Time to Tackle Energy-saving Home Improvements

It won’t be long before the winter winds will start to howl outside your home and there’s no better time to tackle energy-saving home improvements. This year, homeowners who purchase and install qualifying products are eligible to receive a $1,500 federal tax credit. However, you have to act fast because the tax credit will expire on December 31, 2010.

An enhanced entryway is an ideal way to use this tax credit. Not only will a new entry or patio door give a much-needed boost to a home’s overall curb appeal and perceived value, energy efficient fiberglass doors can help lower energy bills.
Therma-Tru® fiberglass doors offer four times the insulation of a wood door and are ENERGY STAR qualified, providing excellent thermal protection. Each door is constructed of durable fiberglass and will not rot, split, crack or rot like wood, or rot, dent or ding like steel. The doors create a tight seal, creating an energy efficient envelope that stabilizes interior temperature and helps you decrease your home’s energy costs.
Therma-Tru is pleased to offer homeowners a variety of energy-efficient entry and patio doors that qualify for the energy-saving tax credit. In fact, most Therma-Tru products qualify by having a U-Factor and Solar Heat Gain Coefficient (SHGC) of 0.30 or lower, which is a measure of a product’s energy efficiency. For a complete list of qualified products, visit www.thermatru.com/taxcredit.
To break down the details about the tax credit, visit www.myenergytax.com. Here you will find an educational video, a list of frequently asked questions to help explain the opportunity at hand, and the tools needed to claim the credit.
How Energy Efficient Are Your Doors?  
Before the temperature drops and winter makes its return, it’s time to inspect your home for areas that could provide an easy entry point for cold air to sneak in and warm, cozy air to sneak out. Here are some ways to determine whether your current door is really keeping your heat inside and the chilly winter elements outside.
Hold a candle to the wind. Using a lighted candle, follow the outline of the door around its frame on a windy day. You’ll see the candle flicker at every point where air is passing through the opening.
Look for the light. On a bright day, stand in your foyer and look for daylight flowing through the door opening. If light is coming in, so is external air. Your weatherstripping may have lost compression, or you may have a warped door or frame.
Take the touch test. Touch your door on hot days and cold days. If you feel the exterior temperatures on the inside surface, your door may not have adequate insulation. 
Watch the weatherstripping. Low-quality weatherstripping can lose its compression over time, opening the door to air infiltration. Look for flat or cracked weatherstripping that is no longer doing its job.
Sill the deal. Your door sill and bottom sweep prevent air infiltration and water penetration. Try to slide a piece of paper under your entry door. If you can, you’ll likely need to adjust or replace your bottom sweep.
It’s an open-and-shut case. Finally, open and shut your door on both dry days and wet, humid days. If your door fits tightly on humid days, then it is probably leaking air on dry days. You may want to consider a high-performance door such as fiberglass to prevent swelling.
How to Improve Your Door’s Energy Efficiency
Replace the weatherstripping. Adding new weatherstripping is a simple solution that can greatly reduce air infiltration. Your local hardware store will be able to recommend the product best suited to your application.
Adjust the hinges. Loose hinges or low-quality hardware can create gaps. Tighten the screws in existing hardware or consider replacing hardware with high-quality brass or brushed steel components.
Level the sill. Many times, the sill can settle, opening gaps for air. Purchase shims from your local hardware store to reset the sill so it is flush with the door bottom, and consider replacing or adjusting the bottom sweep to create a tighter seal. 
Upgrade the lock. If your lock is not installed properly or isn’t the right size, it won’t keep the door seated squarely in the doorframe. Carefully measure your existing lock and door, and look for high-quality brass or brushed steel replacement locks.
Install fiberglass doors. By installing fiberglass doors with decorative glass, you can add beautiful curb appeal to your home and enhance its energy efficiency —- and let the sun shine in.   

If you take on a few simple energy efficient home improvements, you will save energy and money.  But if you invest in some bigger energy-saving changes, you could qualify for a federal tax credit and add value to your home. 

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