October 25, 2014

Upgrade Your Heating and Air

Heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) systems are often out-of-sight and out-of-mind when you’re looking to buy a new home, moving into one or just making sure your current home is in good repair. However, updating your HVAC system now can increase the comfort and energy efficiency of your home, and might even qualify you for a tax credit.

With the passage of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, homeowners may be eligible for a tax credit if they purchase certain types of HVAC systems, water heating equipment, or make other energy-related improvements to their homes now through Dec. 31, 2010. More information about the tax credit is available at www.AmericanStandardAir.com and www.irs.gov.

How do you know what HVAC improvements are right for your home? American Standard Heating & Air Conditioning offers a quick overview of basic components to consider when purchasing a new system or planning an upgrade:

Outdoor units: air conditioner or heat pump
An air conditioner offers cool, quiet comfort during the hottest days by extracting heat and moisture from indoors. A heat pump does double duty, acting as both an air conditioner and a furnace. But unlike a furnace, it doesn’t burn fuel to create heat — it uses electricity to keep your home warm in winter, cool in the summer and comfortable all year long. A Heritage Hybrid Comfort System combines two different energy sources and automatically operates in the most efficient and economical mode. American Standard Heating & Air Conditioning’s line of Allegiance air conditioners and Heritage heat pumps range in efficiency from 13 to 20 Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio, or SEER, the measure of cooling efficiency.

Indoor units: furnace or air handler
A furnace works with an air conditioner to heat and evenly circulate air throughout your home. An air handler performs the same duties as a furnace in homes that use electricity instead of gas. It works with an air conditioner to circulate cool air in the summer. Or, when paired with a heat pump, it circulates cool air in the summer and warm air in the winter.

Air cleaner or filtration system

For even greater comfort, an air filtration system can be added to your furnace or air handler to filter out unwanted airborne particles. A whole-home air filtration system can remove the allergens from the air your family breathes, including dust, dander, pollen and bacteria.

Humidifier
A humidifier adds moisture to the air in winter and in hot, dry climates. It can be attached to your furnace and programmed to automatically turn off once humidity reaches a certain level.

Thermostat
A programmable thermostat automatically adjusts temperatures throughout the day, ensuring greater energy efficiency and enhanced indoor comfort.

Heating and Cooling Purchases Down

U.S. factory shipments of residential cooling and heating equipment declined in February, compared with the same month a year ago, while the commercial market for these products maintained steady growth, according to the Air-Conditioning, Heating, and Refrigeration Institute (AHRI).
Central Air Conditioners and Air-Source Heat Pumps

Combined U.S. factory shipments of central air conditioners and air-source heat pumps for February totaled 335,897, a 13 percent drop compared with February 2007 total shipments. Heat pump shipments for February totaled 123,122, a 10 percent drop from the same month a year ago.

Warm Air Furnaces

U.S. factory shipments of gas warm air furnaces dropped 22 percent to 153,812, compared with February 2007 totals. Oil warm air furnaces for the same month fell 39 percent to 3,680, compared with February 2007 shipments of this equipment.
Room Heaters

A total of 3,562 vent-free room heaters were shipped in February 2008, a 22 percent drop compared with the same month last year.

Water Heaters

Residential electric water heater shipments for February totaled 361,529, slightly outpacing residential gas water heater shipments, which totaled 350,174, but shipments for both types of water heaters fell about 3 percent compared with shipments for the same month last year.

February gas logs and insert product shipments totaled 10,070, a 24 percent drop compared with the same month last year, while gas stove shipments for the same month jumped 34 percent compared to February 2007. Gas fireplace shipments for February 2008 totaled 2,616, a 19 percent drop compared to the same month last year.