Homeowners who need to replace their heat pumps or air conditioning equipment can take advantage of federal tax credits for high-efficiency cooling systems this year. The equipment has to meet minimum energy efficiency standards, known as the SEER (seasonal energy efficiency ratio) and EER (energy efficiency ratio). The credits are retroactive to Jan. 1, 2012 and run through Dec. 31, 2013. The maximum total tax credits homeowners can receive under the 25C program is $500, and central cooling systems generally will qualify for $300.
The cooling equipment must meet these efficiency standards to qualify:
- Package heat pumps or air conditioners. A package system is one that has the air handler and the condenser in one unit that either sits on the roof or on the ground. It eliminates the need to have an indoor air handler, which frees up interior space. The minimum SEER needs to be 14 SEER, with a minimum EER (energy efficiency ratio) of 12. The current minimum efficiency for the SEER is 13 and the EER is 9.5. In addition, heat pumps must have a minimum HSPF (heating season performance factor) of 8.0 to qualify for the tax credits for high-efficiency cooling systems, since these appliances both cool and heat. The current minimum HSPF is 7.7.
- Split air conditioners or heat pumps. These systems have a separate outdoor condenser/compressor and an indoor air handler. The qualifying minimum SEER and EER ratings for air conditioners must be 16 and 13, respectively. The minimums for qualifying heat pumps stand at 15 SEER and 12.5 EER. The HSPF for heat pump needs to be 8.5 to qualify for the tax credit.
Besides taking advantage of the credit, installing high-efficiency equipment lowers energy bills for years to come, which offsets the cost of upgrading. Depending on the features that the qualifying equipment includes, you’ll also benefit from better indoor comfort with lower humidity levels, cleaner indoor air and quiet operation. Features to consider include variable-speed motors and dual-speed or scroll compressors.
If you’d like more information on the tax credits for high-efficiency cooling systems, please contact us at Comfort Systems. We provide reliable HVAC services for the Wichita area.
Our goal is to help educate our customers in Wichita, Kansas 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.