FTC Disclosure

Life is complicated enough without getting into hotwater with federal agencies so: TAKE NOTE Many things I review I got at no charge in exchange for an honest review. Consider this as informing you that ALL things I review may have been gotten at no charge. Realistically about 60% but in order to keep things above board just assume that I got the stuff free. Words like, “sponsored,” “promotion,” “paid ad” or even just “ad” are clear ways to disclose that you’re being paid to share information and links so BE AWARE that some of what I write can be described as an AD by the government. BTW I will NEVER say a product is great, super or even acceptable if it isn't whether I got it free or NOT!

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Thursday, September 2, 2010

Get A Good Deal On Your Central Air Conditioner


HVAC folks have a special language just like any other profession. Unless you are in the business you really are not going to be able to get a truly clear understanding of all of their terminology. That is not a bar to getting a decent price. Many AC vendors are proposing units that exceed the government standards for energy savings. By exceeding the standards they assure you that you can get the $1500.00 tax credit offered by Federal Tax Credit for Energy Efficiency. If you have used the tax credit for any other Energy Star improvement, you can NOT use it again. It is a once and done tax credit, no matter what the salesman tells you. Also remember it is up to 30% of the purchase or a maximum of $1500.00 for most Energy Star improvements. Solar panel installs fall under another category so look that up if you are interested.

The tax credit is not a refundable tax credit. That is important. A refundable tax credit means that if you owe no taxes and you generate a refundable tax credit, the government will pay you the credit. As an example: if you owe no taxes and have a refundable tax credit of $300.00 the government will send you a check for $300.00. If you owe $500.00 in taxes they will take it off your taxes. The Federal Tax Credit for Energy Efficiency is NOT refundable which means if you owe $500.00 in taxes and have a $1500.00 tax credit, the government will wipe out your $500.00 tax bill. As best as I can determine, there is no carry over and there is NO additional refund. So when the sales person is trying to upsell you to get the tax credit make sure you can actually get the tax credit.

Another concern is how to determine how much of an upgrade you should purchase. You would think there would be some kind of rule or guide that you could look at to determine what size of AC unit you should add. I’m not talking sizing the unit for your cooling, I’m talking is it worth money in your pocket to go from a 10 SEER unit to a 15 SEER unit. Will you see the difference in price in a savings on our electric bill? I did a lot of browsing before I found a site that gives you an easy to use, clear to understand form to calculate cooling or heating costs.  Good Site
Go to that site, plug in your numbers and see what it costs to run a 13 SEER unit for the season. Then plug in the same numbers and see what a 17 SEER unit will cost to run for the season. (Obviously put in what ever sizes you are getting quoted.) In my case, due to deregulation I expect an increase in my electric rate. When I did the calculations, I doubled the number of cooling hours for a worst case, I tripled my electric rate and ran the numbers. It would take 19 years of electric savings to pay the difference between the 13 SEER and 19 SEER units on the quotes I received. Your circumstances may be different but this may help you to cut through the verbiage and actually see if a more efficient unit will save you enough money or a slightly less efficient unit to justify the cost differential. Also whether you can take full advantage of the Tax Credit will have a bearing on your decision. Good luck!

Other sites that provided good info:
http://hvac-talk.com/vbb/showthread.php?t=170094&page=4
http://www.coloradoenergy.org/procorner/stuff/cooling_load_hrs.htm

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