We know, we know: The economy's iffy, jobs are tight, housing values aren't what they once were. But if there were ever a perfect time to invest in your place by adding more insulation or replacing a creaky old water heater, it's now. The economic stimulus package passed by Congress last February included a federal tax credit—not just a deduction, but a full-on credit—of 30 percent of the cost of all sorts of energy-saving systems, with a cap of $1,500 per house, if installed by the end of 2010. These upgrades pack the double benefit of slashing your utility bills while increasing your house's long-term value, too.
You probably don't need all these upgrades, but chances are you'll benefit from one or two. Our guide will help you figure out which ones give you the best bang for your buck.