Kitchen remodeling can be a costly and daunting task, but the good news is that there are free government programs that can help cut costs.
These federal benefits incentivize homeowners to save energy, protect the environment, and improve accessibility for those with disabilities.
Kitchen appliances consume considerable energy, while cabinets can be hard to reach for people who use wheelchairs.
So, look for cost-saving rebates, tax refunds, and programs providing free energy-efficiency upgrades, along with the wiring needed to run the equipment.
Apply for these programs as early as possible and check eligibility requirements and availability; some are brand new.
Free Kitchen Appliance Programs
The federal government supports programs helping lower kitchen remodeling costs connected with appliance upgrades: refrigerators, stoves, and dishwashers often qualify.
Free appliance replacement programs from the government help save energy and protect the environment through at least three initiatives, as illustrated below.
Refrigerators are typically the most expensive kitchen appliance to upgrade during a makeover. Plus, they consume costly electricity because they run twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week.
The Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP) is the primary federal initiative, offering free refrigerators to low-income families. Apply for WAP through a designated contractor in your local area, who will perform a home energy audit as the first step to determine eligibility.
Stoves, ovens, or ranges are another grouping of expensive kitchen appliances to update during a renovation. However, the government no longer favors cooking with natural gas, opening additional opportunities to cut costs.
The High-Efficiency Electric Home Rebate (HEEHR) offers up to $840 off the cost and installation of electric stoves and cooktops. However, you may have to wait to cash in on this benefit.
The federal government enabled this program by passing the Inflation Reduction Act. However, at the time of publication, the states have yet to establish the point-of-sale capabilities set forth under the new law.
The Energy Efficiency Home Improvement Credit (EEHIC) reduces the installation cost of qualified biomass stoves using wood chips, pellets, or logs as fuel instead of natural gas.
The EEHIC provides an annual credit of $2,000 towards purchasing a biomass stove. Of course, you must have at least this much tax liability to take advantage, as the credit is non-refundable.
Dishwashers are another pricey kitchen appliance to update during a makeover project. Fortunately, two additional government programs might help lower costs modestly.
Free water heater programs can lower the costs of supplying the dishwasher with what it needs to remove grease and food particles from your cups, silverware, and plates. Both WAP and HEEHR might assist with this improvement.
Energy Star Rebates offers money back on the purchase of new high-efficiency dishwashers. You might find additional savings on smaller kitchen items such as microwaves, food processors, etc.
Free Kitchen Cabinet Programs
Homeowners with disabilities might qualify for free programs, reducing the costs of replacing kitchen cabinets during a renovation. The government supports projects improving accessibility for people with mobility challenges.
The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) backs programs to cut kitchen cabinet costs for disabled people. This IRS permits homeowners to deduct reasonable charges to accommodate a home to a disabled condition as a medical expense.
Lowering kitchen cabinets and equipment is a qualifying medical expense in this context, giving homeowners with a disabling medical condition three ways to take advantage.
- Deduct as a qualifying medical expense if meeting two thresholds
- Itemized deductions exceed the standard deduction
- Medical expenses exceed 7.5% of Adjusted Gross Income
- Enjoy first-dollar savings through pre-tax payroll deduction
- Flexible Spending Account
- Health Savings Account
The Veterans Administration offers Special Home Adaptation (SHA) grants to veterans with qualified service-connected disabilities. Recipients could use the free money to purchase and install pull-down kitchen cabinets for easier access.
Apply for the VA SHA grant early to save your place in line. Do not delay. Congress limited the benefit to 120 recipients per fiscal year (October 1 to September 30). Expect to wait, even if you are eligible.
Free Kitchen Electrification Programs
The government also supports programs reducing kitchen remodeling costs associated with electrification (wires, outlets, circuit breaker panels) through HEEHR. Replacing an older gas range with an electric stove might require additional upgrades to deliver the extra juice.
As mentioned above, the High-Efficiency Electric Home Rebate (HEEHR) is coming soon in most states. You might need to wait before starting specific projects.
HEEHR offers up to $2,500 off the purchase and installation costs of rewiring a kitchen (or other rooms in your home) to accommodate the extra load of favored improvements, such as electric stovetops and ovens.
Electric ranges require a 220-volt outlet with circuitry producing at least 40–50 amps of power. You may need to upgrade your wiring if converting from a gas stove, which can function using a standard 110-volt outlet.
HEEHR offers up to $4,000 off the purchase and installation costs of upgrading a circuit breaker panel to accommodate additional electric loads. Of course, kitchen renovations are unlikely to trigger this need alone.
Government grants for HVAC systems could help keep your food preparation, dining, and clean-up area warm in the winter and cool in the summer. Heat pumps are more energy efficient but consume electricity rather than gas, perhaps creating the need to upgrade your circuit breaker panel.