How to get ready for Cash for Caulkers
(Photo: Getty Images)Details for the U.S. government's Cash for Caulkers program aren't available yet, but it's not too early to start thinking about how to cash in on the proposed stimulus program. "Homeowners that educate themselves will be the first ones to take advantage of the program," says Lane Burt, at the Natural Resources Defense Council. He recommends that you get educated about your home now so you'll know what kinds of changes you'd like to make when the money becomes available. This is good point when you remember that Cash for Clunkers ran out of cash in the end. "Understand what you want to do so that you're not the one left in line when the program runs out of money," says Burt. While the details are still being hammered out, there are potentially two ways to have the government help with the costs of making your home more energy efficient:
- One idea is that an accredited buildings professional would come in to conduct an energy audit to determine where energy efficiency improvements can be made, help you decide on a plan of action, and then execute that plan. The expectation is that homeowners could get back 50 percent of what they spend up to a maximum rebate of $12,000.
- The other way to get government money is to buy an energy-efficient furnace, windows, or other component. There are federal rebates already available and several states also offer rebates for purchasing energy-efficient appliances and more.
- Install a programmable thermostat.
- Weatherstrip windows and doors.
- Caulk the obvious leaks.
- Insulate your water heater.
- Replace incandescent bulbs with CFLs or efficient halogens.