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Illinois Country Living

Doug Rye, licensed architect and the popular host of the "Home Remedies" radio show

Energy Solutions

You Can do Something or Just Complain
Most complain about taxes, but tax credits help you do something

Before we start on this month’s topic let me say that last month’s column on Marathon water heaters generated a lot of calls. I told you to contact your local electric co-op. But if your co-op doesn’t have Marathon water heaters for sale, contact a local contractor who carries Rheem water heaters. Or go to, call 800-478-9434, or go to and type in your zip code to find a contractor near you. In addition to carrying the Marathon line, Rheem also has a new heat pump water heater.

I wish I had the power to command no more ice storms. But, of course, I don’t. I am aware that many of our readers have been affected by the ice storms. In fact, the “Ice Storm of 2009” was the worst that I have ever seen. When this happened, it just made me really aware of how much we depend on this wonderful product we call electricity.

Let me take this opportunity to say to every single person who worked so many hours to restore electric distribution systems that originally took many years to build — thank you, thank you, thank you.

This winter has been very cold, but fortunately the ice storms have not been as bad. As I write this column, I have just completed appearing at a home show in Kentucky. I am preparing to conduct an energy efficiency seminar at a community college in Tennessee tonight. I will then drive to south Arkansas for a seminar and then to Illinois for a seminar and radio show. I have had great difficulty in deciding how to write this article because there is so much that I wish to teach you. However, I am allowed only one page.

I went down this morning for breakfast in the motel lobby and asked if I could have a late checkout since my seminar was not until 5 p.m. at the college. The lady at the desk asked, “Are you the caulk man?” To which I answered, “Yes, I am the King of Caulk and Talk. How did you know?”

She said, “I received a brochure in the mail about the meeting from our power company and I plan to be there because my electric bills have really gone up this year.”

I told her that she has two choices: Do something about it or just keep complaining. I proceeded to give her a personal one-hour seminar and answer her questions. Before we had finished, several others in the area had joined the group.

Folks, every indication is that utility rates will continue to increase no matter where you live. And with a slow economy, utility bills will become a larger percentage of a family’s budget. You have two choices: Use less or use less. Some of you are thinking, “This man is a genius.” Others are thinking, “This man is a moron.” Probably, both of you are correct. I have spent my entire adult life teaching others how to use less by conservation and energy efficiency. Example: Turning off the light is conservation, but installing a compact fluorescent bulb is energy efficiency.

Now for the other great news: I am happy to announce that it is now more feasible to make energy improvements than ever before.

The Stimulus Bill signed by the president on Feb. 17, 2009, allows for impressive tax credits to help pay for energy improvements. Please understand I am not your tax advisor, but I suggest that you go to for details. Please note that these are tax credits, which may be worth far more than tax deductions. Please note that there are tax credits for windows, insulation, solar systems, wind systems, and the best news of all, geothermal heat pumps. You can now install the best heating and cooling system available and may qualify for a tax credit of 30 percent of the total cost on your tax return. My friends, this is huge.

More Information:

Doug Rye, the “Doctor of Energy Efficiency-the King of Caulk and Talk” can be heard on several different Illinois radio stations. Or you can go to his Web site at, e-mail him at, or call 888-Doug-Rye or 501-653-7931. You can also sign up for a free newsletter and order his “how to” videotapes.


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Association of Illinois Electric Cooperatives

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