The geothermal tax credit is back!

The geothermal tax credit is back!

What is geothermal?

Geothermal is the term to describe products or energy that uses the natural internal heat of the Earth. The geo is Earth and thermal is heat. This term also references all methods used for recovering this heat from rocks, steam or hot water underground.

It works like this: under the Earth’s crust, a layer of molten rock exists called magma. Here, heat constantly generates. The amount of heat produced contains approximately 50,000 times more energy than oil and natural gas resources.

The process for using the Earth’s heat for energy dates back to the 1940s. Even with all the known benefits, only about 3 percent of renewable energy consumption.

The Earth has been producing its own heat for approximately five billion years. There is no reason to believe that this will change over the next five billion years, making geothermal a virtually infinite energy source.

This type of energy takes advantage of the Earth’s ground temperatures, which are basically constant at depths of 10-300 feet. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, these systems are the most energy efficient, clean and cost-effective available.

While power plants and direct use geothermal heat may use geothermal springs, the most conventional practice is using geothermal heat pumps. Also referred to as ground source heat pumps, these systems make good use of the relatively stable temperature of the Earth just below the surface.

Some simply use a tube that runs from the air outside and then underground, leading directly to the building’s ventilation system. Other approaches include using compressors and pumps for the process.

Most systems work by circulating water in a closed loop technique called a “loop field,” which is installed in the ground next to or underneath a structure. You can then use this energy can in both cooling and heating needs. Best of all, the system is reversible. The heat is taken from your home or building and sent into the ground to keep things cool in the summer. It’s taken from the ground and distributed throughout your space to ensure you are warm during the winter. There are several different types of loop systems, such as horizontal or vertical, so consult a heating professional to discuss which kind will be right for you.

In some cases, you only have to dig a few feet underground to obtain the benefits of geothermal energy. Additionally, because it only moves heat instead of generating it, geothermal is an ideal choice that is much more efficient than its energy counterparts.

How can geothermal benefit you?

Geothermal energy is clean and sustainable – unlike other heating and electricity options, geothermal produces almost no carbon dioxide and near-zero air pollution since there is no combustion involved. This gives you improved indoor air quality.

Geothermal is consistent – no matter what time of day or what the weather is like, you can count on geothermal energy. You can only gather solar power during sunny days and wind power is variable. Most people also consider geothermal more predictable and stable, in contrast to sources such as coal and other fossil fuels. Almost any area in the country can support geothermal heating systems. For instance, it may be ideal for rural and other areas that don’t have access to natural gas lines.

Geothermal is a wise investment – geothermal systems have an average lifespan of 20 years.  You can typically expect the ground loop portion, usually made of high density polyethylene, to typically last for approximately 50 years. Compare that to the 7-10 year life expectancy of the typical furnace. Additionally, based on a Department of Energy survey, heat pumps can save the average homeowner hundreds of dollars yearly. In fact, your system will most certainly pay for itself within 12 years. When you add tax credits and other incentives to the mix, it can pay for itself in about five years.

Geothermal energy is easy to use – since there is no outside unit, like those used in central air systems, geothermal systems are very quiet when in operation. In addition, the unit is located indoors.  This reduces the wear and tear nature can inflict and extend the lifecycle of your system. Also, installing these underground loops is not problematic in most areas and can even be set up during new construction. This means that your savings will be waiting for you when you arrive.

What you need to know about the geothermal tax credit.

  • You can get a 30 percent rebate on any geothermal system bought in 2017-2019. This means that the heat pump tax credits are retroactive to January 1, 2017.  So even if you bought your system last year, you won’t miss out on the savings. Check with a tax expert to find out how to claim these deductions.
  • The geothermal tax credit also includes a 26 percent rebate on systems purchased in 2020 and 22 percent in 2021.
  • To be eligible, the installation of the geothermal system must occur in the home you will use as your residence. Rental property may not qualify for the deductions but second homes might. It’s best if you plan on staying in your home for at least seven years to get the maximum benefit from your system.
  • You should consult a qualified heating and cooling company to learn more. It’s vital to choose a company with experience and expertise in geothermal systems. They will make sure you have the necessary paperwork and information on the efficiency rating for your unit.  You need this to satisfy IRS requirements. Whether you are about to build your dream home or just looking for a more efficient and environmentally sustainable way to heat and cool your current home, you should consider a geothermal system.

No matter what type of heating system you have, it works best when well maintained and it suits your lifestyle. Trust the experts at Elder Heating and Air to help you maintain a reliable heating system as well as repair or install the top brands and maximize the efficiency of your home.

Top 10 HVAC problems and answers

Top 10 HVAC problems and answers

Your HVAC system is probably the most used but least understood system in your entire home or business. If you are like most people, the only thing you know about it is how to adjust the thermostat to make yourself comfortable. However, since HVAC systems are such a vital part of our everyday lives, it’s imperative to learn more about them.

