By Kurtis Ming

The holidays might not be the easiest time to handle home improvement projects, but making a couple upgrades before the end of the year could save you hundreds of dollars on your tax and utility bills. It comes in the form of Federal tax credits, up to $500, for making energy efficiency upgrades to your home. But you better move quickly because the credits expire at the end of the year.

When you think of pollution you think of cars, but your home?

“It’s not very well known, but actually the average house produces about twice as much carbon dioxide as the average car,” says Ronnie Kweller, the spokesperson for the non-profit Alliance to Save Energy.

Homeowners can get up to $300 for a new water heater or heating and cooling systems. You can get a 10% percent credit, up to $200 for windows and up to $500 for doors. The credits even apply to quick jobs around the house.

“There’s a lot of easy home improvements that can be done in a week to two weeks,” says Ben Lister, who manages the West Sacramento Home Depot.

Lister says start simple, with a caulk gun and some weather stripping. You can get a 10% credit on what you spend on air sealing supplies.

“People don’t realize when you go around, your gaps and cracks in your house, you actually have what’s equivalent to like a nine square foot hole in your home,” says Lister.

Even installing insulation in your attic is easy.

“An average homeowner, if you can use a staple gun, you can put that in,” Lister says, showing us the insulation.

And if the tax credit isn’t enough, some of the improvements can mean up to 30% savings on your energy bills.

“No matter how efficient your equipment is, if the cooled air or the warmed air that you’re paying for through your heating and cooling equipment is just going out the window … then you’re losing money,” says Kweller.

Keep in mind the products you install for these tax credits have to meet certain efficiency requirements. And the products have to be installed, not just purchased by the end of the year. To see all the improvements and supplies that qualify for the tax credits, head to these websites:


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