So, ok. We’ve been through the Cash for Clunkers program. Stay tuned for…
Cash For Caulkers
Or… leveraging economic stimulus funding for old house home owners.
I received the following from Adrian Fine who is a director at the Center for State and Local Policy at the National Trust. It would seem that historic home owners may be misinformed about ineligibility of storm windows for tax credit. Not surprisingly, it is usually a window replacement contractor who tells them this.
So here’s the deal….
Question: Do storm windows/doors qualify for the $1,500 tax credit.
Despite some confusion and misleading information, storm windows and doors do qualify for the tax credit. This chart from the U.S. Department of Energy, Environmental Protection Agency and Energy Star clearly lists storm windows/doors as eligible products for the tax credit.
Question: Are all storm windows/doors eligible?
As stated earlier, the 2009/2010 provisions established a higher standard than in 2007 and all eligible storm windows/doors (purchased from June 1, 2009 to December 31, 2010) must have a U-value of 0.30 or lower and solar heat gain coefficient of 0.30 or lower. Here’s where the main problem lies regarding questions on eligibility. While it is common for new windows to offer specific qualifications regarding performance, it is a difficult to assess for storm windows/doors. Measuring the U-value and solar heat gain of storm windows/doors depends on the performance of the existing window in combination with a storm window, which will always be a case-by-case basis. This can only be tested after storm windows/doors are installed and will vary greatly from building to building.
While some storm window/door manufacturers are marketing their products in conjunction with the tax credit, others are not because the performance standard is difficult to substantiate for all cases. Some are listing classes of exterior windows (single pane, clear glass, double pane, low-E coating, etc.) that a product may be combined with to be eligible in specific climate zones (for a map, go to http://resourcecenter.pnl.gov/cocoon/morf/ResourceCenter/dbimages/full/973.jpg).
Question: What do I need to claim the tax credit?
Answer: Manufacturer’s Certification Statement
A Manufacturer’s Certification Statement is a signed statement from the manufacturer certifying that the product or component qualifies for the tax credit. Taxpayers must keep a copy of the certification statement for their records, but do not have to submit a copy with their tax return. Some manufacturers are providing these Certificates on their website. Other manufacturers are not, taking a more conservation approach and not issuing these certificates since it’s difficult to substantiate on a case-by-case basis. Though there are others, two storm window/door manufacturers that do provide certificates are Gorell (http://www.gorell.com/pages/energy_tax_incentive_act.htm) and Kaufmann (http://www.kaufmannwindow.com/2009energytaxcredit.htm).
As always, please check with your tax advisor for advice.
**Also, for more information on the stimulus funding, and constantly-expanding case studies, check out the Perfect Storm webpage(s) on PreservationNation
For more information visit the National Trust website > The Perfect Storm
Or contact Adrian directly at: Adrian_Fine@nthp.org
“Nobody makes that anymore.”
“Nobody does that anymore.”
While it may not be at the local mass market “big box” store, very often it IS available and with numerable options. It’s frequently more a matter of knowing where to look or who to ask.
I’ve a couple personal favorites:
- - The Old House Journal Restoration Product Directory — once upon a time only available via their print catalog. You can now reference this online. If you’ve an old house you need to know about this resoure.
- - Clem Labine’s Traditional Building — He was the original creator of the OHJ. Personal note… I actually have copies of his early “magazine” from when it was still in a black and white, stapled and hole-punched form.
Recently there were two different inquiries on where to find capitals for some porch columns. These are generally available locally but with limited options mostly fitting a few standardized dimensions. Tapping either source above would likely overwhelm with the available options… including many with prices comparable. To that you factor repair relative to replacement in terms of price, quality of replacement and what’s being sent to the land fill.
For example, we recently purchased a mortised lock set for a screen door from Van Dyke’s. The type of item not found in a “big box”. When done our 80 year old screen doors will be good for many more decades. Wonder what the life expectancy is and various costs are on a “green” replacement screen door.
The above links and more on the evolving Beloit NPA Links page.
Our last meeting on “Historic Home Owners Tax Credits” was very interesting and well attended. Joe DeRose from the Wisconsin State Historic Preservation Office clarified a lot of questions for us about how the program works and how best to take advantage of it. It would seem to be a largely forgotten or otherwise not taken advantage of here in Beloit. There have been no applications submitted in years from Beloit. We’re fortunate in that not all states have this benefit available to home owners.
This Old House recently announced their “Best Places To Buy An Old House In America“. Unfortunately we didn’t make the cut. Reviewing the winners, it was interesting that several neighborhoods cited availability of their states tax credit program among the benefits of living there.
By way of overview…
- - It is a 25% Wisconsin state income tax “credit”. Not federal tax, not property tax, not a “deduction”.
- - For example, you spend $10K combined on one or more projects, you get credited back $2,500. If you cannot use the full credit in a given year, you can carry the unused credit into the following years until you use it up.
- - There is a $10K minimum investment. This can however be spread over multiple projects and up to five years. Additionally, you’re not limited to one application. if have ambitious plans and want begin using taking the credits prior to all the projects being completed you can break it up into multiple applications, so long as these still equal >$10K each.
- - If you live within one of Beloit’s historic districts or individually listed homes you’re eligible to apply. If you do not you may still be eligible to apply.
- - There are specifics on what sorts of projects are approved and strings attached are mostly with regard to meeting “secretary of the interior standards for rehabilitation”.
- - Your project(s) need to be approved before any work is begun otherwise your application is void.
Important. You’ll need to confirm the above and your understanding. The above is to the best of my understanding.
Additionally, if you’ve questions you may contact Joe DeRose at Joe.DeRose@wisconsinhistory.org You can also contact Joe for some guidance prior to going through the application.
