providing proof of income from the previous year and household size.
  3. Prepare to have a state-approved provider send a representative to your address to perform a home energy audit.

WAP Eligibility

To qualify for WAP-enabled window replacement, applicants must meet income criteria and have the home energy audit prioritize the improvement over other upgrades.

Income Criteria

Low-income families living at or below 200% of the Federal Poverty Level (FPL) or below may be eligible to upgrade to energy-efficient windows through WAP.

The FPL consists of two components.

  1. Modified Adjusted Gross Income
  2. Number of Persons in the Household
Energy Audit

Applicants may be eligible to upgrade windows through WAP if the home energy audit recommends the improvement. The audit analyzes utility bills and conducts blower-door tests and equipment inspections using a computerized assessment.

The computerized audit result will prioritize upgrades based on the projected energy savings-to-investment ratio (SIR). Any of these repair or installation projects could rank highest.

MechanicalHealth & SafetyBuilding ShellElectric Baseload
Heating and cooling systemsCombustion appliance safety testingAir sealingMotor controls
Duct and pipe insulationVent systemsDrafty windows & doorsEfficient light sources
Programmable thermostatsSmoke and carbon monoxide detectorsAperture film, solar screens, louvers, and awningsRefrigerators and freezers
Water heatersSafety repairs as neededRoof and wall leaks 
Performance Ratings

WAP may update windows when prioritized, and the new units meet or exceed energy performance rating standards for the region.

The Department of Energy publishes performance rating metrics along with the National Fenestration Rating Council (NFRC).

  • Heat gain or loss through conduction, convection, thermal radiation, solar radiation, and air leakage.
    • The U-factor measures heat flow that is not from the sun
    • Solar Heat Gain Coefficient (SHGC) measures shading ability
  • Sunlight Transmittance is the ability of glazing to allow natural light into the home
    • Visible Transmittance measures the fraction of the sunlight spectrum seen by the human eye.
    • Light to Solar Gain measures the ability of glass or glazing to allow light in while blocking heat gains.
  • Ratings by Climate Zones optimize characteristics to the average temperatures of US regions.

Energy Assistance

The Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) is a federal initiative that sometimes provides free window replacement services. The US Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) administers LIHEAP with two objectives.

  1. The primary purpose is to manage utility bills via emergency payments
  2. The secondary goal is to lower energy expenses through weatherization

LIHEAP Application

Apply for free LIHEAP services by contacting a certified contractor near your home. Follow these steps outlined by HHS.

  1. Select your state from the dropdown menu
  2. Select the county of your current residence
  3. Click on the yellow dot closest to your location
  4. Contact the state-approved provider to see if you qualify

LIHEAP Eligibility

The LIHEAP Clearinghouse Report lists the criteria for replacing outdated windows. Each state determines household income limits and the types of energy-saving upgrades to support.

  • Federal Poverty Level (FPL): 130-200%
  • State Median Income (SMI): 60%
  • Storm Windows Supported: 29 states
  • Dormers and Sliding Glass Doors: 43 states

Tax Credit

The Energy Efficiency Home Improvement Tax Credit (EEHITC) is a federal government program that lowers installation costs for energy-efficient window replacements by 30% or up to $600 annually. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) administers EEHITC.

EEHITC Application

Apply for EEHITC tax incentives by completing IRS form 5695. Follow IRS instructions, and include the document when filing your taxes. Attach relevant product and installation receipts for the modernized windows.

EEHITC Eligibility

Homeowners with a tax liability who install energy-efficient windows qualify for EEHITC incentives.

  • The EEHITC is a non-refundable credit, meaning you must have a tax liability to take advantage.
  • Eligibility for EEHITC incentives is determined based on Energy Star’s most efficient requirements across three categories.
Measures  Types  Climate Zones
U-factor  Horizontal Sliders  Northern  
Solar Heat Gain Coefficient  Casement Types (Awning, Projected, Hopper, Tilt & Turn)  North-Central  
Performance Grade  Fixed or Picture  South-Central  
 Sliding Glass Doors  Southern  
 Skylights and Tubular Daylighting Devices   

HERP Incentives

The Home Efficiency Rebate Program (HERP) is the newest federal window replacement incentive authorized by Section 50121 of the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA).

HERP Application

Apply for HERP rebates at your state energy department. Although the IRA passed in 2022, the states have not yet established a framework to support homeowners seeking HERP rebates.

You may want to delay updating your inefficient windows to take advantage.

HERP Eligibility

Homeowners of all income ranges may qualify for incentives to modernize residential windows based on the modeled energy savings of each retrofit.

Modeled Energy SavingsRebate Amount
> 35%Lesser of $4,000 or 50% of project costs
20-34%Lesser of $2,000 or 50% of project costs
15-19.9%Lesser of $100 per percent of energy saved or 50% of project costs
Source: Rewiring America

Low-income households (less than 80% of median area income) can double these savings to 80% of project costs.

