The House passed the “Cash for Caulkers” legislation earlier this year and (maybe? hopefully? probably?) the Senate will soon follow suit.
The legislation provides incentives for energy efficiency improvements by rebating to homeowners some $6 billion dollars for window retrofits, water heater upgrades, and insulation installations, among other things.
I don’t want to go into a ton of detail about all the specifics because Houston Neal over at Software Advice has already written a truly excellent summary of the rebates and benefits that may be available to you.
Perhaps the most important thing to do now, considering the legislation still needs to pass the Senate, is to get a feel for what retrofits you may be interested in. If you’ve got single-paned, metal-framed windows, you may want to consider a window retrofit. If you’re still using an oil-powered water heater, that’s an excellent upgrade option. Hold a stick of burning incense up to your windows and walls, and watch where the smoke ends up – if it seems to escape through cracks in the window frame, around doors, or wherever, those are quick and relatively cheap fixes to improve your heating or AC bill.
There are also innumerable home energy consultants who will come to your home and do a complete energy audit. They come equipped with blower doors and thermal heat guns to perform slightly higher-tech tests than you can do with a stick of incense, and may be worth the cost, especially if you have an older home.