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Posts Tagged: tax rebate

3 reasons to spend your tax refund on your home

Posted On: Filed Under: Windows, Air conditioning No Comments on 3 reasons to spend your tax refund on your home

Here are three reasons why you should use that tax refund to invest in the comfort of your home—where life happens.

We’re in for a hot summer.

If you live in the Pacific Northwest, you know that our summers have grown increasingly toasty over the past few years. According to the Farmer’s Almanac and the Washington State Climatologist, we’re in for another hot summer in 2016—perhaps even warmer than years past.

It might be time to finally invest in an air conditioner or heat pump that will allow you to have a cool, comfortable summer. No more heading out on errands just to feel the cool blast of a store’s A/C. No more sticking your head in the freezer. With air conditioning, summer becomes a time to simply pour a cold drink, grab a good book, and enjoy your cool home.

Increase the value of your home.

Whether or not you’re thinking about selling your home, a solid tax refund can help you greatly increase the value of your home. Here are a few ideas:

Vinyl windows: According to Realtor.com, switching to vinyl windows has an estimated return on investment (ROI) of 78.7%. That’s in addition to the substantial energy savings that vinyl windows provide!

Entry door: A sleek new door doesn’t just enhance your home’s curb appeal. It can improve your insulation to drive down energy costs. Bonus points if you add a beautiful coat of paint in a classic or bright hue.

Energy efficient heating/cooling system: Replacing your old furnace with a newer energy efficient model will save on energy costs now and provide greater equity into the future. Consider upgrading to a heat pump, which can provide both heating and cooling for optimum comfort, ease, and ROI.

Water heater: Just because it’s hot outside doesn’t mean you want cold showers. If your water heater just isn’t operating like it used to, or is over ten years old, consider replacing it. New tank water heaters and tankless water heaters are incredibly energy efficient and made to last.

Sales abound.

Spring is a time to refresh and renew. That’s why Washington Energy Services is making it easy to make home energy improvements with stellar products and unmatched expertise. For example, take advantage of our Pre-Season A/C sale with 15% off during April and 10% off during May. All of our sales can be found here!

If that tax refund is burning a hole in your pocket, give us a call or fill out a free estimate form. Using those extra funds on your house this spring can make it feel more like home.

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5 ways to get the most out of your tax refund

Posted On: Filed Under: Home energy audit 2 Comments on 5 ways to get the most out of your tax refund

The best home improvements for your tax refund buck

Take care of the essentials

Home appliances that use water, such as water heaters, dishwashers and laundry machines have a lifespan of 8-15 years. If they fail while in use, (and like toast falling butter side down they will), the flooding can cause a significant loss, insurance claims and aggravation. Proactively replacing old equipment can save money in the long run, and $3000 will provide for lots of options. You can upgrade your water heater to a tankless water heater and enjoy never ending hot water, or stay with a standard tank and have funds left over for other appliance upgrades.

Get a home energy audit

A home energy audit is a smart way to identify how to spend the least to get the most in energy savings. Using technology to analyze energy use, air leakage and other problems with the home, the auditor can project your return on investment for upgrade projects and help you to prioritize. Energystar.gov recommends hiring a professional auditor when you want to get specific recommendations for improving the efficiency of your home. The cost of a full audit is about $300.How do you know you’ll really get the energy savings modeled by the home energy audit?  Ask the auditor for a retest of the house after upgrades are completed. He or she can see if the new upgrades will provide the energy savings projected. In the Western Washington area, Washington Energy Services is among the companies that offer this service.

Stretch the refund with a rebate

Focusing on home energy upgrades that qualify for utility rebates can stretch that tax refund. In the Puget Sound area, utility rebates range from $10 to $1800. There are rebates for water conserving toilets and shower heads, laundry equipment, as well as heating equipment, windows, and insulation. All of the Washington State electric and gas utilities offer rebates, although many require use of their registered contractors to install the products. This is actually a good thing, since those contractors are well qualified, trained and vetted by the utility. You can expect utility registered contractors to guarantee their work and to do a great job.

