Many homeowners instinctively pour money into passion projects — a home theater, a workout room or a hot tub, for example. These are certainly fun perks that add value to your home, but if you’re like most, these end up being “shiny objects” that get little use after the first year or so.
Want to invest in something that affects your day-to-day comfort? How about a new HVAC system.
While a new AC or furnace may seem like an expensive undertaking, the truth is that there’s never been a better time to upgrade your system. The federal government is handing out tax credits with the Home Star bill (still awaiting Senate approval), local utilities are offering rebates for energy efficient upgrades, and product manufacturers and HVAC contractors are throwing in even more savings.
I wish I could tell you that there was a website where you could find all of these discounts neatly packaged together. The truth is, however, that your best resource in taking advantage of all that’s out there is your local HVAC professional. Call a couple of licensed heating and cooling contractors and ask which products they offer and how you can pile on the upgrades. Not only will you get a substantial discount on the overall cost of a new system, but you’ll decrease your monthly energy bill and increase your home’s value in one fell swoop.
What are some sure signs that your HVAC equipment is due for an upgrade? According to EnergyStar, the government-supported energy efficiency program, you’re due for a replacement if your heat pump or air conditioner is more than 12 years old or if your furnace or boiler is more than 15 years old.
For a step-by-step photo gallery of a furnace replacement, click on this photo of the “Green Monster”:
CC 2.0 //photo credit: photofarmer
Or for more ways to improve energy efficiency in your home — through methods such as insulation temperature control — see our guide on “How to Conserve Energy.”