Have you thought about how to use your tax refund money?
While investing, saving or paying down debt are all great ways to spend tax returns, consider putting money back into the home through home improvement this tax season.
There are two major criteria homeowners should follow when prioritizing home improvement tasks around the house.
- Improvements left unattended that pose a safety hazard
- Improvements that are causing your family to lose dollars
Homeowners can spend a few extra dollars making sure doors and windows are tightly sealed. This helps keep cool air from seeping out through cracks, making the home warmer and forcing air conditioning systems to run harder. Call an energy professional to assess the home, determining what other adjustments need to be made to make your home energy efficient.
Once adjustments are made, look into tax credits earmarked for energy efficient home improvements that can be claimed for 2014. This way money is being saved while the home is being enhanced; it is a win-win situation.
You can also capitalize on tax refunds by putting the dollars toward technological home improvements, such as a programmable thermostat. These adjust automatically to the current temperature and decrease energy usage if a room is at the programmed temperature. They can also be programmed to turn off if no one is home.
A less expensive option to improve the home is simply by cleaning or replacing dirty vents and filters throughout the house. When vents and filters are clogged, systems have to work harder and use more energy to get the air through. This is an affordable adjustment that could end up saving homeowners hundreds of dollars in the long run.
Last but not least, get prepared this spring before the Oklahoma summer heat strikes and consider upgrading heating and air conditioning systems. Air conditioning units older than 10 years may need to be replaced by a newer model. Newer models use less energy and work more efficiently, keeping the home comfortable during the intense Oklahoma heat.
Make certain the new system is properly installed by a licensed, reputable contractor, as improperly installed systems can reduce efficiency by up to 30 percent. If a new system is out of the question, call a service professional and make an appointment for maintenance to make sure the system is ready for upcoming months.
Be smart with refunded dollars this tax season. Use these quick tips to help make the most of your tax dollars, while improving your home.
Jon Hill is a NewsOK contributor and a part owner and general manager of Hill and Company, a HVAC company founded by his father in 1967.
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