NORTH DAKOTA (KXNET) — We know in the Upper Midwest that our homes need to be ready for winter, each and every year before the first snow hits the region.

And, right now, the U.S. Department of Energy has a program to help.

In Monday’s Eye on Ag and Energy, how the department’s Weatherization Assistance Program can help you before the first flake even flies.

According to those with the Weatherization program, local homeowners can save on average, $370 or more every year through home improvements and upgrades.

Since it began in 1976, the program has helped improve more than seven million families and their homes through its services. The Department of Energy is hoping more families take advantage.

“You would be paying about $341/month unweatherized. And with weatherization, you’d be paying about $130/month, so it’s like a 60% reduction,” said Sec. Jennifer Granholm, Department of Energy.

To qualify for the program in North Dakota, the income of all members of a household cannot exceed 200% of the poverty level. So that’s different, depending on the size of the family.

To check out to see if you’re eligible in North Dakota — or want to apply — click here.

If you want to look at ways to best weatherize your home starting today, from Bear Valley Water District, click here.