Preparing for Winter can Also Save you Money
Although it may seem you have to spend money in order to winterize your home, there are some tax-saving incentives you can take advantage of when preparing for winter. You only have until Dec. 31, 2010 to benefit fromthe federal tax credit for energy efficient homes, so don’t procrastinate. It’s also important to note that the Dec. 31 deadline is for installation, not signing a contract, so give yourself about a month in advance for ordering.
Whether we like it or not, winter is just around the corner and it’s time to start thinking about sealing windows, cleaning gutters and protecting the lawn. Caulking windows, inside and out, is a great start; however it’s not the only energy efficient precaution that will qualify you for tax credit. Insulation, storm doors, metal roofing and HVAC equipment can apply too, depending on the specific product you buy. Find out at the time of purchase whether or not the product qualifies as they have to meet certain energy factors to apply.
Gutter cleaning may not be the most desirable winter-prep priority, but it is crucial to have clear gutters for winter, especially in regions with heavy snowfall. If gutters are clogged with leaves and seeds, water will not flow through, creating a backup of everything. Check the seam along the back of the gutter to make sure it’s not bulging. If the seam is ready to snap open, it’s a sign that water built up last winter and turned to ice, causing the gutter to stretch. As a result, water leaks down toward the foundation of the house, not away. If there’s a bulge in the seam, throw the gutter away and replace as a broken gutter will cause damage to your home. If you’re tired of this process every fall, you can buy a gutter guard which comes with heat strips to prevent ice from building up in the winter.
While a large part of fall yard work revolves around raking leaves, that’s not the only winter-prep chore that should be taking place in the yard. Seeding the yard should take place by Oct. 15 and after the raking leaves. Removing as many leaves as possible is important; if they stay on the ground they can decompose and infiltrate the roots of your grass which will cause your grass to stop growing. Fertilizer should hit your lawn during the first week of November and you should cut the grass as short as possible to avoid snow mold from appearing in spring. Once the grass has been prepped, the last step is pruning back all dead branches on bushes and shrubs.
Take advantage of the tax credit for energy efficient homes because not only are you receiving the credit, but you’re making a purchase that will save you monthly utility costs as well.