Home improvements

Rebates offered for energy-efficient home improvements

 

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If you’re thinking about replacing your windows this year with more energy efficient options, Washington has upped the incentive to actually get the job done.

As part of the “fiscal cliff” agreement earlier this year, federal lawmakers agreed to reinstate the energy efficiency home improvement tax credits that had expired with 2011.

Homeowners who did not claim the full credit from 2006-11 can now receive 10 percent of the cost, up to a $200 tax credit, for Energy Star qualifying replacement windows purchased between Jan. 1, 2012 through the end of this year. Homeowners can also claim up to a $500 tax credit for other energy efficient home improvements from heating and cooling systems to insulation. More information on the program eligibility can be found at www.energystar.gov.

High-performance, low-emissivity vinyl windows are the top choice for homeowners looking for maximum energy efficiency. They help keep the heat out during the summer and the warm air in during the winter.

Though the lure of tax savings can be appealing, replacement windows are a significant investment. Don’t neglect your due diligence and rush into this or any other home improvement project. To start, take time to find a reputable and qualified company that is going to explain your options and provide information on which windows do qualify for the tax credit. There are a variety of sales tactics companies use, the most notorious is the high-pressure sales job in which they offer a “discount” on inflated prices in exchange for an immediate decision.

Get bids from at least three different window companies and ask the salesperson to provide the pricing and the ratings for each window type in writing. Also, if your home was built before 1978, be sure the window installers can provide proof of EPA certification for lead paint renovation.

If you plan to claim the credit, consult your tax professional to be sure you’re due the credit, buy the correct materials and have the documentation you need to claim your savings.

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