The average American homeowner spends more than $2,000 annually for energy, including heating, cooling and lighting. Heating accounts for 29 percent and cooling another 17 percent of the total energy use. Federal and state governments occasionally offer tax credits for replacing doors with new energy-efficient models to reduce energy losses. Replacement doors can reduce your annual energy costs each year, even when you can't pick up a tax credit for the new doors.
While large national programs providing federal income tax credits for exterior doors that qualify under the Energy Star program expired in 2010 and 2011, some states, counties and localities offer other tax credits. Federal and state legislatures also consider new tax credit and tax rebate programs each year. Many utility companies also offer savings for customers who make energy conservation modifications, including exterior door replacement.
Energy Saving Doors
Energy saving exterior doors with windows must have glass rated by the National Fenestration Rating Council to minimize the heat and cooling transfer from the inside to the outside. Glass has several important rating classifications. The U-factor or U-value calculates the heat escaping through the window. The most-desirable ratings have the lowest rating — between 0.20 and 1.20. Other important energy ratings list the amount of air leaking through the glass, known as the AL rating, and the amount of glass resistance to moisture condensation. This is also known as the CR value. The amount of light coming through the glass, or the VT value, and the solar heat gain coefficient or the SHGC ranking, which records the amount of solar heat allowed into the house, also determine if your exterior door qualifies for any potential tax credits.
Only federally certified exterior doors manufactured by certified manufacturers qualify for federal tax credits when the Internal Revenue Service offers such tax savings. Individual state programs specify types of qualifying doors for the state tax rebates or credits. The IRS requires documentation to prove you purchased and installed the door, including filing a copy of the Manufacturer Certification Statement for your new door with your tax documents. Requirements on the local level vary with the state revenue office and state and local laws.
Replacement doors frequently improve the look of your house and make it more attractive to potential buyers when you market your house for sale. When replacing doors with energy efficient models, match the new doors to the exterior styling of your home. Putting an ultra-modern-style door on a classic ranch house usually attracts attention but not the kind you typically want. Even when your new door qualifies for a tax rebate or credit, these credits cover only a fraction of the price of the new door, typically between 10 and 30 percent, so take some time to select a quality door that will stand up to the elements while looking good through years of use.
- Energy Star: Energy Star and the Tax Credit
- Energy Star: What Makes It Energy Star?
- Energy Star: Independently Tested and Certified Energy Performance
- National Fenestration Rating Council: The NFRC Label
- "Better Homes and Gardens": Ranch-Style Home Ideas
- Energy Star: Where Does My Money Go?
- Energy Star: Benefits of Energy Star Qualified Windows, Doors and Skylights
- Energy Star: Home Tips
- U.S. Department of Energy -- Energy Savers: Tax Credits for Energy Efficiency
Lee Grayson has worked as a freelance writer since 2000. Her articles have appeared in publications for Oxford and Harvard University presses and research publishers, including Facts On File and ABC-CLIO. Grayson holds certificates from the University of California campuses at Irvine and San Diego.