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Fiscal cliff deal brings incentive for energy efficient upgrades

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AMARILLO - Part of the "fiscal cliff" deal could get you up to $500 in tax credits if you made upgrades to your home last year or plan to this year.

Right now businesses are trying to remember the details of the 25C residential tax credit.
 
It expired at the end of 2011, but the fiscal cliff deal brought it back as an incentive to homeowners.  

If you upgrade the following items in your home to make them as energy efficient as possible, you could keep up to 500 dollars in your pocket when it comes time to pay taxes. 

•Insulation
•Exterior window or skylight
•Exterior door
•Metal roof with pigmented coating, or asphalt roof with cooling granules
•Advanced main air circulating fan (Electricity use of no more than 2% of total energy used by the furnace.)
•Natural gas, propane, or oil furnace or hot water boiler (Annual fuel utilization efficiency (AFUE) rate not less than 95.)
•Electric heat pump water heater (Energy factor of at least 2.0)
•Electric heat pump (Meets the highest efficiency tier set by the Consortium for Energy Efficiency for 2009: SEER of at least 15, an EER of at least 12.5, and an HSPF of at least 8.5)
•Central air conditioner (Meets the highest efficiency tier set by the Consortium for Energy Efficiency for 2009: SEER of at least 16 and an EER of at least 13 for most air conditioners.)
•Natural gas, propane, or oil water heater (Energy factor of at least .82 or a thermal efficiency rating of at least 90%)
•Biomass stove (Thermal efficiency rating of at least 75%. Fueled by plant-derived fuel.)

Most of the qualifying improvements would save you money in utility bills in the long run.

"The value of high efficiency equipment, with or without the tax credit, is always a good investment because nearly every household will spend more money on utility cost than they will the cost of the equipment itself," said Gary Ward, owner of Gary's Heating and Air Conditioning in Amarillo.
     
Ward says many of his customers installed new heater and air conditioning systems last year that will qualify for the credit.

"Our intentions are to call the people who bought the equipment in 2012 that qualifies, but keep in mind it's only specific equipment. It's only the very highest efficient," Ward said. "Most of the equipment that you can buy does not qualify for the tax credit."

When making an expensive upgrade, the $150-500 credit you could qualify for may not seem like a lot, but it can save thousands in a 15 year period and could also reduce the carbon footprint of a household up to 60 percent.

The IRS said they will be releasing more details on the new tax credit soon.
          

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