Coldwell Banker Burnet, Edina Regional Office
7550 France Ave. S.
Edina, MN

Rose Hart is licensed in MN

Home Energy Tax Credits
Tax Credits that run through 2010 include: Biomass stoves, heating, ventilating and air conditioning systems, furnaces and boilers, roofing, siding and windows, and solar and wind energy systems. The credits are typically 30% of the cost. Some, but not all, items have upper limits of $1500.

The Database of State Incentives for Renewables and Efficiency has the most comprehensive list of tax credits. Before applying, compare credits and rebates carefully.

District Energy in Saint Paul, MN, operates the largest hot water district heating system in North America. District Energy heats about 80 percent of the commercial, residential and industrial buildings in downtown Saint Paul and adjacent areas, including the State Capitol Complex and all downtown city offices. Its affiliate, District Cooling St. Paul, began providing cooling service in 1993 and today serves about 60 percent of downtown buildings. The plant is biomass fueled. More information.

NRG Energy Center Minneapolis (ECM) is the second largest third-party steam provider in the country. NRG also operates the Hennepin County Energy Center, commonly, "the Garbage Burner". Energy Center Minneapolis includes four steam and chilled water plants, a fifth leased system plant and more than six miles of steam and four miles of chilled water distribution piping, supplying 40,000 tons of chilling capacity and 1.1 million pounds per hour of heating capacity. More information

Rose Hart's OutSide

A puddle of water under the water heater means your plans for the day have just changed, unless you're getting married or having major surgery. In some places there is District Heating, hot water provided from a central co-generation plant, so named because it generates both electricity and heat. Co-generation leaves a smaller carbon footprint than on- site generation, with energy efficiencies of up to 90%. In Minnesota during the 1950's there were about 40 district steam systems, but today only a few remain.

Americans, for the most part, are on their own. A person with knowledge of proper installation and in possession of "tool- acuity" can replace their own water heater, but the majority of people will fix it with their phone, and call a plumber. As the plumber gives you the menu of heater replacement choices, keep in mind that the federal government is offering a rebate on energy efficient gas water heaters installed in your primary residence before December, 2010.

The credit is somewhat generous- 30% of the cost or $1500, whichever is greater. To sweeten the deal, the credit includes the installation costs. Here's the catch- the water heater Efficiency Factor (EF) must be greater than or equal to 0.82, or 90%. Electric water heaters and the most "affordable" gas heaters won't qualify for the credit- and not even all Energy-Star rated heaters qualify. Most manufacturers will have their credit- qualifying models listed on their web sites, so check this before you buy. Your installer can't apply for the rebate, but be sure you have the rebate form and get the necessary signatures from them. You can also get the forms online at

A 40 gallon tank has 28 gallons of actual "hot" water.

Water Heater DIY: A typical new water heater has peizoelectric ignition- there is no pilot light. If there's no hot water coming from your old pilot- ignition heater, that's the first thing to check. If the pilot won't light or stay lit, then likely it's a faulty thermocouple. This is a switch mechanism that turns the gas supply on and off. It may be just dirty or loose, but replace it if it's several years old. The anode rod is an often overlooked part of the water heater. It's a metal rod hanging down the middle of the tank and its purpose is to attract galvanic current and to spare the tank from corrosion by becoming corroded itself. However, after a few years it can become so corroded that it fails and disintegrates. The pieces can damage the inside of the tank when water is drawn and pieces churn around inside the tank. This will shorten the life of the tank considerably.

Water Heater Checklist: Drain sediment buildup; once every six months hook up a hose to the tank's drain valve and drain water until it runs clear. Sediment buildup will make "grumbling" noises in the tank. Check the anode; This should be checked every two years, every six months if you have softened water. Test the Temperature and Pressure (TP) relief valve once a year; replace it if no water comes out. Check that the exhaust flue is drawing; when the burner is on, test that smoke is pulled up the flue. City code doesn't permit flexible gas connections; if you have this type of connection, check it regularly for leaks.

Disclaimer: Provided as general information only and is not intended to be expert gas appliance advice. Consult an appliance professional if you have any doubts or questions! If you need to buy or sell a home, consult a real estate professional: Rose Hart, Realtor at 612-250-0119.

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