Take the Chill Off at Home with $1,500 Energy-Efficiency Tax Credit

Deductions and Credits

If you’d like to lower your home heating bill this winter, the government has a hefty tax credit that could help.

By making certain improvements to your home, such as installing new, energy-efficient doors and windows or insulation, you could get a credit worth 30 percent of the cost. Spend $1,000 on a draft-free new front door, for example, and receive $300 off on your taxes.

For every dollar you spend on qualified improvements, you get 30 cents back. The improvements include hot water heaters, furnaces and circulating fans.

Basically, the government gives you money to help you save energy. And that helps you save money. It’s part of the 2009 economic stimulus plan.

What you need to know

There are a few rules, of course.

The credit can be taken in both 2009 and 2010, but the limit is $1,500 over both years.

The improvements must be to your primary home. They can include various energy-saving upgrades such as new hot water heaters, furnaces and circulating fans.

And, here’s the sticky part, they must meet certain energy-efficiency requirements. These are all spelled out at the government’s Energy Star web site.

Wind and solar production

If you’re feeling really ambitious, you could go for a much larger credit.

Instead of merely saving energy, you could start making your own renewable energy. You could get a 30 percent credit on the cost of installing small wind turbines, solar water heaters and solar panels.

This tax break is available through 2016 and there’s no dollar cap on the size of the credit. And, of course, the wind and the sun get thrown in for free.