Before the Department of Energy (DOE) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) began mandating minimum efficiency standards, it wasn’t uncommon for homeowners in Alexandria, VA to own furnaces that were only 60 percent efficient. As of January 1992, the minimum efficiency requirement increased to 78 percent. This percentage is referred to as an Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency or AFUE. It will increase again to 80 to 83 percent in 2015, depending on whether the furnace uses oil or gas. If you have an older furnace and you are concerned about furnace efficiency, consider taking advantage of the 25C federal tax credit for a heater upgrade.
Heating Products Eligible for the 25C Federal Tax Credit
If you purchased a qualifying piece of heating equipment between January 1, 2012 and the present date, you are eligible for a tax credit ranging from $150 to $300. This savings opportunity expires on December 31, 2013. Qualifying heating equipment includes:
- Furnaces and boilers that have a minimum AFUE of 95 percent and operate on propane, oil or natural gas.
- Split system and packaged electric heat pumps with a Heat Seasonal Performance Factor (HSPF) of at least 8.5 or 8.0.
When your purchase qualifying equipment and have it installed by Commonwealth Heating & Cooling, Inc., we will provide you with the documentation you need to claim the credit on your 2013 federal tax return.
How to Know When it’s Time to Replace Your Heating System
Sometimes you get so used to living with an inefficient furnace, boiler or heat pump that you don’t realize how poorly the unit is performing. If several of the problems listed below happen with regularity, a heater upgrade is probably in your best interest. These include:
- Increased utility bills
- Heating unit shuts on and off too frequently
- Heating system delivers cold air instead of warm air
- People in your home frequently complain of flu-like or respiratory symptoms
- Your heater makes noises that are loud and unexpected
- You notice dust coming from your air vents even though you keep the air filter clean
If you are ready to upgrade your heating system but can’t decide between a boiler or a furnace, an installation technician from our company is available to assist you.
How to Make Your Home More Energy Efficient
Whether or not you decide to upgrade at this time, we understand that energy efficiency is still important to you. We recommend that you schedule a heating system tune-up every fall and also consider a home energy audit. If you do choose to install a new heating system, regular preventive maintenance is the best way to ensure a lifespan that is longer than average. At Commonwealth Cooling & Heating, we can help you choose a new system or set up a preventive maintenance plan anytime.