Up that curb appeal

When realtors report on the home improvement upgrades that add to house value, top of the list for return on investment is replacing the entry doors. The cost to have a beautiful new front door professionally installed starts at around $1800-2200, but doing so can provide 100% return on investment or more. The doors themselves can often be purchased for less at a DIY store, however fitting them with matching jambs and creating a problem free, tight installation can be challenging, even for a handy homeowner.

Make your fun space a comfy space

A hobby room, workout space, garage or basement will give you more joy if you are comfortable using it. The furniture, colors, light and even air flow in your workspace can make a difference. Adding a single window for natural light is uplifting and typically less than $1000. If you find that you are too hot or too cold and it’s turning you away from using the space, a ductless heat pump can increase year round comfort. Ductless heat pumps provide energy efficient heating and cooling, and they run on electricity. Perfect for bonus rooms, basements and other rooms where duct work wasn’t run when the house was built.

Big or small, there are plenty of home upgrade ideas to suit every tax refund level. For more information on these and other energy saving ideas, contact us today.

Get your free estimate

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You heard right… and wrong? In the energy news today

Posted On: Filed Under: Heating, Furnace No Comments on You heard right… and wrong? In the energy news today

Yes, Federal Energy Tax Credits are back – you heard right!

The 2011 federal energy tax credit for home energy improvements has been renewed for 2012 and 2013. Since 2011, only homeowners installing qualified alternative energy systems including solar, geothermal and wind energy products were able to get a federal tax credit. Now the extended program once again includes high efficiency heating, cooling, water heating, windows, doors and insulation, meeting EnergyStar™ requirements.

What are the tax credit criteria?

  • A lifetime limit of $500. That means if you already claimed $500 worth of credits in 2008-2011, you’ve maxed out.
  • Product meeting Energy Star requirements for energy efficiency, see below.
  • Installed in taxpayer’s existing principal residence and expected to last a minimum of 5 years.
  • You get 10% of qualified expenses, but dollar limits per product apply; click for more information on specific products.

How do you get the credit? We recommend that you check with a tax adviser or the IRS regarding your personal eligibility. You should retain documentation to establish that your equipment meets the guidelines required and that your purchase was made during the tax year you are filing for. Homeowners should save all available documentation, such as purchase receipts, ENERGY STAR labels, and manufacturers’ certification statements.

No, the government is not requiring you to buy a 90% high efficiency furnace – you heard wrong!

You may have heard ads about this issue. There was legislation that was passed which would have required customers in the Northern US (including us) to purchase only 90% + AFUE (high efficiency) furnaces, and those in the Southern US to have high efficiency air conditioning or heat pumps. This legislation has since been cancelled, and likely sent back to committee. While promoting fuel efficiency is a great thing, they didn’t think it through. Besides forcing Americans to spend more for a furnace, there were just too many logistical things they didn’t consider – such as what if a certain size only fits your house? Or what if you are buying a lower efficiency furnace in combination with a high efficiency heat pump. So it has been withdrawn.

How can you learn more?

Find out more about furnaces or the tax credit at www.washingtonenergy.com. Washington Energy Services can be reached at 800 398 4663 and we have just reopened our Energy Center showroom at 3909 196th St. SW in Lynnwood, WA, 98036. That is open 10-4 Monday through Friday. You can stop by and see the products that qualify for the tax credit and speak with one of our home energy specialists.

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5 popular home improvement rebates from your government

Posted On: Filed Under: Windows, Ductless heat pump, Furnace 2 Comments on 5 popular home improvement rebates from your government

 

Here are some of the most popular local utility rebates.

