4 of 10
BACKNEXT
Insulation
This is the place to start, says Karen Schneider, a spokeswoman for Energy Star. Along with sealing up leaks, insulation should be the first upgrade a homeowner considers. "Sometimes people buy highly rated energy-efficient windows and they complain about drafts. But it's not the window; it's the insulation. Especially if you live in an old house," says Schneider. "Insulation deteriorates over time. If your house is 50 years old and hasn't had anything done, you can bet you need insulation."

Insulation requirements vary by region but must meet 2009 standards set by the International Energy Conservation Code. The insulation must have a five-year life span or two-year warranty. Insulated siding does not qualify. Labor is not included, and the tax credit is capped at $1,500.

NEXT: Roofing

Last updated May 07 2009: 12:57 PM ET
More Galleries
6 products to keep the skies friendly Plane travel can be stressful, especially during the holidays. These things can help keep the peace among travelers. More
2014: Helluva good year for stocks The bull market has been going for 2,115 days. If you put you're money in stocks, it's been a very happy year. More
7 up-and-coming foodie destinations These seven cities are seeing a growing interest in local food boost the economy -- and produce some seriously tasty eats. More

Special Offer

Most stock quote data provided by BATS. Market indices are shown in real time, except for the DJIA, which is delayed by two minutes. All times are ET. Disclaimer.

Morningstar: © 2014 Morningstar, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Factset: FactSet Research Systems Inc. 2014. All rights reserved.

Chicago Mercantile Association: Certain market data is the property of Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc. and its licensors. All rights reserved.

Dow Jones: The Dow Jones branded indices are proprietary to and are calculated, distributed and marketed by DJI Opco, a subsidiary of S&P Dow Jones Indices LLC and have been licensed for use to S&P Opco, LLC and CNN. Standard & Poor's and S&P are registered trademarks of Standard & Poor’s Financial Services LLC and Dow Jones is a registered trademark of Dow Jones Trademark Holdings LLC. All content of the Dow Jones branded indices © S&P Dow Jones Indices LLC 2014 and/or its affiliates.