Disaster Assistance

Homeowners affected by natural disasters such as earthquakes, hurricanes, wildfires, flooding, tornados, landslides, and mudslides can receive assistance from two federal programs that offer window replacement services.

FEMA Assistance

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) sometimes replaces damaged windows at no cost for natural disaster victims in all income ranges. Use the FEMA funds to repair damage not covered by homeowner’s insurance and make your primary residence safe, sanitary, and habitable.

Apply for FEMA assistance online. FEMA can help with broken panes caused by natural disasters but not for damaged blinds and drapes.

USDA Assistance

The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) replaces damaged windows for presidentially declared disaster victims living in rural areas at no cost. These benefits are provided through Single Family Housing Rural Disaster Home Repair Grants (SFHRDHR).

Apply for an SFHRDHR grant by contacting the USDA office in your state. To qualify for up to $47,675, you must meet several criteria.

  • The property must be in an eligible rural area
  • Be the homeowner and occupy the residence
  • Have an adjusted gross income within low limits

Section 504

The federal window replacement program for very low-income senior citizens living in rural areas is Section 504, administered by the US Department of Agriculture. It offers two benefits.

  1. Low-interest (1%) loans up to $40,000
  2. Grants up to $10,000

504 Applications

Apply for home repair grants through Section 504 by contacting the rural development office in your state. Complete the single-family repair application and other relevant forms to replace substandard windows.

504 Eligibility

Applicants must meet several criteria to be eligible for Section 504 home repair grants to update windows, doors, and other building envelope components.

  • Be age 62 or older
  • Be the homeowner and occupy the house
  • Be unable to obtain affordable credit elsewhere
  • The household income must not exceed the county’s limit

Rural Energy

The Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) is a federal window replacement initiative administered by the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) for specific businesses, not homeowners. REAP offers two benefits. 

  1. Guaranteed loans up to 75% of total costs
  2. Grants up to 50% of total costs

REAP Application

Apply for building repair grants through REAP by contacting your state’s Rural Development Energy Coordinator. Speak with them before completing forms to avoid unnecessary delays in updating obsolete windows.

REAP Eligibility

Agricultural producers and small businesses in specific zip codes are eligible for REAP grants to replace drafty windows and doors.

  • Agricultural producers are entities where at least 50% of gross income derives from growing crops or rearing animals.
  • Small businesses must meet the size standards of the Small Business Administration per 13 CFR 121.
  • Eligible rural areas have populations of 50,000 residents or less.

The project must reduce energy consumption annually.

Tribal Assistance

The Housing Improvement Program (HIP) is a federal window replacement administered by the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA). HIP provides grants of up to $60,000 to repair and renovate dwellings to meet applicable building code standards.   

BAI Application

Apply for home improvement grants by contacting your state’s BIA regional housing office. Obtain an application (BIA Form 6407) and send the completed paperwork to your local tribal servicing office to replace old windows.

BAI Eligibility

Applicants must meet several BIA criteria to use HIP grants to update deficient windows at no cost.

  • Members of a federally recognized American Indian tribe or Alaska Native
  • Live in an approved tribal service area
  • Household income does not exceed 150% of poverty guidelines
  • The present housing must be substandard
  • Have no other resource for housing assistance

State Window Replacement Programs

Many federal window replacement programs are implemented and sometimes augmented by state governments. Therefore, American homeowners must research local policies to verify free service availability.

Your state’s policies might influence the type of energy-efficient glass to install. Low-emissivity (Low-E) panes have two coating types optimized for climates.

  • Passive Low-E Coatings (Hard-Coat) work best in cold climates because they allow short-wave light into the home.
  • Solar Control Low-E Coatings (Soft-Coat) work best in hot climates because they screen out ultraviolet light.

California

In California, the window replacement programs include both the federal initiatives outlined above and state-specific efforts.

Apply for home improvement grants in California by contacting the appropriate agency administering each government program. Local entities decide if free aperture replacement is a priority over other upgrades.

The Low-Income Weatherization Program (LIWP) is a separate effort in California funded by the Golden State. It could help specific families upgrade residential dormers at no cost.

  1. Farmworker Housing
  2. Community Solar Pilot
  3. Multi-Family Energy-Efficiency

Texas

Texas has fewer window replacement programs because the Lone Star State does not support this specific improvement in all federal initiatives. However, it does provide a convenient starting point.

Apply for home improvement grants in Texas by contacting the appropriate agency administering each nationwide program. Local entities decide whether or not to replace windows free. For example, two TX initiatives have limits.

  1. TX LIHEAP does not cover storm or energy-efficient units.
  2. TX WAP limits repairs to resolving bulk water intrusion.

The Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs (TDHCA) publishes a website with links to relevant agencies and certified contractors, such as the four organizations that support WAP in the Dallas area.

  1. Texas Information and Referral Network
  2. Dallas County Department of Health and Human Services
  3. Texoma Council of Governments
  4. Department of Veteran Affairs

New York

New York has more window replacement programs because the Empire State supports all federal initiatives and adds two additional efforts.

Apply for home improvement grants in New York by contacting the local agency administering each government program. Each organization decides whether replacing deficient windows free is a priority.

New York supports two additional initiatives funded by the state.

  1. The Comfort Home Program offers incentives from $1,000 to $4,000 to seal and insulate your residence and retrofit dormers to EnergyStar standards.
  2. The Restore Program assists senior citizen homeowners in repairing or replacing broken, inoperable, or unsecured apertures and exterior doors.

Florida

Florida’s window replacement programs differ because the Sunshine State supports fewer federal initiatives but adds other ways to find assistance.

Apply for home improvement grants in Florida by contacting the agency administering each nationwide program. Each entity decides if upgrading inefficient dormers free is a priority.

Florida adds several opportunities while subtracting at least one.

  • My Safe Florida Home offers $2 for $1 grants to install impact-resistant windows and harden residences to withstand hurricane winds.
  • Rebuild Florida helps homeowners recover from damage caused by Hurricane Irma by repairing, rebuilding, or replacing units.
  • The Florida Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) program helps homeowners obtain fixed-rate financing to cover the costs of energy conservation and hurricane-hardening home improvements.
  • Governor Ron DeSantis vetoed a bill implementing HERP (see above), making the incentives moot for now.

Free Window Replacement Eligibility

Federal window replacement programs prioritize disadvantaged groups over American homeowners with higher incomes. Use these examples as inspiration to find available services more quickly.

Low-Income

The federal government prioritizes equity and uses means testing eligibility standards to make window replacement programs for low-income families most abundant.

Pay attention to details to avoid unnecessary denials when applying for free services. Remember, the means testing considers both income and household size!

  • Communicate the Modified Adjusted Gross Income (MAGI) for the household, not the total earnings from everyone in your family. MAGI excludes many sources.
    • Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
    • Gifts of cash
    • Worker’s Compensation
    • Veterans’ disability payments
    • Child Tax Credit checks
  • Report every qualified household member, including yourself, your spouse, and your tax dependents, to increase your qualification odds. Do not omit any viable dependents.
    • Adopted or foster children
    • Children under 21 you take care of
    • Dependent parents and siblings

Senior Citizens

There are abundant window replacement programs for senior citizens. Elderly adults receiving fixed Social Security Retirement benefits frequently meet the low-income household criteria. Additionally, only people 62 and older are eligible for Section 504.

However, senior citizens living in dilapidated older homes have many needs. Double-glazed, double-pane units filled with argon gas might have a lower priority than insulation, weather stripping, caulking, air sealing, and other energy-efficiency measures.

Free home repair for seniors expands opportunities, as many non-government entities target help for older adults. You might find non-profit organizations, churches, and outreach ministries willing to address needs not met by the government.

Disabled Individuals

Window replacement grants are frequently available to individuals with disabilities. Many recipients of Social Security disability benefits meet the low-income criteria. They can use medical tax deductions to lower purchase and installation costs.

Free home repair programs for the disabled hinge on the low-income criterion federal agencies employ.

  • Supplemental Security Income (SSI) recipients automatically meet the income cutoffs for WAP, LIHEAP, HERP, and other initiatives.
  • Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) recipients frequently meet the income limits. The average monthly benefit of $1,400 is 125% of FPL, while WAP accepts 200%.

Disabled individuals might be able to replace hard-to-reach windows and claim the costs as a deductible medical expense. Home improvements made to accommodate access might qualify.

  • Double-hung units are difficult to open and might need replacement
  • Casement designs use cranks to open, making them accessible
  • An awning or jalousie unit also uses cranks, making them easier to open
  • Sliding designs are suitable for people with fine motor limitations

Consult a tax advisor before taking these deductions.

Military Veterans

Military veterans, especially those with service-related disabilities, have the most accessible options for free window replacement.

  • Veterans often have low incomes, allowing them to qualify for WAP, LIHEAP, HERP, and other programs.
  • Vietnam veterans are now senior citizens, meaning those living in rural areas can apply for Section 504 grants.
  • Veterans with disabilities can use medical expense deductions to make home improvements for accessibility.

The Veterans Administration (VA) supports four grant programs that former soldiers with service-connected disabilities might use to modify exterior windows.

  1. Specially Adapted Housing (SAH)
  2. Special Housing Adaptation (SHA)
  3. Temporary Residence Adaptation (TRA)
  4. Home Improvement and Structural Alterations (HISA)