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Tax credit heats up woodstove sales

Recent legislation could make your home toastier this fall and winter.

A modified tax credit signed into law in February by President Barack Obama allows those who purchase a more efficient wood or pellet stove up to a $1,500 reduction on a $5,000 purchase.

The credit reduces the tax on your total annual income but only applies until Dec. 31, 2010. The credit was $300 in 2008 and increased to 30 percent of the purchase price in 2009.

Energy-efficient windows, doors and insulation also are included in the credit.

"If you buy a stove, then you can use the rest toward something else to improve your home, too," said Mike DeRousie president of the Spa Shop in Port Angeles.

Stove installation infrastructure, such as piping, and labor are included in the credit.

Kay Alger, business manager for Everwarm Hearth & Home, said $5,000 would buy one of the high-end units, including all accessories and labor.

"Cost of a stove is usually correlated to how it is constructed," she said.

"But it is probable, the higher the cost, the more efficient it will be. If you get just a high-quality stove, it'd be covered."



Efficiency

Guidelines of the Internal Revenue Service; the Hearth, Patio and Barbecue Association and Pellet Fuels Institute state all wood and pellet stoves must burn at 75-percent efficiency or higher.

All manufacturers must provide efficiency level certificates for sellers to give to homeowners for their taxes.

Terry McCartney, owner of Everwarm, said the national standard for Environmental Protection Agency-approved stoves is 7.5 grams of particulates an hour released in the atmosphere compared to the 4.5 grams that Washington requires.

"Wood and pellet stoves have gotten a bad rap, but that was the old ones," he said.

"They are actually better than many electrics."

"Washington state has a higher standard because people here tend to be very 'green-minded' with their need to protect the environment," Alger said.

She said one of the business' most efficient wood stoves is rated at 1.9 grams an hour.

"The point of the program is to get older homes more efficient," Alger said.

New homes are not eligible for the credit as wood and pellet stoves in them are newer and already have above 75-

percent efficiency.



Take it home

Both Everwarm and the Spa Shop representatives said the tax credit has helped their sales.

Alger said about one-third of their customers come in knowing about the credit.

DeRousie said before the Clallam County Fair he had similar numbers but after it went to 75 percent.

"Our wood and stove sales have definitely gone up because of it," he said.

"We look at it as a good stimulus package."

McCartney encourages people to speak to an accountant about eligibility requirements before buying a stove.

More information on the tax credit can be found at www.hpba.org or by speaking to a local business.

Reach Matthew Nash at mnash@sequimgazette.com.

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