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2023-01-26T10:52:12-05:00
How Do Home Improvements Impact Your Taxes?
Newly renovated home office
Erin Little

If youíve recently made updates to your house, you may be wondering if youíre eligible for a tax break. Depending on the type of changes or renovations youíve implemented, you might get a little extra help from the government on your home upgrade.†

How will the home improvements I made on my home affect my tax situation? This question may cross your mind as you prepare for tax season. Or perhaps it was something you had thought about even before starting plans to make over parts of your house. The answer to this question isnít straightforward and will vary according to each homeowner. But here, we will provide some insight into this subject so that you can prepare for tax season proactively.

Repairs vs. Improvements

Before you gather receipts of recent updates youíve made to your home, you must determine whether youíve done a repair or an improvement. Repairs are typically fixes that you make to restore an item to its original state. For instance, if your pipe isnít working well and you patch it up, this is a repair. Additionally, if your windowpane is broken and you replace it, this is merely a repair.

On the other hand, improvements are changes that are undertaken with the goal of adding value to your home. For instance, renovating an unfinished attic space or remodeling a kitchen is considered making an improvement to a home.

Why is it important to know the difference? Because if you are seeking tax deductions, repairs arenít deductible, but improvements are. Therefore, before making changes to your home, it is a good idea to know if your change qualifies as an improvement for tax purposes.

Tax Deductions vs. Tax Credits

As you are preparing to file your taxes this year, another important distinction youíll need to keep in mind is the difference between tax deductions and tax credits. Although some people use these terms interchangeably, a tax deduction and a tax credit arenít the same. According to the IRS, here is the difference.

  • Deductions reduce your income before calculating the taxes you owe
  • Credits reduce the tax you owe and may give you a refund, even if you donít owe taxes

Tax Deductions When You Sell Your Home

You may be wondering if you can ever get any money back on the major upgrades that youíve made to your home. The answer is yes, but the deduction canít be taken until you decide to sell your home and successfully do so. Keeping great records of all the improvements youíve made to your home over the years will allow you to reduce your taxable capital gains.

Energy-Efficient Upgrades

Thanks to the 2022 Inflation Reduction Act, if you decide to make changes to your home to improve its energy efficiency, chances are you will qualify for tax credits (which work differently than a deduction) within the next tax year. For instance, the federal government offers a federal solar tax credit for those who want to switch from traditional electricity to solar energy. For homeowners who arenít interested in installing solar panels and using solar energy, there are other incentives available for swapping in Energy Star-qualified windows and exterior doors, HVACs, geothermal heat pumps, and more. The IRS website covers these energy incentives in more detail.

Home Improvements for Medical Care

Another tax deduction you may qualify for could be home improvements you make for medical reasons. If you are suffering from a long-term illness or have a disability that requires you to modify your home to get around without trouble, you could qualify. Home improvements for medical purposes are tax deductible once they exceed 7.5 percent of your adjusted gross income.

Keep in mind that these types of amendments must not improve the value of your home to be fully deductible. In other words, things like installing ramps, altering cabinet heights, adding railings, or modifying doorways and stairways are improvements you may need to make a home more accessible out of medical necessity so they can be deducted during tax season. But any change that is purely aesthetic or structural does not qualify. You can also claim this deduction if you have a spouse or dependent who is aging or has a disease that makes it difficult for them to walk or perform regular movements.

Home Office Upgrades

Another way you can get a tax deduction for improvements you make to your home is if you use a portion of the house to operate a legitimate business. If you decide to improve your office or workspace, you can deduct 100 percent of the costs.

If you run a business from your home and make a whole-house improvement that is not normally tax deductible, you can claim part of that improvement in your home office depreciable expense. For instance, you can deduct six percent if you make home improvements such as HVAC or roof replacement to a 3,000-square-foot home, and 500 square feet is dedicated office space.

FAQs

What are some other things to keep in mind when it comes to taxes and home improvements? Here are some answers to frequently asked questions.

Is It a Good Idea to Save My Receipts for Improvements Iíve Made?

