As a homeowner, it’s up to you to uncover any possible way to save money on your regular expenses. Most of the standard costs of living are on the rise, and you’ve probably found that your annual raises aren’t keeping pace. That means cutting corners, which isn’t always easy when you have a home to maintain, property tax and mortgage payments to make and a family to keep fed, safe and happy. While the federal government isn’t known for offering much of a helping hand these days, there is a program that ends with the final days of 2013 that you might want to explore. It’s a tax credit for installing environmentally sustainable energy upgrades around the house. Here are some tips to help you capitalize on those 2013 tax credits for green home upgrades.
Take a walk around your house and you could probably make a long list of areas that could use some improvement. If your house is twenty years old or more, that list probably begins with energy efficiency. Your HVAC system is dated, your windows are inefficient, and modernizing with eco-friendliness in mind will always save you money in the long run. If your house is much older than this, the list of maintenance issues might extend even further. All you have to do is take on some renovations that directly impact the energy efficiency of your home. The upgrades must be for your main residence, and the materials you employ should come with a Manufacturer’s Certification Statement that touts their sustainability. Otherwise the only limitation is how many tax credits you’ve taken in the past specifically for energy upgrades.
So what sort of upgrades should you consider tackling? Your first step should be the HVAC system. This is one of the utilities inside your home that is worked the hardest, yet it often gets ignored until something goes wrong. By installing a new, natural gas powered furnace you’ll enjoy a $150 tax credit. That will at least make a dent in the purchase price, but you’ll continue to reap the benefit with lower utility bills for years to come.
You should also take a long look at your home’s doors and windows. You’ll need to switch out the old ones for new versions made of green materials that come with properly fitted seals. The windows won’t be cheap, but if you purchase models that come with that Energy Star rating you’ll receive as much as $700 in a credit on your tax bill. Just keep in mind that you can’t apply this credit to the cost of installing the new products.
Homeowners with older houses should check out their insulation as well. Insulation in homes that are fifty years old or more is likely now poisonous, and terribly inefficient. Replace it with blown-in, batt or spray foam insulation that’s properly rated and you’ll earn a huge credit to put towards the material costs. It’ll be either $500 or 10% of the expenses, whichever is larger. Again, make sure you get that Manufacturers Certification Statement.
Finally, grab a ladder and take a look at the roof. Although it’s a costly job, think about putting in a metal roof. It will bounce sunlight off of your house, which will help keep it cool in the summer and warm in the winter. Some metal roofing projects can also receive that Energy Star rating, and that’s what brings the tax credit. Handle those duct sealing jobs that have been hanging out, fix up the roof and enjoy a $500/10% tax credit next April.