The Professional Choice

A companion overview to the popular "Ask Mr. Handyman" radio program airing on Christian Talk Radio, KCRO 660AM Saturdays @ 9:30AM.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Go Green!  Get Free 'Green Stuff’ from Uncle Sam.

As a primary homeowner a tax payer could receive up to a $500 tax credit for increasing the energy efficiency of their home.  If you use your tax return to purchase energy efficient doors, windows, HVAC equipment, water heaters, insulation and roofing materials you can get 10% of that money returned to you as a tax credit (up to the maximum $500) on next year’s return.  If you need some of these items anyway taking advantage of this tax credit just makes financial sense.
There are certain requirements and some paperwork to keep but it is money returning to you. If you do not take advantage of it this year you will miss out. This tax credit expires at the end of this year.  To put it another way, If you receive a tax return of $1000 this year and expect to get about the same back next year, you could spend this year’s return on a $1000 home improvement (materials costs only) and next year you'll receive $1100 back instead of the $1000 because of the tax credit. You would need to spend $5000 on these home improvement projects to max out at the $500 limit ($200 limit on windows only).

For windows and doors the requirement does not indicate it be used as a replacement for an existing unit.  It could be a new door or window installed in your home or an addition.

If you have the need for larger energy efficient items such as a geothermal heat pump, a solar electric system or a wind turbine the tax credit is up to 30% of the installed cost with no upper limit.  This tax credit program expires at the end of 2016. 

If utilizing this tax credit does not get you excited about saving a few hundred dollars on next year’s tax return consider the long term cost savings of the more efficient item you installed in your home.  An example; If you spent $1000 on another layer of insulation in your attic based on need you could save up to an average of $40 per month in related energy costs.  That’s $480 saved each year!  With energy costs on the rise each year the savings will continue each and every month.

Not all windows, doors and HVAC purchases qualify for the tax credit. They must be Energy Star rated to qualify so be sure the vendor of choice knows this to be compliant.  Consult a tax professional or go to for more detailed information. You can call Mr. Handyman at 402-502-5212 for more information and installation.