Yes, itís smart to save all receipts as you upgrade your house over the years. When you sell the house, you may be able to recuperate some of this during the upcoming tax season. But you must have proof to be able to save on your remodel. Since some receipts can fade over time, it is also a good idea to digitally scan or photocopy these items and store them in a fire- and water-proof safe.

If I Receive Rental Income, Are There Any Tax Deductions?

Yes. Some tax deductions are available if you are receiving rental income from properties you are renting. Some items that may count are depreciation on the rental, property taxes, insurance on the rental, and some utilities. Since rental income can be classified as self-employment, you can also take deductions. For more information about this issue, visit the IRS website.

Can I Get Tax Deductions If I Am a House Flipper?

Not all house-flipping expenses are tax deductible, and just like any homeowner, you will have to wait until you sell to recuperate any money. Since house flipping can be a home business, there are some deductions you can take based on being self-employed. Some other items you can deduct include taxes, interests, closing costs, sales commission, renovation costs, and mileage on your car related to flipping the house.



2023-01-26T10:49:23-05:00
HVAC Air Balancing: What You Should Know
Floor air vent that matches the color of the floor.
Nat Rea

If youíre struggling with maintainingóor even attainingóa consistent temperature throughout your house, your HVAC system may be out of balance. This guide will explain the basics of air balancing, including how DIYers can tackle the job and when they should call a professional to sort out their homeís heating and air conditioning system.

Some homeowners know the struggle of trying to achieve home temperature homeostasis, which is a made-up term to perfectly describe the whole home being the same temperature. When the system isnít running correctly, itís common to have that one room that never seems to warm up or the upstairs getting uncomfortably hot every time the first floor reaches the ideal temperature. For folks with forced hot air and central AC systems, thereís a good chance that they have air balancing problems.

But what is air balancing, and how does it work? This guide will explain all the basics. Keep reading to learn more.

What is Air Balancing?

Air balancing is fine-tuning a homeís forced hot air or air conditioning system to distribute conditioned air evenly. Air balancing involves dialing in each duct or vent in the house so that the entire home reaches the same temperature simultaneously. Techs and DIYers will close the vents or dampers heading to some rooms while opening some in other rooms.

Installers air-balance HVAC systems when they install them, jockeying the amount of airflow going to each room until the temperatures are consistent in the space. However, a system can fall out of balance. This can happen for many reasons:

  • Someone may have tweaked the dampers or vents
  • An addition project may make a room or wing of the home larger
  • Interior walls installed after construction may block airflow
  • Insulation may be damaged in certain areas of the home
  • More efficient windows and doors could change airflow needs

Even the addition or removal of furniture can change how much airflow a room needs and how quickly it heats up. If any of these conditions exist, some rooms may feel warmer or colder sooner than others. Some rooms may not reach their ideal temperatures at all.

How To Tell if Your System is Out of Balance

Itís fairly easy to tell if an HVAC system is out of balance. Generally speaking, significant temperature changes from room to room or floor to floor would indicate that these spaces are receiving inappropriate amounts of conditioned air. Some spaces might be receiving too much airflow and preventing the other rooms from getting enough. Conversely, some rooms may have closed dampers, forcing the air to escape the system in another room.

Some indicators that you may need to have an HVAC system air-balanced include:

  • Temperature changes of more than 2 or 3 degrees from room to room or floor to floor
  • Inefficient use of the HVAC system leads to higher energy bills (for example, having to crank the living room thermostat just to warm the bedroom slightly)
  • Vents that donít receive airflow despite having open dampers
  • Vents that seem to get too much airflow or make a slight whistling sound when partially closed

If these conditions exist, the system is probably out of balance.

How to DIY Air Balancing

While the causes and conditions of an out-of-balance system are various, most DIYers can improve the comfort of their home on their own. All they need is a bit of information and patience.

Air Balancing Fixtures

First, there are two mechanisms that can help a DIYer balance airflow: dampers and vents. Theyíre both adjustable but itís helpful to know the difference.

