Article by Home Loan Center Editorial Staff
While the most obvious way to save money on your home is by securing a low mortgage rate, savvy homeowners can also reap financial benefits from the latest energy-efficient products and environmentally-friendly technology. Whether you install solar panels, a “green” heating and cooling system, or explore new uses for old materials, it pays to supplement low home mortgage rates with money-saving ideas.
You can hire a professional to evaluate your home’s energy efficiency, or perform your own inspection. The areas most likely to give you trouble are inadequate water heater and home insulation, and the leaks around windows and doors that reduce the efficiency of your heating and cooling systems, depending on the season. Check the U.S. Department of Energy’s website for more recommendations.
Big Savings at Tax Time
The Energy Policy Act of 2005 (EPACT) offers consumers and businesses the opportunity to earn federal tax credits for buying energy-efficient products such as hybrid cars and home appliances. Your potential savings are impressive, particularly coupled with any additional tax incentives your state may offer for choosing energy-efficient products. To learn more about state tax rebates, check with your state government office.
Products that qualify for federal tax credits under the EPACT include most solar-powered water heaters and energy-efficient features such as roofs, insulation, and heating/cooling systems. If the cost of updating your home is intimidating, you might take advantage of today’s low home mortgage rates and apply for a home equity or line of credit loan (HELOC). The interest paid on these types of loans may be tax-deductible and provide another financial break!
Selecting “green” appliances is easier, thanks to the Energy Star system, which is designed to help consumers identify energy-efficient models. Other innovative choices include money-saving tankless water heaters and geothermal heat pumps, which use an underground pump to cool the house in summer and provide heating in winter.
What about new home construction? According to the U.S. Department of Energy and the Environmental Protection Agency, new homes that qualify for the Energy Star rating can save their owners hundreds of dollars in utility bills for services. This could translate to thousands of dollars back in your wallet, over the time you live in that energy-efficient home.
Whether you’re building a new home or upgrading an existing property, taking time to research “green” options makes sense. Rising oil prices and fluctuating home mortgage rates can mean higher prices at the pump and tighter monthly cash-flow. Energy-efficient products and technology go a long way to helping you manage your expenses and protecting our environment from potential harm.