If you’ve been limping through summer with an inefficient air conditioner, this year might be a good time to replace it. The federal government has energy tax credits available through the end of 2013 for homeowners who replace their systems with a high efficiency air conditioner or heat pump.

The SEER (seasonal energy efficiency ratio) ratings that the cooling systems must meet vary based on the kind installed.

  • The most common type of central cooling system is called a split system, where the blower and the condenser are separate units. The blower sits indoors and the condenser outside. The minimum SEER for an air conditioner must be 16 and a heat pump has to have a SEER of 15. Heat pumps also have to have a minimum HSPF (heating seasonal performance factor) of 8.5.
  • Package systems are those that have all the components in one unit and sit in the attic, on the roof or in the yard. Their minimum must be 14 SEER for both air conditioners and heat pumps. The HSPF for a heat pump must be 8.

The energy tax credits allow homeowners to deduct 10 percent of the cost of the equipment and the installation and the maximum cap is $300.

While the tax credits make this year an attractive one for replacing an ailing system, homeowners will benefit for many years ahead. The high efficiency systems reduce electric consumption substantially. Each increase in the SEER rating indicates the system uses 10 percent less electricity. The current minimum stands at 13, so putting in a system with a SEER of 15 could drop energy consumption by 20 percent.

It’s likely that your current cooling system’s energy efficiency is much lower than 13 SEER, and by upgrading, your electric consumption is likely to drop measurably. You’ll also have a warranty to protect you against any unlikely system problems and you’ll have a system you can rely on.

To learn more about the energy tax credits, contact Apollo Home Heating, Cooling and Plumbing. We’ve provided trusted HVAC services for the greater Cincinnati area since 1910.

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