Don’t Miss Out on Home Energy Tax Credits: They’re Good Through Year’s End

Don’t Miss Out on Home Energy Tax Credits: They’re Good Through Year’s End

September 23, 2013

Have an aging air conditioner or furnace? You can take advantage of the home energy tax credits to offset its cost until the end of 2013, when they expire. When congress avoided the fiscal cliff in January, it renewed the federal tax credits under the 25C program.

Homeowners who choose qualifying, high-efficiency cooling or heating systems can apply 10 percent of the cost of a new system to receive a tax credit. Cooling systems have a cap of $300, and the cap is limited to $150 for heating equipment. The minimum efficiency level to qualify for the credits depends on the type of equipment installed.

Package air conditioners or heat pumps must have a SEER (seasonal energy efficiency ratio) of 14 or higher and the HSPF (heating season performance factor) of the heat pump must be 8.5 or better. A package system is one where all the components of the system sit in one appliance, on the roof, in the attic, or in the yard.

Split cooling systems are more common and the air handler sits indoors, while the outdoor condenser sits outside. The minimum SEER for central air conditioners must be 16 or more, while a heat pump’s minimum SEER to qualify for the tax credit needs to be 15 or higher. In addition, the HSPF for the heat pump should be 8.0 or more.

Heating equipment includes forced air furnaces and boilers, and both must have a minimum of 95 AFUE (annual fuel utilization efficiency) to qualify for the home energy tax credits. The AFUE refers to how much fuel the system uses to create heat.

Systems with high AFUE ratings waste less fuel. In the case of a 95 AFUE, the equipment only wastes 5 percent of the fuel it uses. The minimum AFUE currently stands at 78, which means that it wastes 22 of the fuel. Most of the heating equipment that meets such high efficiency are condensing furnaces or boilers.

To learn more about the home energy tax credits, contact JD’s A/C. We provide top-notch, family-run HVAC services for homeowners in the Longview area.

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Heat Pump Size Really Matters When It Comes to Proper Cooling and Comfort

Heat Pump Size Really Matters When It Comes to Proper Cooling and Comfort

September 9, 2013

Heat pumps are one of the best cooling and heating appliances for our region since we have no lack of heat in the air nearly year-round. But in order to get the best performance, the right heat pump size is crucial for its efficiency, longevity and your comfort.

A heat pump works by moving heat from one place to another, similar to how a refrigerator works. In the summer, the refrigerant extracts the heat from the air blowing over the evaporator coil, and in the winter, it extracts it from the heat in the outdoor and and brings it inside. As the fan in the air handler blows over the evaporator coil, it warms the air.

Installing too small or large a heat pump won’t give you the performance the manufacturer promises. If the pump is too small, it will run a long time to deliver the conditioned air you need. If it’s too large, it will run in short cycles, which drives up energy costs and increases the wear on all the parts. When heat pumps or air conditioners first start their cycle, they use the most energy. When the heat pump size is too large, it will start and stop frequently, increasing your energy bills.

Besides the increased energy use, this short cycling lowers indoor comfort because the pump doesn’t run long enough to fully circulate the air, so you may have hot spots in your home. Your entire home will be more humid, as well, since it won’t run long enough to extract the water in the air.

Water vapor condenses when air blows over the cold evaporator coil. The pump needs to run at least seven minutes to reach temperatures cold enough to efficiently extract excess water vapor. If insufficient humidity condenses, it won’t be able to drain away and will, instead, evaporate back into your home’s air, promoting mold growth.

To learn more about heat pump size and getting the most from this versatile appliance, contact JD’s A/C. We’ve provided top-notch HVAC services for the Longview area for more than 30 years.

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