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Energy Tax Benefits: Time Is Running Out To Save Money

The first winter we spent in our new home I kept them temperature at a toasty 75 degrees constantly, until I got the first heating oil bill. To cut the costs for the next blistering cold season, we put insulation in our attic and I figured out how to use the programmable thermostat.

I wish I’d waited another year to do it because I may have been able to get back 10 percent of the cost of the insulation materials in the form of a federal tax credit--a great savings, even better than a tax deduction, as it reduces your tax bill dollar for dollar.

Unfortunately, the federal residential energy tax credits are only good for two more weeks. A number of energy-efficient home improvements qualify as long as they were done this year or last, but these tax breaks expire on December 31st.

It’s still chilly in the master bedroom, so I probably could have put in a bit more insulation, though I know it’s too late now to get a contractor before the end of the year. But if you’ve already done the work--in 2006 or 2007--make sure you find the old receipts to turn into Uncle Sam.

You could get up to a $500 credit (equal to up to 10% of materials costs) for energy-efficient insulation materials, exterior doors, and metal roofs that are the right color to reduce heat. You can get a $300 credit for the right kind of central air conditioner, water heater or thermal heat pump.

Get up to $200 (up to 1 percent of materials costs) for storm windows and skylights. And you’re eligible for $150 for a qualifying furnace or boiler and $50 for the right type of fan that’s used in a furnace. Go to www.energystar. to see what products may qualify.

States also offer perks for “going green” by purchasing certain home appliances. California, Connecticut, Delaware, Kansas, New Hampshire, New Jersey, and Vermont are among the states where local utilities may be offering cash rebates to customers who bought a more energy-efficient clothes washer, refrigerator, freezer, programmable thermostat or lighting in the past year. But the “use it or lose it” provision applies here too. Many of these rebate programs only last until December 31st.

Check out the article thatI wrote on cnbc.com for a more information on end of the year energy savings.

Questions? Comments? energysource@cnbc.com