For starters, a majority of HVAC issues can be traced to a few common categories. Here are the most popular HVAC problems and what you can do to solve them.

  1. A high energy bill.

No one wants to pay more for energy than they have to. Paying close attention to your energy bill and the times when you are spending more is a good place to start in reducing your bill.

Once you have eliminated the usual suspects, like inefficient appliances and not enough insulation in your home, it may be time to look at your heating system. Dirty filters in your furnace or air conditioner, a refrigerant leak or faulty heat pump can all serve to make your system work harder than normal. This also leads to higher than normal energy bills.

To fix this issue, check your filters and change them at least once every few months. They may need to be changed more often during the coldest or warmest months. You should also have your system checked periodically by a professional. Doing so will help you avoid expensive problems and high energy costs.

  1. The outdoor unit is making weird noises.

There are several different parts to your outdoor unit, all working together to keep your home comfortable. Sometimes they do make odd noises, often due to reversing valves that switch the flow of refrigerant. It is commonly described as a tinny, buzzing or whooshing sound. This is normal.

What’s not standard is when you hear really loud banging noises or metal against metal. This usually means that the blades are hitting something. If ignored, it could lead to a hole in your unit, where refrigerant can leak out. You should turn it off immediately and have it inspected by a qualified HVAC expert.

  1. Your thermostat is not accurate.

Nothing is worse than setting your thermostat at a certain temperature, and then still feeling too cold or too warm. The culprit is usually a thermostat that is not properly calibrated. Sometimes, even after addressing the issue, it quickly loses calibration again. It could also be that the thermostat is not level or that direct sunlight is affecting the readings.

The answer is a digital thermostat. They are exceptionally accurate and never lose calibration. Additionally, the newest varieties have numerous programmable features to help you schedule your energy use and save money.

  1. Some rooms are ice cold while others are sweltering hot.

It’s frustrating when the comfort level in your home is lopsided. You may simply need to adjust the airflow and make sure air vents are open. The solution could also lie with a thorough air duct cleaning.

Unfortunately, sometimes this still won’t solve the problem. Rooms that are over a garage or poorly insulated may never be able to keep up with the others, especially in two-story homes.

  1. The circuit breaker trips frequently.

Having to continuously reset the circuit breaker can be an annoyance. However, you can’t just keep flipping the switch and then ignoring the problem. This could be a serious hazard that can cause a fire or worse.

It’s crucial to understand that a circuit trips for a reason. Typically, it is protecting the equipment, the electrical system and your entire house.

If it happens after a storm, that’s one thing. Nevertheless, it could also be the result of an electrical short in your system or loose electrical wires. Remember that this involves high voltage and amperage and should only be handled by a professional.

  1. The pilot light keeps going out.

This happens occasionally but should not occur more than once in a season. If it does, that’s a sign of a bigger problem. As a homeowner, it’s vital that you know how to relight it. Instructions can normally be found on the equipment itself.

The issue could be merely that you are out of fuel or the gas is turned off. For something more significant, such as a cracked heat exchanger, low gas pressure or a faulty gas valve, call an HVAC expert.

  1. Your home is too dry.

If you are getting static shocks or your humidifier is not working, this could leave your household suffering from health and breathing issues, especially in winter. Maintaining the proper level of moisture in the air is vital for eliminating mold and other allergens.

This problem can frequently be treated easily by cleaning the humidifier or making sure the bypass damper is open. You should only need to contact a professional for this problem if the issue is something like a malfunctioning motor or faulty wiring.

  1. How much clearance do outdoor units need?

If your unit is too close to your home or trees, this could affect its performance. Walls and fences should be at least 10 inches away. If you have other HVAC units, like on the roof of your commercial building, they should be at least two feet apart. In addition, don’t forget about overhead obstructions. These should be no closer than five feet. It’s also essential to allow for duct service and repair access, which needs approximately three feet of space.

  1. Do you have the best HVAC system for your home and lifestyle?

The HVAC system you choose will be a part of your home and life for many years to come. Choose wisely.

You must do your research, know your budget and the size of the system you will need. It’s also very important to select a good quality system. This might require a more expensive upfront cost, but you will end up saving money in the long run from fewer repairs and a longer lifespan for your investment.

  1. How to find an HVAC company that is right for you?

Don’t wait until there is an emergency to find qualified HVAC experts. All are not created equal and you won’t want to be stuck with an inferior contractor just because you were in a hurry.

