El Paso, TX (KDBC) — During this time of the year, many homeowners plan big home improvement projects for the spring.
While planning these renovations, it’s important to be aware and take advantage of tax credits offered by the federal government to increase home energy efficiency.
The Better Business Bureau (BBB) offers tips for consumers to save money throughout this process.
The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 includes several new tax and expanded credits that homeowners can take advantage of while increasing the energy efficiency of their home.
Some qualifying improvements include routine work that every homeowner must undertake now and then, such as installing a new roof.
However, other qualifying improvements are more involved including installing a wind or solar energy system.
To qualify for tax credits, improvements must typically be made on the owner’s primary residence.
Homeowners should keep in mind that just because a product has an ENERGY STAR seal—the Environmental Protection Agency’s standard for energy efficient consumer products—it doesn’t mean the purchase qualifies for the tax credit.
A full list of qualifying home improvements is available online at: www.energystar.gov/taxcredits .
The BBB offers the following advice for homeowners on finding a company or contractor while saving money with tax credits:
• Always check the company or contractor out with BBB first. BBB Business Reviews are available online for free at www.bbb.org  and will tell the homeowner if the business has a good rating and is accredited by BBB.
• Homeowners should get several estimates for projects and remember that they do not have to use any specific contractor in order to take advantage of the tax credits.
• Before making any improvements, visit www.energystar.gov  to confirm that the products being used are eligible for the tax credit. Also consider consulting the IRS Web site at www.irs.gov  or a tax professional.
For more advice on finding businesses and services you can trust, visit www.bbb.org