10 Rebates and Tax Credits More Homeowners Should Take Advantage Of

Most homeowners are eager to upgrade their homes, but the cost of home improvements, particularly substantial ones, can be daunting. Luckily, numerous federal, state, and local tax credits—as well as rebates from manufacturers and local utility companies—are available to lighten the burden. Some home improvements are eligible for both tax credits and rebates, so it's wise for homeowners to do a little research to make sure they receive everything to which they're entitled. Read on for more information about rebates and tax credits, and the types of projects that are often eligible.

  1. Tax Credits, and How to Find Them

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    Finding Tax Credits

    Tax credits are controlled by the states and the federal government and are often used to incentivize home improvements that conserve energy. Homeowners claim these credits when they're filing their income taxes. For instance, a tax credit for installing solar panels can put 30 percent of the project cost right back in homeowners' pockets come tax time. This and other credits for installing renewable energy products have been extended through December 31, 2021. To find out what credits are available to you, visit the U.S. Department of Energy website.

    Related: America’s Lowest Property Taxes Are in These 12 States

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  2. Rebates, and How to Find Them

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    Finding Rebates

    Unlike tax credits, rebates for energy-efficient appliances are typically administered through local power companies and appliance manufacturers in conjunction with the U.S. Energy Star program. To learn about rebates available in your area, visit the Energy Star website.

    Related: Hello, Homeowners: The 8 Most Useful Apps for Your Phone

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  3. Appliances

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    Appliance Rebates

    Energy Star-certified appliances are designed to use up to 30 percent less energy than older and non-certified appliances. Many local power companies offer rebates as high as $600 on purchases of qualified refrigerators, freezers, dishwashers, clothes washers and dryers, dehumidifiers, and air purifiers. Before you buy new appliances, research available rebates so you can take full advantage of local programs.

    Related: 8 Appliances That Cost You a Fortune in Energy Bills

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  4. Doors, Windows, and Skylights

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    Window Tax Credit

    Replacing old, leaky windows, doors, and skylights pays homeowners back—twice. These home improvement projects may qualify for rebates of up to $40 per door and $15 per window as well as tax credits of up to $200 for eligible windows and skylights, and up to $500 for eligible doors.

    Related: 14 Secrets of People with Low Energy Bills

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  5. Insulation

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    Insulation Rebate

    Sealing and insulating your attic, basement, walls, and foundation will save you money on your energy bills—10 percent or more a year—and increase interior comfort by eliminating drafts. Beyond that, some local utilities offer rebates of up to $400 for installing new or additional insulation.

    Related: The Pros and Cons of Today's Most Popular Insulation

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  6. Electronics

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    Electronics Rebate

    The average American household owns 24 consumer electronics products, according to the Energy Star website, and those gadgets are responsible for up to 12 percent of household electricity use. Rebates of up to $200 are available on energy-efficient home electronics, including televisions, digital media players, telephones, computers, and tablets.

    Related: 8 Stupid Mistakes That Kill Your Electronics

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  7. Lighting

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    Lighting Rebates

    Switching to energy-efficient light fixtures, ceiling fans, lamps, decorative string lights, and environmentally friendly LED bulbs definitely pays off in lower energy bills—and you may even be able to get a bonus from your local utility company. Some offer rebates of up to $25 for fixtures and up to $3.50 per LED bulb.

    Related: 8 Common Lighting Mistakes Almost Everyone Makes

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  8. Roofing

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    Roofing Tax Credit

    If a new roof is in your future, consider installing an Energy Star-certified metal or asphalt roof. These new energy-efficient designs contain pigmented coatings or cooling granules that reduce heat gain and cut down on the amount of air conditioning needed to cool your home by up to 15 percent, thereby saving you cash. Qualified products are eligible for a tax credit of 10 percent of the cost of the product, up to $500.

    Related: 7 Signs You Need a New Roof

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  9. Heating and Cooling

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    HVAC Tax Credits

    As much as half of the household energy you use goes toward heating and cooling. That's why replacing old, inefficient furnaces, boilers, and air-conditioning units with newer, more efficient models can add up to substantial savings on energy bills. Some replacements qualify for both tax credits of up to $150 and rebates of up to $500.

    Related: 9 Energy-Saving Home Upgrades That Pay for Themselves

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  10. Water Heaters

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    Water Heaters Rebates

    Water heaters are the second biggest energy hogs in a typical home, but many newer types of water heaters save both energy and water. Rebates of up to $450 are available on qualified heat pump water heaters, solar water heaters, and whole-home tankless gas models.

    Related: 10 Surprising Ways You Can Void a Warranty

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  11. Home Office Equipment

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    Home Office Tax Credit

    With the rise of telecommuting and flexible work schedules, more and more Americans have designated space in their home for an office. A dedicated home office may be eligible for a tax deduction, and there are rebates of up to $150 available on a broad selection of home office equipment, including computers, monitors, and data storage.

    Related: The Worst Money Mistakes Homeowners Ever Make

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  12. Renewable Energy Sources

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    Renewable Energy Tax Credit

    The Residential Renewable Energy Tax Credit lets homeowners claim up to 30 percent of the cost of adding solar, wind, geothermal, and fuel-cell technologies to their home. The credit covers solar panels, solar-powered water heaters, wind turbines, geothermal heat pumps, and more.

    Related: 18 Ways You're Accidentally Wasting Energy

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  13. See the House of the Week

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    Discover and admire beautiful and innovative home architecture, from grand Victorians to quaint cabins and all the styles in between. Take a look at the latest images and inspiration!