Energy Tax Credit for 2014

Energy Tax Credit for 2014

Energy Tax Credit
The Energy Tax Credit for 2014 can give you up to 500 reasons to buy energy efficient products. If you are thinking about buying new windows or siding for your home, buying energy efficient products will give you an immediate return on your taxes and a long term return on your bills.

The Energy Tax Credit for 2014 allows you up to $200 for windows and skylights and up to $500 for patio doors, with a credit limit of $500. If you are siding your home, using energy efficient insulation will also allow you to take advantage of a $500 tax credit.

Uncle Sam will allow you to claim 10% of the supplies costs excluding the labor for installing energy star rated products. It’s a winning situation for you as a home owner. It may not seem like a huge return because you are paying more money to buy energy star products but you need to look at the bigger picture. Energy efficient products soon pay for themselves; lower monthly utility bills over the lifetime of the purchased products will more than offset a higher purchase price of energy star rated goods.

If you are looking for more information about buying energy efficient products and the 2014 Energy Tax Credit, is a great resource. You can access the forms you will need to submit along with your taxes.

Saving energy is good a way to look out for the environment. Every little bit helps. We here at Professional Home Improvements offer you many options when it comes to buying energy efficient products. Call and set up an appointment to start saving money today.

*Note that New Construction and rentals do not qualify for the 2014 Energy Tax Credit. The qualifying house must be your primary residence.

Curb appeal, appraisals affect home values

As the housing market shows improvement, many homeowners are once again considering putting their homes up for sale. If you are like many Americans, home improvement projects were put on hold for the last three years, so it’s time to reassess your home and decide what should be updated.

Real estate agents suggest that curb appeal and appraisal booster projects are the guidelines when deciding what projects to undertake before putting your home up for sale.

Curb appeal:
You can enhance curb appeal with these projects:

  • Maintain the landscaping
  • Keep up with the paintwork, both inside and outside of your home
  • Replace your home’s siding, gutters
  • Replace old window frames with wooden or energy-efficient ones

Bringing your home up to your area’s standards is important. Banks and real estate transactions all use appraisers. And appraisers use what are called “comps” or comparables. Those are similar homes in the area that sold for a certain price and then that is used to determine the market value of your home.

Appraisers have certain things they look for as key determinants of value. For example, the location of the real estate (location, location, location!), the livable square footage of a home, the number of bedrooms and bathrooms, if it has a fireplace, what the home is constructed out of, what it “looks” like (curb appeal), etc.

What don’t they care about? Well, they don’t care what color your living room is or what brand of kitchen appliance you have. What you want to focus on with appraisal booster projects are high ROI projects that improve the appraisal value and comps. Appraisal booster projects are home repairs that will automatically boost the appraisal of your home, such as energy-efficient windows and doors, wood flooring or the addition of a fireplace. To avoid financial loss and disappointment later, remember to always consult with a realtor or renovations expert to determine how much value planned renovations will add to your home.

The Windy City: Chicago is not always gentle on your home!

While we love living in our beautiful area, the weather can take its toll on our homes. Obvious weather damage includes wind and hail.

The impact of hail on a home is immediately obvious: it can dent some types of siding, rip holes in roofs, and even break windows. Wind can work its way behind siding at the seams and pull panels away from the home, rip off shingles and cause tree branches to break windows.

Your first call should be to your insurance agent. Your second call should be to us. The sooner repairs can be made, the less severe the damage will be. Left unattended, water can enter your home, exacerbating the damage done. Mold can form, which is a health risk.

The next time the Windy City howls, check your exterior and give us a call if you notice any damage.


Siding and insulation: What’s your number?

Insulation keeps your home warm in the winter and cool in the summer. Insulation is measured by R-value, which refers to its ability to resist heat flow. The higher the number, the better the insulating power. Recommended R-values vary from area to area.

In the Chicago area, Zone 5, when replacing siding, R5-R6 insulative wall sheathing is used beneath the new siding. A properly insulated home can deliver comfort and lower energy bills during the hottest and coldest times of the year.

In addition to siding, look for other areas to improve energy efficiency, in particular, leaky or poorly installed windows.

Give us a call to learn more: 847-253-9500.



Old Man Winter is coming! Are your windows ready?

How do you know if your windows should be replaced before Old Man Winter arrives?

• Cold or warm spots near windows are usually a good sign that your current windows aren’t doing their job. Place your hand on a wall near a window, move it around, and note if there is a significant temperature difference.

• Check for drafts. Hold a lit candle or burning match along the edge of each window. If the flame flickers, indicating a draft, that window is a good candidate for replacement.

• In older wooden framed windows, it’s important to check for decay or rot. This can be done by applying medium pressure against the wood with a flat blade screwdriver (not a phillips). If the wood “gives” under the pressure, it’s probably time to consider replacements.

• When condensation or ice collects on the window glass, inadequate insulation is usually the culprit. Time to call a professional!

• Windows are designed to operate within a narrow range of parameters. If they have lost the ability to open and close smoothly, or need a stick to prop them open, it’s time to replace them.

• When the weather seal, that is maintained by caulk, is lost, the window has lost its ability to keep the outside out and the inside in. Checking the caulk is easy. In the evening, after it is dark, go outside, observe the window while someone stands in the room with the lights off and shine a flashlight around the perimeter of the window. If the caulk seal is lost, the light will shine through.

Owning a home is a great pleasure but one that carries responsibilities in order to keep its value. We would be happy to visit your home and evaluate your windows. If you need replacements, we have many options to meet your needs and budget.