  • Dampers are valve-like fixtures installed in the branches of an HVAC system. They have handles that protrude out of the ductwork, allowing users to adjust how open or closed they are. When the handle is parallel to the duct, the damper is wide open. When the damper is perpendicular to the duct, itís closed. They can also be adjusted anywhere in the middle for optimal airflow.
  • Vents are installed at the end of the HVAC branches, usually fixed to walls or floors. They have adjustable louvers built in, and users can adjust them with the knob or handle on the unit. In most cases, the knob or handle pushed in one direction will open the louvers all the way, while the other direction closes them. The settings in the middle will dial the airflow in.

Note: Some vents do not have louvers. These are usually return vents, which pull the air from the room and cycle it back through the HVAC system, heating or cooling it again before pumping it back into the home. If there is air coming out of a louver-less vent, homeowners should consider replacing the vent with a louvered model.

How To Adjust Airflow

A DIYer might not be able to get their home perfectly in tune, but they can certainly improve the comfort level of their home. Part of this is essentially acting as an HVAC Goldilocks, moving from room to room until everything feels just right.

1. Locate the furnace or air conditioner and track the ductwork system. Take note of any dampers along the way, as well as the direction of the ducts. The first vents on the system are typically the ones with the most airflow, while those on the end of the system may be starving for airflow.

2. Activate the unitís fan by switching it to the on position at the thermostat. Walk from room to room, first writing down the number of vents in the room, then noting the airflow at each vent. Write down what the airflow feels like, using the labels high, medium, and low. For simplicityís sake, letís consider medium airflow to be ideal.

Tip: For a more objective way to judge airflow: Place a piece of paper over the vent, holding the paperís top edge on the top of the vent and letting the bottom of the paper float. Take note of how far the paper blows from the wall. This isnít an exact science, but itís a helpful gauge.

3. Open the dampers or louvers in rooms with lower airflow first. Some of these vents may have been closed, and this alone could bring the system closer to balance. Next, investigate the other rooms and assess their airflow.

4. Check the vents in rooms that originally had medium airflow. More than likely, their airflow will feel like it dropped quite a bit. Open the dampers or louvers in these rooms slightly until they receive medium airflow, similar to the rooms youíve already adjusted. Check all the vents again to get an idea of their progress.

5. The vents that originally were receiving high airflow will probably feel much more reasonable now. However, if theyíre still receiving too much air, dial back their louvers or dampers a bit. This will divert airflow to the vents youíve already adjusted, balancing the system.

6. Set the HVAC system back to the normal setting and allow it to heat or cool the home over the next few days. Take note of the comfort level throughout the home during the day and at night and adjust the vents as necessary.

Note: This is a helpful way to bring a home closer to balance, but itís not perfect. Large rooms require a higher volume of airflow than small rooms, so dialing them back to roughly the same CFM (cubic feet per minute, which weíve indicated with our paper airflow test) will mean that these two rooms arenít receiving the correct amount of airflow for their size. This means that youíll need to have a little patience as you make some necessary adjustments over the course of several weeks.

When You Should Call a Pro for Air Balancing

Most DIYers can improve the comfort of their home with some simple adjustments to the vents and dampers. However, in cases where those adjustments donít make a difference or provide consistent results, it may be time to call a professional.

When a professional HVAC technician air balances a system, they take specific measurements at each vent to diagnose potential issues. Theyíll also look at the unitís fan speed, dampers, and even ductwork size. For instance, large rooms may require more air volume, which could mean installing a larger vent and new, larger ductwork. Rooms on the end of the line may require more air pressure for conditioned air to reach them, resulting in smaller ductwork.

Generally speaking, HVAC companies will charge around $100 per opening or vent. This can get pricey quickly, but the result will be an air-balanced system that distributes the right amount of air to each room for a consistent temperature throughout the home.



2023-01-24T11:08:36-05:00
8 Best Cooling Sheets in 2023
Best Cooling Sheets 2023
Courtesy of Parachute and Cozy Earth

Is overheating keeping you up at night? It might be time to consider getting some new sheets, and more specifically, adding some cooling sheets to your sleep space. Crafted with breathable materials and with weaves that encourage more airflow, cooling sheets can make a huge difference in your body temperature while you rest.

