Thinking About an HVAC Upgrade? Energy Tax Credits Are Available Through 2013
Having to replace your HVAC system can be a major expense, but if you take advantage of the 2013 energy tax credits, you’ll offset the cost in the short term and enjoy long term energy savings. The equipment that qualifies for the tax credits must meet high efficiency standards depending on the type.
The tax credit program lets you deduct 10 percent of the cost of the system, and cooling equipment has a maximum cap of $300, while heating systems have a cap of $150. The minimum efficiency requirements for these systems must be:
- Heating systems. Forced air and radiant heating systems must have an AFUE (annual fuel utilization efficiency) of 95 percent or more. Most of the heating systems that reach this high efficiency rating are condensing furnaces and boilers. They use two heat exchangers to extract all but about 5 percent of the heat the fuel creates. By comparison, the minimum AFUE for heating systems stands at 80 percent AFUE, which means it wastes 20 percent of the fuel it uses.
- Cooling systems. A package air conditioner or heat pump must have a SEER (seasonal energy efficiency ratio) of 14 or higher to qualify for the energy tax credits. In addition, heat pumps have to have an HSPF (heating seasonal performance factor) of 8 or more. A split system air conditioner needs a SEER of 16 or higher, while a heat pump must have a SEER of 15 or better, along with a HSPF of 8.5 or more.The minimum SEER for all central cooling systems currently stands at 13. The systems that meet or exceed the tax credit requirements will cut electrical consumption for years to come.
Besides selecting the equipment that qualifies for the credits, be certain that the contractor performs a load calculation for your home using Manual J so that you achieve the maximum efficiency these high efficiency systems promise. Anything too large or small reduces the equipment’s lifetime, efficiency and your comfort.
To learn more about the energy tax credits, contact HVAC & Plumbing Unlimited. We provide HVAC services for homeowners in Prince William, Fairfax, and Loudoun counties.