Energy experts claim that homeowners are using less in fuel every year, and yet space heating is still a significant energy waster in many households. Although it varies by region, Illinois residents can count on their heating system to use a minimum of 30% of their overall utility expenses every year.
As a result, many homeowners wonder when it’s time to update their heating system and replace it with a newer, more energy efficient unit. With the increased efficiency and performance, those space heaters just might get unplugged for good.
Signs your Heating System Needs an Update
The median cost for a new furnace is $3,500! Even with the tax credits, it’s an expensive upgrade. So, how does a homeowner know it’s time to update their heating system?
Some signs that your heating system needs to be updated:
It’s more than 15 years old
It needs frequent repairs
You’ve noticed an increase in your heating bills
It’s suddenly more noisy than before
Still, if your home is comfortable in some areas but other rooms seem chilly or your heat bills are rising, it’s time to identify the problem and it might not be your heating system.
Isolate Residential Heat Loss with Infrared
While the heating unit itself is an important factor in your home’s warmth levels, heat losses can account for as much as 50% of the total energy consumption. Heat loss can occur through chimneys, attics, wall vents, poorly sealed windows and doors, and many more sources.
To identify where your home’s heat is escaping an infrared inspection can be applied. The infrared camera is a valuable tool in identifying problems with energy loss because it exposes a range of issues that you can fix yourself or get repaired less expensively than replacing your heating system.
Some of the problems that an infrared inspection can identify include:
Leaking doors, windows, and vents
Poorly sealed duct work
Water infiltration (which can compromise the performance of insulation)
An infrared home inspection can isolate and identify the problems with the thermal envelope of your home so you know for certain whether it’s the heating unit or other issues. In some cases, it’s a combination of both but with an infrared inspection you’ll have a greater degree of certainty.
Tax Credits for Replacing Heating Systems
If you do decide to replace your heating system and want to take advantage of energy tax credits for replacing your residential heating system, here are a few facts to help:
The lifetime credit maxes out at 10% of costs – up to $500 for all energy improvements combined (including a new heating system).
The heating system must be installed by December 31, 2013 and you’ll need to save the manufacturer certifications and receipts for filing.
You’ll need to file an IRS form 5695 with your tax return. Pay attention to the details because it’s not simple.
The Energy Star site has posted updated guidelines to help you choose the heating systems that qualify for the tax credits.
Andrew MacDonald can help homeowners identify the problems that are leading to significant heat loss and significant year-over-year energy costs. Give him a call today at 888.852.8298 to schedule your infrared home inspection today.