Fall is a great time to make energy improvements—not just because of the change in seasons, but because October is Energy Awareness Month.  There's one thing you should consider doing, and come April it might give you cause to celebrate: make an energy-efficient improvement that will earn you a tax credit, starting with insulation!

With all of the attention on the state appliance rebates (many states are still offering them—check if yours is!), you may have forgotten about the tax credits for energy efficiency and renewable energy. These are some of the best benefits out there, and not to be overlooked!

If you're planning on making any improvements, be sure to check whether they qualify for a credit. Improvements that qualify include biomass stoves; certain heating and cooling systems; insulation material; roofing; water heaters; and windows, doors, and skylights. All of these have specific requirements to qualify for the credit, so check carefully before you buy. 

And here's why you should check NOW: the tax credits for energy efficiency improvements expire at the end of this year. So any improvements you make must be "placed in service" by December 31, 2010.

If you're thinking about a geothermal heat pump, solar energy system, wind energy system, or fuel cell, you have more time: those credits are available through 2016.

The DOE's tax credits page provides details on all of the credits available.