MADISON (WKOW/ANGIE'S LIST) -- 2013 is drawing to a close, but before you focus on new resolutions, you may want to complete one more project this year.
If you make your home more energy efficient before December 31st, you could be eligible for a federal tax credit.
First up, you may want to start with a home energy audit.
"One of the issues we had was around switches and plug outlets throughout the house," homeowner Steve Chase said. "There was one that was maybe worse than the others, we knew it was kind of cold, but we did not realize quite how bad it was."
A home audit found a fix and gave chase peace of mind by proving recent home improvement project weren't wasted.
"We didn't build the house, we bought the house existing and it had been five years old when we moved in," Chase explained.
There are several products and appliances that may qualify for a tax credit - including insulation, heating and cooling equipment, roofing and windows.
But before you commit to any improvements, evaluate your home's needs.
An energy audit can help do that by telling you how much energy your home uses and what you can do to improve efficiency.
"I have my infrared camera here and what we do is we go through the house. We look at everything, floors, doors, windows, and ceilings - everything that we can think of and we are trying to find issues within the house," Energy Auditor Art Tompkins said.
Auditors also conduct a blower door test to find leaks.
"This is the skin of the blower door and I preassembled it. It goes right into the door like this," Tompkins said.
An audit typically takes about three to four hours and costs $250 to $800.
Most auditors take pictures, both infrared and digital, and include those in a report with descriptions and suggestions on how to fix issues.
"When hiring an energy auditor you want to make sure they are an independent third party. The auditor should come in and give you an assessment. They shouldn't be selling you the actual items," Angie Hicks said.
You should always be home at the time of the audit so you can walk through your house, room by room, with the auditor.
Click here for a full list of products and appliances that qualify for the tax credit.
Angie's List Tips:
Home Energy Audits
An auditor can comprehensively assess how much energy your home uses and evaluate the measures you can take to improve its efficiency.
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