Itís fairly common for people to have difficulty sleeping (nearly one-third of adults arenít sleeping enough!), but some of the causes may have simple solutions. Overheating at night and experiencing night sweats can be incredibly uncomfortable, and cause sleepers to receive less-than-adequate rest because of this discomfort. Cooling bed sheets offer an easy way to keep your body at a comfortable temperature throughout the night due to their unique materials and breathable weaves that allow for more air to circulate through the bedding.

Weíve rounded up the best cooling sheets in a variety of fabrics and feels to ensure thereís something for everyone. Keep reading to discover the best cooling sheets for your needs and start sleeping cooler and more comfortably.

By clicking on the product links in this article, Mattress Advisor may receive a commission fee at no cost to you, the reader.

Best Cooling Sheets - Our Top Picks

Best Overall Cooling Sheets - Puffy Sheets

  • Material: Bamboo viscose
  • Sizes Available: Twin, twin XL, full, queen, king, California king
  • Colors Available: White, gray
  • Set Includes: Fitted sheet, flat sheet, 2 pillowcases

Soft and silky smooth bamboo viscose gives the Puffy Sheets their distinctive cool-to-the-touch feel, which is useful for keeping hot sleepers comfortable at night. The Puffy Sheets boast deep pockets Ė suitable for mattresses up to 15 inches tall Ė which ensures they stay on securely all night, even if you toss and turn. The sateen weave on these sheets is tight and silky, giving the sheets a super soft feel that wonít cling to you while you rest. Bamboo is naturally breathable and moisture-wicking, helping to prevent waking up feeling hot and sweaty. Customers have 101 nights to test out the sheets to ensure theyíre a good fit; if they arenít, users can send them back for a refund.

Best Organic Cooling Sheets - Saatva Organic Sateen Sheets

  • Material: Cotton
  • Sizes Available: Twin, twin XL, full, queen, king, California king, split king
  • Colors Available: White, gray, ivory
  • Set Includes: Fitted sheet, flat sheet, 2 pillowcases (2 twin XL fitted sheets for split king)

The Saatva Organic Sateen Sheets offer the best of both worlds: Smooth and sturdy sateen weave with a light and airy feel, giving sleepers both breathability and the silky softness that comes with sateen weave sheets. These sheets are a great option for those who love the crisp feel of cotton, the smoothness of sateen weave sheets and still want a bit of breathability to help reduce and prevent overheating at night. Deep pockets on the corners allow the sheets to fit taller mattresses (up to 16 inches in height!) without loosening or coming off. Saatva uses organic, long-staple cotton to create these sheets, which means the sheets are less likely to pill and will retain their quality for longer.

Softest Cooling Sheets - Purple SoftStretch Sheets

Purple SoftStretch Sheets Courtesy Purple
  • Material: Bamboo viscose, polyester, spandex
  • Sizes Available: Twin, twin XL, full, queen, king, California king, split king
  • Colors Available: White, gray, lilac, oat, deep purple, morning mist (light blue)
  • Set Includes: Fitted sheet, flat sheet, 2 pillowcases (2 twin XL fitted sheets for split king)

Made with a combination of bamboo viscose rayon, polyester, and spandex, the Purple SoftStretch Sheets are true to their name, and are both supremely stretchy (for sheets, anyway) and very soft. The bamboo-based material offers some moisture-wicking properties, which helps sleepers stay cool and remain sweat-free at night.

These sheets stretch out on the bed for a wrinkle-free look, though they do tend to cling to sleepers a bit, which can be either cozy or a bit claustrophobic, depending on your preferences. A super strong elastic band around the fitted sheet helps it stay put through all your nightly tossings and turnings. The sheets are a bit heavier than other options, but donít fret! They still keep sleepersí body temperature neutral and work to prevent overheating. If you prefer the look of a matte sheet (versus a shiny or sleek one), these are a great fit.

Best Percale Cooling Sheets - Boll & Branch Percale Hemmed Sheet Set

Boll & Branch Percale Hemmed Sheet Set Courtesy Boll & Branch
  • Material: Organic cotton
  • Sizes Available: Twin/twin XL, full, queen, king, California king, split king
  • Colors Available: White, natural, pewter, stone (dark gray), shore (light blue), mineral (navy)
  • Set Includes: Fitted sheet, flat sheet, 2 pillowcases (2 twin XL fitted sheets for split king)

Percale weave means the strands (made of organic, long-staple cotton, in this case) are one-over-one-under, resulting in a sheet thatís breathable and crisp. The Boll and Branch Percale Hemmed Sheet Set is no exception: This set of sheets is lightweight, structured, and feels remarkably crispy, like a starched collared shirt. The percale weave promotes plenty of airflow for hot sleepers.

