Federal Energy Tax Credit: Use It before You Lose It

By: Conrad Neuf , Contributing Writer
In: Old Houses, Old House Construction, Home Improvement Tips, Old House Musings, In The News

There are a number of old houses in my area that still rely on a single central source of heat during the winter, and mine is one of them. I’ve mentioned before that my old house has a large kerosene stove that sits in the middle of the first floor and supplies heat to the entire home. The heat circulates naturally through the first level and through a couple of grills and the stairway to the second floor.

Use the Energy Tax Credit Before It's Gone

Use the Energy Tax Credit Before It's Gone

I don’t know how old the stove is, but I’ve been here for 20 years and I’d guess the stove was in the home for at least 10 years before I arrived. I know that several years ago I was having a slight problem with its operation and a group on the Internet with a passion for antique heating stoves knew the model and were able to answer some of my questions, so it has evidently hit the ”classic” stage. The stove seems to just plug along year after year requiring only a little bit of annual cleaning and the outside tank to be filled several times each winter, but its days may be numbered.

The Federal Energy Tax Credit Expires Soon

Several weeks ago I wrote about the federal energy tax credit that expires December 31; but it wasn’t until this week that I realized what a really great deal it is, and it’s not likely to be extended. The tax credit will cover 30 percent up to a maximum of $1,500 for a wood stove, pellet stove, or fireplace insert that burns a biomass material at 75 percent efficiency or higher–and the credit can also cover installation costs. A number of different fuels can be classified as biomass, but wood pellets definitely caught my eye as I’ve been considering a pellet stove for a number of years.

Goodbye Oil Tank, Hello Energy Savings

Goodbye Oil Tank, Hello Energy Savings

According to a publication put out by the State of Massachusetts, using a ton of wood pellets is about the same as using 120 gallons of heating fuel. I use around 480 gallons of fuel each winter, and the US Energy Information Administration is showing that heating oil is at $2.99 per gallon as of November 1; that means that I could spend about $1,435 heating my home with kerosene this winter. Wood pellets look to be about $250 a ton right now and with a new pellet stove I’d spend about $1,000 for the same amount of heat. When I add that $435 in fuel savings to the $900 the government will cover on a $3000 pellet stove, saying goodbye to my old stove seems like a no-brainer. Actually taking advantage of the energy tax credit to improve your old house before it expires should be a no-brainer for anyone.

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