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Stephanie Edwards-Musa's Blog

By Stephanie Edwards-Musa | Home Owner in The Woodlands, TX

Cashing In On New Windows - Don't Be Disappointed

One of the popular topics when discussing renovations for an older home is in regards to the windows.  Older homes will have the aluminum frame and single pane glass.  It's poor quality and pretty much all they do is keep the water and other weather outside of the home. - Not to mention they can make your home extremely hot in the summer and cold in the winter.

Double Pane windows on the other hand are more Energy Efficient
, they promote improved indoor air quality in the home (you won't have to dust as much) and they make your home quieter.  A huge advantage to spending what can be several thousands of dollars for a higher quality product.

The other hot topic right now is the Energy Efficiency Tax Credit for upgrades with products that are Energy Star rated.  Upgraded insulation, HVAC equipment, some lighting...

But this is not to be mistaken to be the same with windows.  Windows had their own separate category in the Stimulus Bill.  It is the same credit - meaning you get 30% tax credit up to $1500 but an Energy Star rated window WILL NOT qualify.

Besides just looking at the color of the window, whether or not it is vinyl or aluminum frame we now have to pay extremely close attention to the numbers on the sticker.  An Energy Star rated window will have a U Factor less than or equal to .65 and a Solar Heat Gain Coefficient (Big) of less than or equal to .40 - These are very easy to find in any Big Box store across the Country.

However, in order to qualify for the Tax Credit the guidelines changed just a wee bit.  The U Factor AND SHGC must be equal or below to .30 - They raised the bar considerably.  I personally went in to a few Big Box stores in the Houston area and not a single window available met this requirement.

Now, this does not mean that an Energy Star window is bad - It just means that if you buy a window that does not qualify you will not get a Tax Credit.  There may be some upset tax payers come tax time next year.

While this can all get a little confusing I went to visit Houston Area window expert Bob Birner of Renewal by Andersen Replacement Windows to help explain it for us.  Listen in to the podcast below to find out what all of the acronyms mean and how to make sure that you can get that Tax Credit for your new expensive windows.

Click here to listen to the podcast

Also if you would like detailed information on how Windows can Green Up your Existing Home you can listen to a webinar with myself and Green Building/Remodeling Expert Michael Strong.  It is a 45 minute long webinar on Greening Your Home.

Click here to view the Webinar

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