Are You Leaving Money on the Table?
Home Renovation Credits, are worth researching!. Each Country or State will have a set of credits that may be available to you if you are renovating your home to be more efficient.
We are trying to renovate a "fixer upper" and I got a furnace inspection, since it is gas, and looked old, I thought it would be worth the $79.99 price tag for peace of mind.
As it turns out, the furnace is original, and since the house was built in 1972, that makes this gas furnace 37 years old! We don't have much history on this house, as it was a power of sale, but the neighbors are running similar furnaces, simply because it is too expensive to change them.
Well here in Ontario, Canada, the winters are cold, and the last thing you want is a furnace deciding somewhere in mid February that it could not be bothered anymore, and pack it in! ( It is a Lennox, I am not pushing brands here, but this one is a trooper! still going with no maintenance)
The inspector of the furnace, was amazed that it was still running. He had taken the inspection plate off, and you could tell it had not been touched, and he said "any repair or inspection by qualified service people, would mark the date or leave a sticker" There was NOTHING, so he figured, not only was this furnace 37 years old, but it had never been serviced or cleaned. He then asked me if we had done an "energy audit"
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Check Your Area for Home Renovation Credits Available
I had no clue what that was. Well this is where it really doesn't hurt to find out about any home renovation credits you might be entitled too. The government doesn't go out of its way to tell you about them, but there are many available.
With this particular home renovation credit, you have to get an "energy audit" done. Which entails a qualified licensed energy auditor, to come to your house, and he first takes measurements of the house, then he peeks in your attic.
Next he frames the front door with what looks like a tent door, and a big fan in the middle. He makes sure it fits the front doorway airtight, then he runs the fan for 20 -30 minutes. This actually creates a different air pressure in the house, as it is sucking air out. He can then go around the house, and any air leaks will show up as air rushing in.
We knew there would be areas, but it was not the ones we thought. The furnace for sure was an issue, and then the attic door entrance, it really didn't have much of a seal, and you could feel the air rushing in. Most of our windows were OK, except for one. They must have put trim around the window without insulating, so that one was bad. Without this test you might not have noticed it. Next was some electrical outlets on the exterior walls, air was rushing in there as well.
Right now it is December here, and we have just had a cold spell, so it was easy to detect the cold air rushing in to the house. Next was the basement. The basement walls are not insulated at all, and two of the three basement window were not bad, but the third one might as well have been wide open. The air movement around that window was huge! Upon a closer look we realized, it was just a clear sheet of plexi glass.
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Next was the toilets. We had already purchased two new toilets, but had not installed them yet. They were on sale, and are still sitting in the living room in their boxes, until we are ready to install them.
He took a look at the old ones still in use, and told me they were water guzzlers, and saw the new ones I had got are the 6L water save ones. (I don't even think you can buy the other ones anymore!).
After his test, he sat down with me, and showed me the list of renovation credits we would be entitled to, if we did this work. I had never bothered with these credits, because many times they want you to use a licensed contractor, which can cost big bucks, and we tend to do most work ourselves to save money. But as it turns out, these renovations credits were for basically doing the work, whether you get someone else to do it, or yourself.
Now this is obviously a renovation credit for Canada, but whatever country you are in, you should check and see if there are credits out there for improving your heating, or cooling or whatever, that helps the environment and your wallet.
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Check Your Local Building Department for Available Credits
I will actually be ahead of the game on the toilets, the government is handing out $130.00 per toilet that we change, and I managed to get my two toilets on sale for that price, so it is a great incentive to change them out. I will get $750.00 bucks back if I change the furnace to a high efficiency furnace, and an additional money if I insulate the basement, replace that one basement window, and use a insulated gasket on the electrical outlets that are on outside walls etc.
You have 18 months to complete the work from the date of these test, and after you have done the work, you call him back, and he checks out your installs and repairs. He is also going to work out for us, exactly how much more insulation I need in the attic, since mine is the original amount from 1972. So I will get quite a bit of a credit for that.
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I will get a licensed installer to install a new furnace (I don't mess around with natural gas) but we will do the other work ourselves. Yes you need to pay out first, but within 6 - 8 weeks of getting your work inspected, you should get your money. Now being the government, I don't hold my breath on the 6 - 8 weeks part, but friends have been getting their renovation credits, and other friends of mine are upset that they didn't know about it, and had already done a bunch of work to their houses.
It really does pay to find out about renovation credits. With the environment on everyone's minds these days, this is definitely a win win situation. Good for your carbon footprint and good for your wallet.