If you’ve been considering replacing your aging central cooling system, this year might be a good time to do it. Federal tax credits are available through Dec. 31, 2013 (and retroactive to 2012) that will help offset the cost of a qualifying high-efficiency A/C. The energy savings you’ll achieve with the new system eventually will return your investment, since the credit applies to high-efficiency cooling systems that lower energy bills.
To qualify, your new A/C or heat pump must have a SEER (seasonal energy efficiency ratio) of 14 or more, though you’ll benefit from ever-lower energy bills as you move higher in the numbers. Under the federal tax provision, you can deduct 10 percent of the cost, with a cap of $300. Central heat pumps and air conditioners have a minimum efficiency rating of 13, so in order to qualify, the cooling system has to have upgraded characteristics that make them more efficient.
Features such as a variable-speed motor in the air handler, or a dual-speed compressor, may raise the SEER enough so that it meets the 25C tax credit guidelines. Variable-speed motors, also known as electronically commutated motors, use much less electricity that single-speed motors use, run more quietly, and remove more indoor humidity.
A dual-speed compressor only runs at top speed when your home’s cooling load is high. Most of the time it will run at a lower speed, which reduces energy consumption. This type of compressor may last longer as well, since it isn’t working as hard much of the time.
Another critical part of getting the most from the high SEER air conditioner or heat pump is making sure that it’s the right size for your home and is installed correctly. Your contractor should do a load calculation using Manual J to find the right size for your home based on its cubic footage, energy efficiency, indoor heating load and other factors. The condenser needs to be placed in a shady place, and the existing ductwork needs to be carefully inspected and tightly sealed.
If you’d like more information about taking advantage of the energy-efficiency tax credit this year, please contact us at Detmer and Sons. We’ve provided outstanding HVAC services for the Dayton area since 1978.
Our goal is to help educate our customers in Dayton, Ohio about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). For more information about tax credits and other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Resource guide.
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