Personally, I wish we had applied when we moved in years ago. I suspect we could have received credit for many of the things we’ve already payed for. We’re in the process of doing so now though. Perhaps I’ll record how it goes for us here.
Just saw some great videos produced by the Kansas SHPO (State Historic Preservation Offices).
For decades, consumers have been led to believe that replacing their old wood windows with new vinyl, metal or clad windows will improve their home. Replacement windows have been marketed as energy efficient, and therefore environmentally friendly, and economical, by saving the homeowner money over the lifespan of the window. In reality, properly repaired wood windows can be equally energy efficient, are more environmentally friendly, are a better financial investment, and preserve one of the most important character-defining features of a historic home.
Wood Window Introduction:
Anatomy of a Window:
Sash Cord Repair:
Heat rises. Most heat loss is through the roof, not the windows. Remaining heat loss from windows is largely due to drafty windows that can be repaired, NOT from radiation from the glass as those selling it would have us believe. Yes, insulated glass radiates less heat loss but at what cost? What’s the incremental savings from heat radiation? Not much. Old house homeowners are spending a dollar to save a dime. They’re buying into an immense and unified marketing message from manufacturers, retailer and installers… Why repair your windows when you can buy what we’re selling? They’re being snookered.
For professionals interested in learning this skill or homeowners interested in do-it-yourself there is training available.
Belvedere School – Window Restoration College
For those who’d rather hire a professional who knows how to repair old windows…
Watch this space. I’ve got some leads I’m chasing down. I’ll also be updating this to our Old House Services page.
Window Restoration Contractors:
Mulligan Restoration Inc.
128 W. River St.
Rockton, IL. 61072
Phone and fax (815)964-4210
For many smaller projects, it is more cost effective to use a local contractor. The skills to restore windows that need basic maintenance (painting and weather stripping) are not that difficult for a trained carpenter. However, if the sash are seriously deteriorated and need epoxy repairs and custom replacement parts, it is better to use a specialist.
Window Repair Resources:
This is a very well illustrated and well written guide to essential window repairs.
Save Your Wood Windows by John Leek
Preservation Brief 9: “The Repair of Historic Wooden Windows” by the National Park Service:
Lead Paint Safety:
Virtually all old wood windows have lead paint. It is not necessary or required to have a lead abatement contractor do this work unless your project has federal funding from the Dept. of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). The following downloadable publication (Lead Paint Safety: A Field Guide for Painting, Maintenance and Home Renovation) covers most of the practical methods of doing renovation work and working lead-safe:
~ Illinois Historic Preservation Agency
You can tell where my heads been of late. Saw this…
There are tradesmen who are sensitive to and knowledgeable of period sensitive repair techniques for quality old houses rather then simple rip-n-replace. And believe it or not it can save you money too. A guy down at Renaissance Restoration Inc (Galena IL & Davenport IA) talks about ‘flexible’ wood epoxy from Advanced Repair Technology for window repair.
From John Leeke’s website Historic Home Works.
This method has significant advantages over mechanical scraping and shaving, chemical stripping and the dry-heat of torch, hot-air gun and infra-red lamp methods:
- Significantly reduces the risk of starting a building fire compared to dry heat methods.
- Helps control the lead-health risk issue because it is an inherently damp process and eliminates the lead-fume risk.
- No fumes from heat decomposition of binders in the old paint as with dry heat methods.
- Relatively low setup cost compared to dry heat and shaver methods.
- Lower operating and supply costs than chemical paint removal.
- Lower residue disposal costs than chemical paint removal.
I’d not seen steam used for paint removal before. This looks like a great option. Looks somewhat slower but being able to do this without the fumes and lead risk… that’s a good trade-off IMO.
Perhaps another idea for a workshop / demonstration? A trial of each of the wood stripping methods with discussion of trade-offs.
- Nasty but fast caustic chemical stripper
- Safer but slower chemical strippers
- Paint scrapers & power shavers
- Heat Guns / plates
- Infrared heat lamp
- Steam heat
Wood rot is a far bigger problem nowadays then it was in years past. That’s primarily because today’s fast-growth lumber is much less forgiving of sloppy construction or deferred maintenance then the hardy, old growth species our ancestors built their homes with. On the bright side, however, technology has improved as resources have declined. High-strength-epoxy wood repair systems used in combination with borate-based wood preservatives make it possible to not only repair rot damaged wood but practically guarantee that the rot won’t return.
You don’t have to rip out and replace with undersized and often inferior materials. This is homeowner do-able, could SAVE YOU A LOT OF MONEY and leave you with better results. The full how-to article here.
Don’t assume or be talked into the only solution being rip-n-replace. You can end up with a more expensive and inferior result that leaves a more difficult/costly or impossible to reverse degrading of a fine vintage home.
Regardless of whether you’re a weekend warrior home owner or contract out to professionals, the more you know, particularly around what your options are, the more satisfied you’ll be with the results. Inform yourself.
Perhaps NPA could hold a how-to demonstration or hands-on workshop for this very common old-house problem. Spring is coming up fast. What are the old house projects you could use some insight, coaching or courage building for? Let us know by submitting your idea below.
At the Belvedere School (Training Artisans in the Historic Preservation Trades) in Hannibal MO.
- Wood Floor Repair & Restoration
- Making Wooden Storm Windows
- Window Restoration College
- Making Architectural Woodwork
- Replicating Missing Historic Porches
The classes are -very- reasonably priced and expertly taught.
I’ve subscribed to the Old House Journal for many years. I’ve saved issues from when it was owned by Clem Labine and had hole punches along the spine for 3-ring binders. I’m a big fan. Anyway, if you’re not aware you should check out MyOldHouseJournal.com It’s a great resource and online community for lovers of old houses.