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Some common home improvement
projects now come with an added incentive: a tax credit.
The money you save in
heating and cooling costs by replacing drafty windows and doors, and
insulating your home is often enough incentive to get these home
projects crossed off your "to do" list. But with government tax
incentives in place, there's no reason to put off these projects any
A tax credit for 30
percent of the cost of energy efficient products--with a maximum credit of
$1500--is available for
energy efficient replacement windows,
siding, insulation, doors,
heating and cooling equipment purchased and installed in
existing homes between January 1, 2009 and December 31, 2010.
Not only can consumers
get federal tax credits, but they may also be eligible for state tax
incentives as well. Check with your state's energy office Web site for more
information on tax breaks you can receive from your home state.
Here are some common
home improvement projects that may be eligible for tax credits:
Replacement Windows, Doors, Skylights
All ENERGY STAR
qualified windows, doors and skylights qualify for the tax credit
(except for doors in several counties in California). And you don't have
to replace every single door, window or skylight in your home to
qualify. Yes, these items are expensive--expect to pay about $10,000 to
replace all the windows in an average house--but consider the fact that
it could save you up to 10 percent in winter heating and summer cooling
bills in addition to the tax credit of 30 percent of of the price tag of
the replacement windows, doors and skylights, up to $1500 (the tax
credit does not include installation costs).
Note that these
products must have a U-factor and Solar Heat Gain Coefficient (SHGC) of less
than or equal to 0.30 (this data can be found on the National Fenestration
Rating Council label). Make sure you ask the manufacturer about these
requirements before you purchase.
Energy Efficient Roofing
Not any type of
roofing material gives you the 30 percent tax credit of the cost of the
roofing materials. The roof must either be metal with the right
pigmented coatings or asphalt with appropriate cooling granules that
also meet ENERGY STAR requirements.
The roofs that meet
these qualifications are also known as reflective roofs and are best suited
for hot, sunny climates since they lower the surface temperature of the roof
by up to 100 degrees F, decreasing the need for cooling inside the house.
Make sure that you check with the manufacturer of the roof first to get a
Manufacturer's Certification Statement before installing the new roof to
make sure it is eligible for the tax credit (note that not
all ENERGY STAR roofs are eligible).
Insulation to Improve Heating and Cooling Costs
All types of bulk
insulation products qualify, including rolls, blow-in fibers, rigid
boards, expanding spray, and pour-in-place type insulation. If you do
any sealing to reduce air leaks, such as weather stripping, caulking and
house wraps, it can also qualify as long as the product comes with a
Manufacturers Certification Statement.
Note that the tax
credit does not cover the installation or labor costs for insulation,
replacement windows, doors or roofs. If you use a contractor, make sure you
ask that the bill is itemized first so that you can claim only the cost of
the product for the tax credit.
Installation costs are
covered in the tax credit for other energy efficient upgrades such as
geothermal heat pumps,
HVAC, biomass stoves, solar panels, solar water heaters, wind energy
systems and fuel cells.
Improve Your Home and Your Mortgage Payments At the Same Time
If you are current on your mortgage but need money to take advantage of
energy tax credits and improvements, refinancing your home with an
Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac,
or conventional fixed-rate mortgage can make your home affordable again
and save you thousands of dollars.
Click here to quickly determine if you qualify for refinance loan restructuring.
More Ways to Improve
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