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Chill Your Tax Bill

Did you last replace your central air-conditioning system when your teenager was a toddler? Did the poor thing�s compressor rattle and wheeze during July�s blistering heat, suggesting it might be on its last legs?

If your answer to either question is yes, then now�as in without delay�might be the time to install a new, energy-efficient system.

With winter on your doorstep, what�s the rush? Just this: you only have until December 31 to qualify for a tax credit of up to $1,500 by buying and installing a new, high-efficiency central air conditioner or furnace in your current home.

Not everyone qualifies for this tax credit. Consult with a financial advisor or tax preparer to see if you qualify.

To get the tax credit for air conditioning, you will probably have to buy a new, compatible furnace as well. That may make the purchase seem more seasonally appropriate. It will also, of course, make it more expensive.




SMART SHOPPER

Learn more online

For more details on tax credits for home air-conditioning and heating systems, watch for Kentucky Living�s 2010 Energy Guide in next month�s issue. Online, go to:

www.energystar.gov/index.cfm?c=tax_credits.tx_index

www.ehow.com/how_4912862_receive-new-central-air-conditioning.html

www.energytaxincentives.org/consumers/heating-cooling.php

www.taxes.about.com/od/deductionscredits/qt/energytaxcredit.htm

www.irs.gov/newsroom/article/0,,id=206875,00.html




DOLLARS & SENSE

Credit may require buying both air conditioner, furnace

Since 2006 (but with a one-year lapse in 2008), homeowners have been able to cut their taxes by buying high-end equipment that makes heating and cooling more energy efficient. Qualifying items include central air conditioning, natural gas or propane furnaces, biomass stoves, water boilers, insulation, certain roofing materials, and air-source heat pumps.

These credits reward users of conventional technologies that meet stringent standards. An ENERGY STAR rating alone isn�t enough. Items purchased must be in service by December 31, and they must upgrade an existing home.

Homeowners who install qualifying equipment in their principal homes can claim a tax credit for 30 percent of their costs, up to $1,500 in most cases. For some items, including air conditioning and furnaces, the tax credit can apply to installation costs as well as materials. For others, such as roofing and insulation, installation costs are not covered.

In most homes with central heat and air conditioning, a single blower motor pushes the heated or cooled air through the ductwork. To qualify for the tax credit, an air conditioner needs help from a high-efficiency blower motor�but this motor is usually part of the furnace. That�s why you�ll probably have to buy both a furnace and air conditioner to get the tax credit.

Moreover, to get a certificate proving your system qualifies, you�ll probably have to buy both from the same manufacturer. That�s because key air-conditioning components�condenser, evaporator coil, blower motor�must be tested together, and manufacturers only test and certify their own equipment.

If you�ve recently replaced your furnace, you may already have the right kind of blower motor. Check to see if the blower is called an �advanced main circulating fan.� If so, your air conditioner may qualify.

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