The long hems (seven inches on the pillowcases and flat sheet) give these sheets a distinct look, plus ensure the cases fit most pillows well. Deep pockets (17 inches) mean these sheets can fit super tall mattresses without coming off. Lovers of crisp sheets, these are the perfect fit. For those who prefer something softer, we recommend a different option from this list.

Best Bamboo Cooling Sheets - Cozy Earth Bamboo Sheets

Cozy Earth Bamboo Sheets Courtesy Cozy Earth
  • Material: Bamboo viscose
  • Sizes Available: Twin/twin XL, full, queen, king, California king, split king
  • Colors Available: White, light gray, oat, charcoal, driftwood, navy, olive
  • Set Includes: Fitted sheet, flat sheet, 2 pillowcases (2 twin XL fitted sheets for split king)

Bamboo is a great fabric for sheets because itís airy, light, breathable, and naturally hypoallergenic and moisture-wicking; basically, every hot sleeperís dream for a great nightís sleep! Our pick for the best bamboo sheets is the set from Cozy Earth, which uses natural fibers to create their super soft sheets.

The Cozy Earth Bamboo Sheet Set is crafted from 100% bamboo microfiber (created by transforming pulp from bamboo trees into fabric material) in a sateen weave. The end result is high-performance sheets that are ultra-soft and supremely lightweight. These luxury sheets have incredibly deep 20-inch pockets, which is great for those with taller mattresses or beds that have mattress toppers on them, but might mean thereís a bit of loose material if you put them on a thinner mattress.

Best Eucalyptus Cooling Sheets - Buffy Breeze Sheet Set

  • Material: Eucalyptus lyocell
  • Sizes Available: Twin, twin XL, full, queen, king, California king
  • Colors Available: White, cream, blush, light gray, dark gray, light blue, dark blue, blush stripe, gray stripe, blue stripe
  • Set Includes: Fitted sheet, flat sheet, 2 pillowcases

Youíve heard of bamboo sheets, but have you heard of eucalyptus sheets? The Buffy Breeze Sheet Set is made of TENCEL eucalyptus lyocell, an eco-friendly material thatís not only superbly soft and breathable but also requires significantly less water than cotton (10 times less, to be exact). The TENCEL lyocell fabric is made of eucalyptus fibers that come from renewable trees and is a great pick for any hot sleeper out there who just canít seem to cool down at night.

To sweeten the deal, these TENCEL sheets come at a great price point. Buffy only uses natural dyes from sources like turmeric, pomegranates, gardenia, bark, and rose petals, which does mean the color selection is a bit muted, but you can rest easy knowing these sheets are crafted using natural materials from start to finish.

Best Linen Cooling Sheets - Parachute Linen Sheets

Parachute Linen Sheets Courtesy Parachute
  • Material: European flax fibers
  • Sizes Available: Twin, twin XL, full, queen, king, California king
  • Colors Available: White, bone, fog, clay, terra, dusk, coal, moss, cream, slate blue
  • Set Includes: Fitted sheet, 2 pillowcases (flat sheet available for additional cost)

Linen sheets are a great pick for summer months, and for hot sleepers year-round. With a looser weave than most other sheets, excellent breathability due to the hollow European flax fibers, and high-quality design, the Parachute Linen Sheets give sleepers the airy and comfortable sleep they crave, night after night. Parachute Linen sheets come in a decent variety of colors, so those who prefer something a little more interesting than traditional white or gray can select something a little brighter, like the red-hued clay or terra colors, calming green moss, or one of the blues. One slight drawback (or benefit, if youíre not into top sheets) is the additional cost of a flat sheet, which doesnít automatically come included in the sheet set.