  • The lowest bidder is not always the best option
  • Ask for written estimates
  • Check that they are licensed in your state
  • Technology is ever-changing so make sure that your HVAC professional gives you a range of options in order to find the solution that is best for you
  • Give Elder Heating and Air a try. We are trained and educated on everything related to installation, maintenance and replacement of heating systems. We work with all the top brands to make your home and family as comfortable as possible.
5 Ways to Lower Your Energy Bill for your Heating System

5 Ways to Lower Your Energy Bill for your Heating System

Like it or not, winter comes around every single year. It brings along holiday get-togethers, cozy sweaters and gorgeous sunrises at a time when you are actually awake to see them. Unfortunately, we also get slick driving conditions, snowstorms and higher heating bills.

The money we spend on energy in this country has reached astronomical levels. As much as half of the cost for energy may be attributed to heating and cooling our homes. However, no one wants to sacrifice comfort for the sake of saving a few dollars. With smart choices, there are ways to lower your heating bill and keep your home toasty throughout the season.

Steps you can take today to lower your heating bill tomorrow

  1. Furnace Installation, Maintenance and Replacement

Most people don’t realize how much money they lose due to an ineffective furnace. You may need to be replace you furnace, if it is more than 10 years old. Routine maintenance should be performed on all equipment after one year to make sure it is still operating efficiently.

Use a professional to install equipment and systems to ensure it is done correctly for maximum benefit. Proper installation alone can account for up to 30 percent in savings. Without it, you subject yourself to higher energy bills and a reduced lifespan for your furnace.

Maintaining your furnace so that it is always in good working order can be as simple as changing the filters every month. A dirty filter can restrict airflow, making your furnace work harder to provide the same amount of heat, which is like throwing energy out the window. It can also cause dust and debris to build up in your HVAC system, leading to expensive repairs later or even a system failure. The best way to tell is to look at it. If the filters appear dirty, change them.

It’s also a good idea to clear any leaves or debris from outside units. Don’t let too much vegetation grow near it as this may restrict its ability to “breathe.”

You should also get a tune up which includes an inspection and identifying any parts that might need repair or replacement. Many warranties actually cover this type of preventative care so check your policy. Research shows that a lack of maintenance is the number one reason for HVAC system failure.  Lack of regular maintenance may even void some warranties.

If your system is not operating at peak performance, you are wasting money. In some cases, a system replacement may be necessary. This is especially true under certain conditions, such as if you’ve added an addition to your home and the system no longer meets your heating needs or you are looking for new features that will improve your comfort.

Before you decide to replace, check first to make sure a repair might not be a sufficient solution. When you do have to replace your heating system, pay attention to the size of the unit, the BTUs you will need for your square footage and how the new unit will work with your lifestyle (how much traffic in and out, climate where you live, whether you prefer to be warm or cool, etc.).   It is important to note that fewer BTUs may be used depending on the efficiency of the unit.

  1. Heating System Maintenance

When your HVAC system isn’t working as it should be, it is readily noticed by everyone in your household. Taking care of your heating system can help extend its efficiency and longevity. The best time to complete maintenance is late summer into the fall, to prevent surprises and unexpected emergency visits by your HVAC professional in the winter.

You should check your thermostat settings to make sure you aren’t using excess energy during times when your home is empty. Additionally, you should have all oil (or gas) connections, heat exchanger, burners and gas pressure gauges inspected. Anything connected improperly may pose a fire, health or safety hazard for your family.

  1. Dual Fuel System

This is a system that combines an electric heat pump with a with a gas furnace. It is devised to alternate between the two for ideal comfort depending on the current conditions in your home.

As long as the outside temperature is above 35 degrees, the heat pump will draw heat from the air outside. This is less expensive than using the furnace. Your furnace will only turn on during the coldest times. Although it’s a more costly upfront investment, a dual fuel system will save you money over the long haul because it’s easier to move heat around than to create it.

  1. Heat Zoning Systems

In every home, there are areas or rooms that stay warmer or colder than others. Your daughter is complaining of being too cold in the basement family room while your son states that the temperature is just fine in the kitchen.

Heat zoning systems address that problem by heating only the areas that need it. The system works by using dampers in the ductwork that close off specific parts of your home to divert the warm air and send it to areas where you need it the most.

  1. Geothermal

People consider geothermal to be an economically-friendly heating and cooling option. The design of these systems use the energy already available in the Earth to pump heat into your home.

How does your heating system work?

You could have one of several different power sources for your furnace. This includes electricity, geothermal and solar. The most popular method is gas. No matter what kind of heating system you have, there are basic components common to all types.

  • Burners to heat up the fuel and send it throughout the system
  • Heat exchangers to absorb the heat
  • An exhaust vent to send any gases outside of your house
  • Some sort of blowing mechanism to distribute the warm air throughout your space
  • Your thermostat communicates with your HVAC system and determines when the system runs and when it shuts off. Models and types of thermostats can range from manual, programmable or even controlled remotely with your smart device.

A heating system works best when well maintained and suited for your daily life. Trust the experts at Elder Heating and Air to help you maintain a reliable heating system as well as repair or install the top brands and maximize the efficiency of your home.5 w

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