When thinking about plumbing, Jacksonville, FL residents may not think about tax breaks, but they are available to wise homeowners. As you prepare your tax paperwork for the April 15th deadline, remember to examine expenses for any improvements you made to your home in 2013. One of those expenses may have been for a water heater. In an effort to reduce our nation’s dependency on foreign oil and to conserve energy resources, the federal government offers tax credits for installing energy-efficient products. Here are the details on credit for a water heater installation other home improvement tax credits that are still available, and a look at the federal Energy Star program.

2013 Tax Credits                      

If by December 31, 2013 anyone had a non-solar water heater installed in their existing Jacksonville-area home, rewards await. The energy-efficient plumbing Jacksonville, FL residents had professionally installed during 2013 is now humming away at 90 percent thermal efficiency or higher. But that same water heater can now reward wise homeowners yet again, by reducing the tax burden by $300, using Form 5695, Residential Energy Credit. You enter $300 on line 22a, since the fuel oil, propane or gas water heater is considered “energy efficient building property.”

You need the “Manufacturers’ Certification” that the heater is energy efficient, and the water heater must be installed in your principal existing residence (not a vacation home or new construction). If you file your own taxes, complete the paperwork of Form 5695—it will probably take less than an hour—and attach it to your 1040 or 1040NR. Think: you earned $300 an hour!

If you have your taxes professionally prepared, make sure to include the Manufacturer’s Certification and proof of installation with your paperwork for your preparer. Call attention to the credit, since many people do not take advantage of it.

Other tax credits exist that extend to 2016, so if you missed the opportunity to install an energy-efficient water heater, perhaps you can cash in on one of these:

  • geothermal heat pump
  • small wind turbine (for residential use)
  • solar energy systems
  • fuel cells (residential fuel cell and micro-turbine systems)

Energy Star Appliances and Plumbing

Even if you were not fortunate enough to have a water heater installed in 2013, you can still take advantage of the federal Energy Star program that certifies a wide array of home products as being extremely energy efficient.

Many of the items of plumbing Jacksonville, FL residents have in their homes can be replaced with Energy Star appliances. While you may expect to see furnaces, boilers, air-source heat pumps and water heaters on the Energy Star list, you might not expect windows, ceiling fans, water coolers and home electronics to earn the star.

Another type of plumbing Jacksonville, FL homeowners may consider replacing is a hot water boiler. Hot water boiler systems can be fired with gas, propane or fuel oil, and all of these are available in Energy Star models. These have an AFUE of 95 percent and higher.

A more exotic bit of HVAC and plumbing Jacksonville, FL residents may start to see is the heat pump. Geothermal or air-source heat pumps are measured with Heating and Seasonal Performance Factor (HSPF); look for high numbers in Energy Star-labeled units. These can provide both heating and cooling by capturing heat from the air during cold weather and radiating heat out from your home during cooling season.

For summer, Energy Star-certified central air conditioners, window air conditioners and split systems are all on the market. Air conditioners are compared with Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (SEER). Considering Jacksonville’s typical heat, you can also compare the Energy Efficiency Ratio (EER) for days when the outside air temperature is 95 degrees or higher.

Dehumidifiers and ceiling fans, dishwashers and clothes washers, and, yes, even water coolers can earn the Energy Star label.

A wide assortment of home consumer products can be certified as Energy Star items:

  • audio equipment
  • battery chargers
  • copiers
  • computers
  • insulation
  • monitors
  • televisions
  • windows

You may have already noticed Energy Star-certified light bulbs in your home improvement store. These compact fluorescent (CFL) and light emitting diode (LED) lights will save you a lot of money over their long lives. LEDs can last 20 years or more. Whether it’s bulbs or major plumbing, Energy Star can light the way to real energy savings.

For more help with questions about tax credits for plumbing Jacksonville, FL homeowners need, or selecting Energy Star appliances, turn to the professionals at Bill Fenwick Plumbing, Inc.