Installing new energy efficient air conditioning might be more affordable than you think, especially with the U.S. government offering a tax credit as part of the Troubled Asset and Relief Program (TARP).
Many people assume central air involves prohibitive costs, hassle and opt for a less attractive window unit. Others forgo air conditioning altogether, living their summer months with their faces and bodies right up to a fan. But there’s a tax credit for air conditioning available.
Central ac allows you to carry on with your regular day-to-day activities, so you won’t be at the mercy of a fan.
If your home has forced-air heating, central air is easiest and cheapest to install. According to John D. Wagner of This Old House , for a 2,000-square-foot home, it would cost $3,500 to $4,000 and take two to three days to install. If your house needs ducts, you should expect the costs and work time to double.
It can save you $450 in taxes to have an Energy Star unit installed, reducing the cost of the project. To receive the credit:
- Purchase the air conditioning unit by December 31, 2010–it is unknown whether the federal government will extend the tax credit beyond this date
- Save all receipts and the manufacturer’s certification statement
- Fill out Form 5695 (the “residential energy tax credit” form), line 52
Central Air Conditioning Benefits and Considerations
If you want to cool your entire home, and not just one or two rooms, installing central air conditioning is the way to go. A central ac unit offers benefits beyond a cool environment:
- Acting as a dehumidifier
- Increasing the value of your home
- Combating indoor allergens, if an electrostatic filtering accessory is added
Deciding to have central air conditioning installed is just the first step. To ensure a smooth and successful ac experience, keep these things in mind:
- Find a contractor who can perform an Air Conditioning Contractors of America Manual J load calculation, to determine what size unit you need
- All ac unit condensers create some noise: find an outside location not near a bedroom or office.
- Don’t block airflow: if you want to hide the outdoor condenser, do so with landscaping and not a deck or other less-breathable enclosure. Air must freely circulate around it.
- Plan to check the furnace filter monthly and have the system serviced once every two years.