Best Cotton Cooling Sheets - Nest Bedding Organic Sheet Set

  • Material: Organic cotton
  • Sizes Available: Twin, twin XL, full, queen, king, California king
  • Colors Available: Moss, slate, white, pewter, terracotta
  • Set Includes: Fitted sheet, flat sheet, 4 pillowcases

Cotton bed sheets are a popular choice for many sleepers: Theyíre durable, fairly lightweight and breathable, and feel soft on your skin. Rather than choosing any old cotton sheets from Amazon, we suggest you do yourself a favor and try out a higher quality option, such as the Nest Bedding Organic Sheet Set. Made from 100% organic, GOTS-certified cotton with a sateen weave, these are some of the best cotton sheets for hot sleepers.

The sheets have a high thread count and are more wrinkle-resistant than other cotton sheet sets. This cooling sheet set gets softer with every wash, and wonít cling to your body when you shift around on the mattress. One thing we really like about the Nest Bedding Organic Sheet Set is that it comes with four pillowcases when you buy a queen or king-size set, which is perfect for sleepers who prefer to have a few extra pillows on their bed while they rest, or for those who have special cooling pillows in addition to their normal bed pillows.

How to Pick the Right Cooling Sheets

Choosing the right sheets can make a world of difference when it comes to temperature regulation during sleep; even if you have a cooling mattress, the wrong sheets can still prevent you from getting the quality sleep you need. When shopping for the best cooling bed sheets, you want to take a few things into account, which weíve outlined below.

Material: Cooling sheets come in different materials; on this list alone you can find sheets made with bamboo, eucalyptus, cotton, linen, and a combination of fabrics! The easiest way to ensure you like the sheets you pick out is to consider beforehand what material appeals to you. If you own a set of 300-thread-count Egyptian cotton sheets that you absolutely adore, youíll probably want to stick to one of the cooling cotton sheet options on this list. If you want something super soft and lightweight, bamboo or eucalyptus sheets might be a good choice for you. Those who love the feel of crisp sheets will likely love the linen sheet set.

Sizes Available: When looking for cooling sheets, you likely wonít need to be concerned about the size of the sheets (assuming youíre sleeping on a traditional queen-size or king-size bed) unless youíre looking for a specific size, like sheets for a split king, short queen, or something similarly uncommon. If this is the case, be sure you double-check the sizes available (weíve listed the sizes the sheets come in under each different sheet set on this list to make it easier!) to ensure you get the right fit.

What Each Set Includes: For the most part, each set of sheets comes with a flat sheet (also known as a top sheet), a fitted sheet, and two pillowcases. There are, of course, some exceptions. Some sheet sets (such as the Parachute Linen sheets) come only with pillowcases and a fitted sheet, with the top sheet available for an additional charge. Others, like the Nest Bedding Organic sheets, come with four pillowcases instead of two. Weíve listed out what each sheet set includes, so be sure to double-check before buying!

FAQ About the Best Cooling Sheets

Do cooling sheets actually do anything?

Yes! Cooling sheets can make a tremendous difference in keeping your body temperature regulated at night and preventing overheating and night sweats. The material, thickness, and weave of the sheets all play a part in their ability to keep sleepers cool and comfortable.

What is the ideal thread count for staying cool?

Typically, a thread count between 250 and 300 is ideal for keeping cool at night. This allows the sheets to have some breathability and airflow while still remaining high quality and durable, so theyíll hold up for years of use.

I deal with night sweats. What material should I sleep in?

If you not only get hot at night but also suffer from frequent night sweats, a moisture-wicking material might be the best option for you when it comes to bed sheets. Fabrics with eucalyptus and bamboo tend to be great at reducing sweating and working to wick away moisture.

Best Cooling Sheets - Our Top Picks









SJ Fisher Construction, Inc., 70 Florence Drive, Excelsior, MN 55331
(612) 221-5509 - Email: stevelynnefisher@msn.com
Joey Fisher (952) 990-3932


SJ Fisher Construction, Inc., Minneapolis, St. Paul, Twin Cities and Lake Minnetonka, Minnesota licensed remodeling contractor. Twenty years experience in residential remodeling, commercial remodeling and new construction. Licensed, Bonded, Insured Independent contractor.

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