Energy tax credits likely to expire before 2012

The joy derived from a family vacation to an exotic location is fleeting, so this holiday season, parents may want to bypass such a trip and instead find a gift that can improve the livelihood of all of their family members for an extended period of time.

Homeowners in Virginia should consider purchasing a home inspection this month, before federal tax credits for creating energy-efficient homes expire at the end of 2011.

These tax incentives allow homeowners to fix components of their homes that are not energy efficient, such as faulty HVAC equipment, insufficient insulation, and leaky exterior doors and windows. Homeowners can deduct up to $500 for these improvements.

Unfortunately, time is running out for homeowners to address these issues. The tax credits are scheduled to expire at the end of this year, and lawmakers have yet to guarantee that they will continue into 2012.

"The outlook for renewal of federal energy efficiency tax incentives is uncertain at best so we encourage homeowners to complete those upgrades before the ball drops in Times Square at midnight on New Year's Eve," Alliance To Save Energy president Kateri Callahan said in a press release.

An experienced Washington, D.C. home inspector can inspect even the most obscure locations in a home to determine where energy improvements could be made. In addition, a qualified inspector can counsel homeowners as to specific upgrades that would most benefit a particular home. This low-cost investment should set homeowners on a path toward energy efficiency, and maximum comfort within their homes, that stretches well into the future.

Home energy upgrades can trim costs, which is especially important during the holiday shopping season, when more money could mean a happier holiday for all. After all, perhaps parents could take the money they saved in energy costs and invest in a family cruise – truly a win-win scenario.