    1. Ductless heat pumps: Seattle City light now provides $1500 back on a ductless heat pump installation. PSE offers $1200 and Tacoma Power $800. You must have an electrically heated home and meet other requirements. Once you install your ductless heat pump, you can also expect to save 25-50% on heating bills. They are super quiet too.
    2. Window upgrades: If you have single pane or double pane metal frame windows, and an electrically heated, insulated home, there are great window rebates. If you buy energy efficient windows (.30 U factor or better), PSE provides $5 per sq ft up to $1500 (was $750 in 2012). Tacoma Power pays $2-$4 per sq ft up to $1000. That’s like getting a free window!
    3. Converting to natural gas: Natural gas is one of the lowest cost heat sources. PSE has up to $4750 in rebates available if you switch to natural gas. The rebates cover switching to gas home heating and water heating as well as for choosing an energy efficient furnace or water heater. Getting a gas meter put in and a line from the street may be costly, but if you are switching to natural gas from oil heat your annual savings will be huge. It’s surprising how many people have been suffering with big oil, propane or electric heating bills and have never called us, or their utility, to find out if they could affordably get natural gas.
    4. Air source heat pumps: For electrically heated homes with air ducts, you can save on heating bills through an air-source heat pump. PSE offers up to $1800 for a conversion from an electric furnace to a heat pump (with a temperature lock out control). Or up to $800 for the addition of an energy efficient heat pump to your existing electric heating system. Tacoma Power offers up to $1250 in combination with duct sealing, or $750 for just the heat pump.
    5. High-efficiency furnace: Natural gas customers, you’ll save on your heating costs with a 95% efficient furnace. PSE offers you $250 and Cascade Natural gas offers $150.

Rebates that have gone away: The federal energy tax credit did end at the close of 2011, so the only rebates today are from utilities. Tankless water heater rebates have largely disappeared, with the exception of Cascade Natural Gas. PSE will provide a $950 rebate on a high efficiency tankless but only if you are doing a natural gas conversion (see above).

All of these rebates are restricted to certain efficiency levels, sizes and in some cases other measures such as insulation levels. They are subject to change. Our home energy specialists can provide more information on these and qualifying products. Call us at 800 398 4663, or visit washingtonenergy.com for details.

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Summer is finally here!

Posted On: Filed Under: Doors, Air conditioning No Comments on Summer is finally here!

Are you weighing the cost of adding a heat pump, windows or making any energy efficient upgrade? If so, the total cost is not what is written on your contractor’s estimate. A more accurate way to compare options is to include the installed price of your upgrade, less the cost of the energy you will save and cash rebates or tax credits you can receive. Those savings can make the more expensive product cheaper in the long run.

For example, consider a new air source heat pump – good for both heating and cooling your house. You can buy an energy efficient heat pump that is rated at 8.5 HSPF (a measure of heating efficiency). Or spend less for one rated at 6.8 HSPF. However, the high efficiency heat pump uses 24% less energy, and over a 15 year average lifespan this is a substantial savings on your utility bills. But it’s not all you can save.

Only the 8.5+ HSPF heat pump qualifies for a rebate from local utilities ($200-$400), plus a $300 tax credit, for up to $700 saved. Don’t forget to add those savings when comparing total cost.

Here’s another example. A standard (80% AFUE) furnace will have a lower installed price than a high efficiency (95% AFUE) furnace. However, the 95% furnace uses about 30% less energy, and over a 15 year average lifespan, creates significant savings. Only the high efficiency 95% furnace qualifies for federal tax credits and utility rebates putting an extra $250 back in your pocket. That savings combined with contractor discounts and the energy cost reduction might make the 95% furnace a good choice.

The government and our utilities offer rebates that can make some of the more expensive, higher efficiency products more cost effective. They do this because it costs them less to pay you an incentive to use less energy than to build new power plants. So take the cash!

Here are some other rebates and tax credits available:

  • Air Source Heat Pump: Utility rebate $200 – $400 plus tax credit of $300.
  • EnergyStar qualified windows: up to $200 tax credit. And some limited utility rebates.
  • Other combinations of tax credits and rebates include: up to $1300 for insulation, $450 for a tankless water heater and $1100 for a ductless heat pump system.
  • Exterior doors – up to $500 tax credit.
  • Air conditioning – $300 tax credit.
  • Natural gas conversion, up to $3950 from PSE.

We’ve listed the top rebates from Puget Sound Energy, Seattle City Light, Tacoma Power and Snohomish PUD on our website (click here). Restrictions apply and they do change frequently. Federal energy tax credits are available if you haven’t already taken one. Be sure to consult your tax advisor to determine your eligibility. Looking for kitchen appliance or CFL rebates, check out your utility’s website directly. Most electric utilities have them and some give away free bulbs.

If you would like to know more about these products or incentives, call us at 800 398 HOME or visit www.washingtonenergy.com

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