New Tax Credit, New Windows
I have been meaning to replace a couple of 60-year-old rusted-shut basement windows for years, but other priorities always nudged the job lower on my to-do list. Now I'm thinking that it would be a shame not to take advantage of the 30 percent federal tax credit for energy-efficient windows and finally get that job done. Here's how the search for the right windows is going so far.
The tax credit covers up to 30 percent of the window's cost (but not the installer's labor), up to $1,500. But they have to be super-efficient windows to qualify. The standards for the tax credit are higher even than the government's Energy Star rating. For the Washington area, where blocking summer sunshine is as important as reducing winter chills, we need windows with a "U-Factor" (for keeping cold out) of 0.40 or less, and a SHGC (short for solar heat gain coefficient) of 0.55 or less. Windows show these ratings on efficiency labels like the one shown here.
Unfortunately, I wasn't able to find these ratings shopping Home Depot or Lowe's online. You can sort their selections for Energy Star windows, but not for the higher standards that qualify for the tax break. If you do find a specific window, however, you can look up its ratings on the Web site maintained by the National Fenestration Rating Council.
It's easier, of course, to just ask a salesperson. And you have to get a certificate from the manufacturer to keep on file to back up your tax deduction claim, anyway. Brian Whitehouse, a salesman at Hodges Windows & Doors in Falls Church, said the tax break is typically more than enough to cover the extra cost of upgrading from a lower-quality window. I have more research to do, though, to find out just how pricey these super-efficient windows can get. It sure would be easier if retailers highlighted the ones that qualify on their Web sites. I'll let you know how the search goes, and whether I can find any retailers that sell qualifying windows off-the shelf for installation by a homeowner or handyman.
Extra Point Pop Quiz: What the heck does fenestration mean? I had to look it up, so no bonus points for me. Although it sounds like a horrible medical procedure, it simply means any opening in a building, including windows, doors and skylights.
Have you already upgraded windows or doors to take advantage of the new tax break? Is the tax break enough to justify the extra cost?
Posted by: crunchyfrog | March 25, 2009 7:24 AM | Report abuse
Posted by: Erazzi | March 25, 2009 9:45 AM | Report abuse
Posted by: rb-freedom-for-all | March 25, 2009 11:22 AM | Report abuse
Posted by: burkemic99 | March 25, 2009 12:30 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: laura33 | March 25, 2009 3:22 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: webbrats | March 25, 2009 4:06 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: laura33 | March 25, 2009 4:20 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: Erazzi | March 25, 2009 5:22 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: Erazzi | March 25, 2009 5:23 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: coops3 | March 26, 2009 8:31 AM | Report abuse
Posted by: ttaffera | March 27, 2009 12:26 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: danaks14 | March 28, 2009 9:07 AM | Report abuse
Posted by: S8thRd | March 31, 2009 8:04 PM | Report abuse
The comments to this entry are closed.