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Great time to do a home energy audit

Great time to do a home energy audit


**FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE ** Innkeeper Grace Newman reads a book in front of the fireplace at the Highlands Inn in Bethlehem, N.H., Thursday, Dec. 27, 2007. Just after the stroke of midnight on the first of January, civil union ceremonies will happen across the state, including two at the Inn, in front of the fireplace. (AP Photo/Jim Cole)


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Posted on January 14, 2010 at 10:08 AM

With our recent cold snap you may have noticed this is a good time of year to take stock of all of your home systems. Home energy audits are a great way to see what you can do to make your home more efficient.

The Department of Energy even offers some tips on how to do an energy audit yourself.

The city of Austin offers audits for certain residential irrigation systems.

One of the best ways to improve the energy efficiency of your home is to replace your doors and windows. Now is a great time to do this because you can receive a tax credit for 30 percent of the cost of qualified windows and doors, up to $1,500. You can learn about some of the other energy saving incentives offered in the state of Texas here.

You’ve got to be careful because not all windows and doors qualify.

So the folks at Angie’s List had some advice on what to look for to make sure what you’re buying qualifies.

Windows, doors and skylights:

Tax credit: 30% of cost, up to $1,500. (Installation not included, cost of product only)

Tax credit specification:

  • • Windows, doors, and skylights purchased on or after June 1, 2009
  • • U-factor (this is the measure of the windows overall energy-efficiency) of 0.30 or less.
  • • Solar Heat Gain Coefficient (SHGC – a low SHGC blocks the blistering heat that comes through windows in the summer, reducing the load on your A/C.) ratings of 0.30 or less.
  • • These ratings must be certified by the National Fenestration Rating Council (NFRC). Look for the NFRC label. NOTE: Not all Energy Start labeled products qualify for the tax credits.
  • • Look for these ratings on the label located on the window/door. Save the label with your receipt for your tax documents.

Storm windows/doors:

Tax credit: 30% of cost, up to $1,500.

Tax credit specification (storm window):

  • • A storm window that, in combination with the exterior window over which it is installed.
  • • U-factor and SHGC of 0.30 or below; and
  • • Meets the criteria for such component established by the IECC.(International Energy Conservation Code)
  • • Look for these ratings on the label located on the window/door. Save the label with your receipt for your tax documents.

How do I know if my windows need replaced?

  • • Frames/sills are rotting.
  • • Test this by using a screwdriver to tap the frame to test the softness of the wood. If the tip of the screwdriver pushes into the wood easily, it’s a sign of decay and rot.
  • • Windows that have condensation, drafts and warped frames due to infiltration of moisture.

How do I know if my doors need replaced?

  • • Inspect all six sides of the door, the frame, and how well they are attached.
  • • Moisture is a door’s worst energy – it can cause it to swell, crack and warp over time.
  • • If you replace the main door, replace the frame too. The old frame has likely shifted during its use.